History of Festival

With its superb attendance (88%) the concerts of Prague Proms first season surprised, yet more it surprised CNSO´s competitors. Prague Proms 2005 brought eight main concerts in Prague´s most prestigious concert halls: Rudolfinum and Municipal House. Each concert was introduced with a specific name: “Mozart´s Night” with the National Theatre soloists, conducted by Libor Pešek, “Japanese Night” with Tomomi Nishimoto conducting, “American Night” – under Paul Freeman´s baton, “Czech Night” and conductor Petr Altrichter etc. Among the soloists were violinists Václav Hudeček and Oldřich Vlček as well as Kemal Gekič, Leon Bates and Hideyo Harada on the piano, or Jan Hasenöhrl on the trumpet. Verdi´s Requiem was performed on the “Last Night” entitled “Italian” and conducted by Marcelo Rota. Real music lovers were enjoying Jazz Nights in Café Imperial until late night. Performers at Prague Proms 2005 included top jazz artists Milan Svoboda, Emil Viklický, Tonya Graves, and Jazz Efterrät. The blend of genres was spontaneously completed by the legendary top star, the hit maker Barry Mason, in Smetana Hall of Municipal House.

Quite in a similar way the festival continued in its second season: Special project “Battleship Potemkin” conducted by Jan Chalupecký, “Night of Silver Sceen” and conductor Marcello Rota, “Carmina Burana” and Germán Gutiérréz conducting, “Broadway Night” with Paul Freeman, Night of Isles” and Petr Altrichter, “Czech Night” conducted by Libor Pešek. “…Last year the first season of Prague Proms made me review the festival as very promising in sense as it enriches the summer cultural offer. After the second season there is nothing to be changed in such statement. Prague´s audience were offered a chance to see nine concerts in Smetana Hall of Municipal House, several jazz concerts (in Mlýnec club, and Akord) and even Baroque Opera on the steamboat. The two individualities Jan Hasenöhrl and Libor Pešek (well cognizant of London´s Proms) with the CNSO agency guarantee that festival´s credit will retain its credit in the future … The soloists of Prague Proms included Jiří Hurník on the violin, Chris Brubeck on the trombone, Jan Hasenöhrl on the trumpet, Simone Paulwell – soprano, Keith Jones - tenor, Soloman Howard and Jiří Hájek – bass, Marian Lapšanský – piano, Tony Lakatos – sax. The two American Choirs won great acclaim among the audience who were applauding in a standing ovations and asked for more and more enchores…” (from the review by Vladimír Říha, Hudební Rozhledy)

For inhabitants and visitors of Prague the CNSO Agency introduced the third season of still more popular Prague Proms Festival. Municipal House and Prague Jazz Clubs saw 15 concerts of classical, film and jazz music. Number of soloists (e.g., Eva Urbanová, Ivan Moravec, Karel Růžička, Aleš Bárta, Otakar Brousek) orchestras and bands (e.g., Highland Park High School Jazz Band, La Parada) performed for huge audiences. Again the main conductor of the festival was Maestro Libor Pešek. The busy program included concerts as e.g., “Animals on the Stage” (with Marcelo Rota conducting), “Night at the Exhibition” (Andrea Morricone), or “American Night” (conductors Laura Karpman and Jan Chalupecký). One of the most attractive concerts entitled “Night in Versailles” was performed at Troja Castle by Capella Istropolitana. Very appreciated by the audience was newly terraced auditorium in the Smetana Hall.”

“It´s been three years already since Prague Proms festival started to contribute to the improvement of the summer cultural menu in Prague, and year by year this festival is more successful. Although it might seem this festival wants to focus on the visitors of the capital Prague, it is not just another series of tourist concerts, and we would hardly find similar festival within the whole year.” (Wanda Dobrovská, Czech News Agency)

The fourth annual Prague Proms did not make anyone doubt that it belongs to a high-class international music festivals - