It was in 1992 when two important events took place in Český Krumlov. The city is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and the first year of the Český Krumlov International Music Festival took a place here. But no beginnings are easy. And so witnesses can remember him as a more modest music show that lasted six days. Thanks to living broadcasting of television and radio, the viewers of the then Czechoslovak Television and listeners of Czechoslovak Radio could also enjoy the concerts. It is interesting that the festival has had the same President since then, namely Jaromír Boháč, who founded the festival together with his enthusiastic colleagues.
In 1993, the second year of the festival, important artists and ensembles gathered in Český Krumlov - including Dagmar Pecková, Ivan Kusnjer, Ivan Ženatý, and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. Visitors of the concerts could once again enjoy the music in an environment that tourists would not normally be able to see, namely the Castle Riding Hall, the Renaissance corridor, and the Mirror Hall of the castle or the Minorite monastery. People were excited about discovering new spaces that complement the unforgettable musical experience. In this way, the organizers stimulated the idea of regularly including new concert venues, the diversity of which is still characteristic of the festival.
The opening of the third year of the festival brought an unforgettable experience to the visitors s in the form of the concert on the island on the pond in the Castle Garden. Besides 1500 viewers of Czech Television watched the concert and thanks to Japanese television company NHK, which purchased television rights, the unique concert was broadcast to hundreds of millions of viewers all around the world. The unique form of the concert connected the highest quality of interpretation art (Virtuosi di Praga and Prague Chamber Soloists under the baton of British conductor Andrew Mogrelia), smartly selected program: G. F. Händel: Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks) and the unique setting increased the popularity of the festival immensely. At the closing concert, the Czech Philharmonic with its then chief conductor Gerd Albrecht made an appearance for the first time, which definitely confirmed that the International Music Festival of Český Krumlov became an event that ranks among the most visited Czech festivals.
After a successful third edition of the festival, the duration of the festival was extended to a respectable sixteen days. The opening was undertaken by one of the most prestigious European chamber orchestras - Solistes Européens du Luxembourg. Among the top experiences were the performances of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Prague FOK or the world-famous Talich Quartet. G. F. Telemann's Water Music was also included in the program, which could not take place elsewhere than in nature - again in the middle of a pound in the chateau garden, but this year with a new scenography. Again, it was a unique spectacle, which was broadcast not only by Czech Television but also by Czech Radio.
The half-year anniversary of the festival deserved a breathtaking experience – the concert on the southern terraces of the castle gardens overlooking the Vltava river and Český Krumlov town itself. Visitors could enjoy the magical atmosphere, twinkling lights, the murmur of the river… And all this while listening to the exceptional vocal-instrumental work of composer František Xaver Thuri "Water Music for Český Krumlov", which was created at the request of the festival as a tribute to the city and its beautiful history. The non-traditional opening concert was attended by the then British Ambassador Sir Michael Burton, who said: "I am glad that Český Krumlov also has its Water Music after London". It is interesting that part of the prologue to Thuri's work is still used by the Český Krumlov festival as its jingle.
If you walked through “Svornost” Square in Český Krumlov on the evening of August 9, 1997, you would feel like you appeared in the middle of Italy. The most beautiful opera arias by Puccini, Verdi, Leoncavallo, and other Italian composers were played in the square as part of the "Italian Night". Performed by Eva Urbanová, Monika Brychtová, Antonia Salvadori, and Gianfranco Cécchele and the Prague State Opera Orchestra under the baton of conductor Filippo Zigante, it was an unforgettable and emotional experience. Half a billion people saw the concert thanks to the broadcast of Czech Television and the Italian television station, which sold broadcasting rights all over the world.
The dominant venue of the 7th edition of the International Music Festival has become the newly reconstructed second courtyard of the chateau Český Krumlov. The opening concert was opened by the Prague State Opera Orchestra with conductor Jiří Stárek and the Prague Philharmonic Choir with the famous composition by Carl Orff Carmina Burana. Verdi's Requiem sounded at the final evening. As the concert drew to a close, it began to rain slightly. However, nature wanted to close the festival with grace, so it was fully showered with the last tone of the song.
The eighth edition of the International Music Festival has been extended for a full three weeks. The opening concert took place for the first time in Castle park under a baroque fountain. The scene in the form of a scattered giant score received an incredible response, as did the performances of the Prague Chamber Soloists with conductor Martin Haselböck. The garden party that followed the concert has no parallel in the history of summer concerts. Three other festival concerts took place outside Český Krumlov, in sacral places - in Vyšší Brod, Zlatá Koruna and Kájov.
The Millennium brought twenty-three performances and more than 630 artists, including the New York Metropolitan Opera soloist Olga Makarina, Slovak bassist Peter Mikulas and Chinese violinist Bin Huang. The year 2000 also introduced dramaturgical delicacies in the form of modern premieres and a novelty - an opera performance at the Revolving Auditorium in Castle park (Don Giovanni in collaboration with the South Bohemian Theater).
The summer of 2002 was not very lucky for the festival, but especially for Český Krumlov. After several concerts and heavy rain, the city was hit by a catastrophic flood. We were forced to interrupt the festival and it was uncertain whether it would continue. We haven't played five of the originally planned nineteen concerts. However, the weather improved, the water receded and the last few concerts could take place. The end of the festival belonged to the Chinese violinist Bin Huang and the Czech Philharmonic under the direction of conductor Vladimír Válek. These artists gave up royalties in favor of the city, their financial resources were joined by the companies present and, of course, the festival. He donated the proceeds from the entrance concert to the citizens of Český Krumlov living in the most affected Parkán Street.
The 12th edition of the International Music Festival began with a magnificently unconventional audiovisual composition Dreams and Passions. The experience of the inspiring music of Berlioz's Fantastic Symphony was perfectly complemented by theatrical elements, fireworks, and majestic shooting from works in the castle garden. Another exterior with a unique atmosphere, which the festival offered in 2003, was the second courtyard. The most famous compositions by Dvořák, Puccini, and Verdi, performed by the singers of the New York Metropolitan Opera,were heard. Eva Urbanová, Youngok Shin, and Janice Taylor, accompanied by the National Theater Orchestra in Prague, shone at the gala concert. A concert of another genre was not to be missed this year either. The evening, entitled Sounds of Folklore, performed by the band Hradišťan and Jiří Pavlica, offered an untraditional combination of the castle's southern gardens and folk music.
The year 2004 was marked by several historical premieres. The festival lasted whole six weeks for the first time in its history, and it was full of foreign and domestic stars. The Australian jazz trumpet player and composer James Morrison, the author of the opening track of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, visited Český Krumlov for the first time. The concert at the exceptional Egon Schiele Art Center also took place for the first time. On the occasion of the thirteenth year, a project of baroque nights was also created.
Every year, world-class stars come to the festival in Český Krumlov. It was no different in 2005. The opening concert belonged to the Latvian cellist Misha Maisky and the Korean violinist Min-Jung Suh. Another musical genre was represented by a world jazz legend - trumpet player Maynard Ferguson, then one of the first Czech folk bands Spiritual Quintet, the unique guitarist Štěpán Rak or the legendary group Elán. For the first time, a national evening took place, which has been a tradition ever since. Every year, the festival presents the culture of another country, including its typical gastronomy. In the fourteenth year, the Brewery Garden turned into unfettered Spain.
The festival celebrated its fifteenth birthday with a really various program. One of the main stars was the conductor Maxim Shostakovich, the son of the world-famous composer Dmitry Shostakovich, under whose baton the pianist Jeong-Won Kim and the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra played. An important event in 2006 was the first-ever festival performance in the castle's Baroque theater. During the evening, Pergolesi's opera La Serva padrona was performed in a baroque arrangement by the baroque music and dance ensemble Collegium Marianum.
The festival in 2007 was honored by the stars performing in New York. Metropolitan Opera soloists Tracy Dahl, Daniel Bubeck, and Richard Zeller presented Carl Orf Carmina Buran's cantata on the first evening of the festival. The non-genre concert was also directed by artists from New York - the Grammy-winning jazz vocal quartet New York Voices. After more than five weeks, the festival said goodbye with an opera gala concert, first performed at the Revolving Auditorium in the castle garden. The main roles were again performed by the soloists of the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Milan's La Scala, Jeanine Thames, Annamaria Popescu, and Alan Glassman, who performed world opera arias.
The seventeenth edition of the International Music Festival of the festival began with magnificent scenography. The contraaltist Alison Bolshoi entered the stage from a gradually developing flower and, together with other soloists and the Prague Chamber Philharmonic under the baton of Daniel Raiskin, sang famous arias on the theme of Love and Death. The excellent clarinetist Sharon Kam, accompanied by the North Bohemian Philharmonic Teplice under the baton of Charles Olivier-Munroe, performed in the Castle Riding Hall. Even in 2008, there were concerts of another genre at the festival. For the first time in history, Night on Broadway with American soloists took place, and Oscar winners Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard or jazz trumpet legend Bobby Shew visited Krumlov.
In 2009, the town of Český Krumlov celebrated 750 years since its founding, which is why the successful work Water Music for Český Krumlov by F. X. Thuri was re-launched in the 18th year. In recent years, each of its performances has been a great success for the visitor. He also had a concert by one of the best sopranos in the world and Grammy Award winner Renée Fleming. Even former President of the Czech Republic Václav Havel did not miss her performance in the Brewery Garden. The program of the eighteenth year also included a concert by Karel Gott, who presented himself at the festival for the first time. His partner on stage was Eva Urbanová, who also sang in front of the Revolving Auditorium in Dvořák's Rusalka, this time in an international co-production.
The charismatic Argentine tenor José Cura arrived at the festival for the first time, uniquely interpreting the arias of Italian opera masters Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini. This year, the festival again included in the Revolving Auditorium program, which was performed by Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, directed by Jiří Menzel. In the nineteenth year, the world-famous ensemble Kremerata Baltica performed with violinist Gidon Kremer. And there were also concerts of other genres. The Krumlov stage welcomed jazz trumpet player James Morrison for the second time, and despite the bad weather, a concert from the Night on the Broadway cycle was held by three singers directly from New York's Broadway. Pavel Šporcl's most sought-after project with the gypsy dulcimer band Gipsy Way Ensemble and Mexican Evening was a great success.
The festival celebrated its twenties with a show of world-famous names. In addition to top artists such as cellist Mischa Maisky, trumpet player Arturo Sandoval or tenor Ramón Vargas, José Cura performed for the first time by the legendary tenor Plácido Domingo. The concert took place in the parking lot by the Vltava river and was attended by an incredible 7,000 spectators. In 2011, there was also the largest joint production with the South Bohemian Theater. Leocanvall's opera Comedians premiered in front of the revolving auditorium. The main role was played by José Cura. Traditionally, the national evening, this time Slovak, was very popular with the audience. Miro Žbirkaperformed together with the band Lúčnica.
The face of the 22nd edition of the International Music Festival was the Latvian mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča, who opened the festival with opera arias and songs by Russian or French classics of the previous century. Other stars were the South Korean piano virtuoso Kun Woo Paik, our successful bass-baritone Adam Plachetka, or the Bulgarian violinist Albena Danailova, the first lady as a concertmaster in the history of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic. The congratulatory concert on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Čechomor group or the concert of The Queen Symphony, which was postponed last year, was also among the big events.
The year 2014 was declared the Year of Czech Music. The 23rd edition of the International Music Festival, therefore, focused on Czech music without neglecting the excellent world production. One of the world's best tenors, Jonas Kaufmann, became the main face and star of the festival. During the evening, which took place in a sold-out car park, Puccini, Verdi, or Bizet were heard. As has become a tradition of the festival, one of the evenings belonged to the culture and gastronomy of a country or region. And which other country to present on the occasion of the Year of Czech Music than the Czechia? Traditional music was represented by the ensembles Užani, Mladá dudácká muzika and Cimbálová muzika by Jiří Janoušek, modern music was performed by the B-Side Band with Vojtěch Dyk and the Gustav Brom Big Band with soloists. The magnificent end of the festival belonged to the opera gala concert performed by the stars of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. His leading soloists Makvala Kasrashvili, Anna Aglatova, Svetlana Shilova, and Oleg Kulko presented Russian as well as Italian and French opera repertoire. They were accompanied by the Zlín Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic under the baton of Leoš Svárovský.
The main star of 2015 was the world-famous South Korean coloratura soprano Sumi Jo, who opened the twenty-fourth year of the festival with an operatic recital together with the Italian tenor Danilo Formaggio. Immortal songs from James Bond films and world-famous musical melodies performed by singers and a conductor from New York's Broadway were also held in Český Krumlov. The recital of one of today's important Czech guitarists, Lubomír Brabec, or the traditional national evening, was also a success. This time they traveled to Cuba accompanied by trumpet player Jorge Vistel.
The festival celebrated its quarter of a century, during which it won the leading position among classical music festivals in the country and abroad. During the twenty-fifth year, a number of exceptional artists, again led by the main star, tenor Juan Diego Flórez, who opened the festival with an opera gala concert, once again performed. This was preceded by a festival prologue to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary - a musical-pictorial fantasy called Vivat festival! taking place on the southern castle terraces. From the opposite banks and bridges, visitors could admire video mapping or a water fan, on which the stars who have performed at the festival so far were projected.
The festival of 2017 began with a concert by Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu and Mexican singer Ramón Vargas accompanied by the Prague Philharmonia Orchestra. However, the concert was affected by the storm and therefore could not be completed. The 26th edition was packed with world-famous classical music artists. The audience was enchanted by soprano Marcela Cerno, cellist Misha Maisky, pianist Shiran Wang, violinist Bohuslav Matoušek, violinist and conductor Julian Rachlin, or violinist and violinist Sarah McElravy. The EURORADIO Folk Festival brought a great experience to the visitors. Thanks to the cooperation with Czech Radio, he visited the Český Krumlov festival with thirty bands. The festival ended with a celebration called Night of the Baroque Mastersaccompanied by Barocco sempre giovane with solo trumpet player Marek Zvolánek.
The 27th edition brought several novelties. The first evening was in the spirit of a musical picture fair, when Festive Overture took place in the summer riding hall of the chateau garden - a performance of everything that took place at the festival during its duration. Visitors had the opportunity to listen to world stars such as tenor Piotr Beczała, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, cellist Boris Andrianov, or pianist Javier Perianes. The evening dedicated to Czechoslovak culture commemorated the centenary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. The Las Vegas-style swing evening was also a great success, with singer Jan Smigmator and Felix Slováček's Big Band excelling. As part of this year, cooperation began with the Jaroslav Ježek Art School for the Blind, which the festival has been supporting financially every year since then.
Right at the beginning of the festival, visitors moved to the time of Louis XIV through music, dance, the art of illumination, and other effects. The opening gala evening at the baroque fountain called Venus and the Elements presented the entertainment that Louis XIV himself had. actively participated as a dancer. The audience witnessed the real dance of the Sun King, who changed 246 dance positions in 126 seconds, to the music of Jean-Baptist Lully, in a copy of the costume in which the monarch himself danced. The vocal ensemble Take 6 thrilled the audience with its concert. With the Michael Jackson Symphony project, the festival paid tribute to Michael Jackson.
A coronavirus pandemic - that's probably what everyone thinks of 2020. For the first time in its long history, the festival didn't take place in its traditional summer term but was moved in the fall. Due to the complicated situation, foreign artists could not come to the 29th year of the festival, which is why the motto "Český Krumlov with Czech artists" was created. The original dramaturgy changed into purely Czech. The festival culminated with a concert by pianists Ivo Kahánek and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Semyon Byčkov, the Festival could not have wished for a better ending. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra played it after a long 16 years.
The 30th anniversary season of the festival took place under exceptional circumstances in September, as in the previous year. Despite the still difficult pandemic situation, it lived up to its tradition and expectations and brought several major names in the international music scene to the Czech Republic. After 10 years, the world-class opera singer Maestro Plácido Domingo returned to Český Krumlov. His concert with asoprano Adriana Kučerová and mezzo-soprano Štěpánka Pučálková spectacularly opened the festival. Adam Plachetka completed the pleiad of the brightest opera stars with his concert in the Castle Riding Hall. The end of the festival belonged to the phenomenal Spanish violinist Leticia Moreno and the Violin Concerto in A Minor on the occasion of Antonín Dvořák‘s 180th birthday.
This year, the Festival Zone opened for the first time. It offered 6 weeks of attractive activities for visitors and the general public, such as painting, summer cinema, concerts, and outdoor. More than 16,000 spectators visited the zone during the festival. This anniversary season was crowned with a release of a documentary and a book illustrating the festival‘s 30-year history.Program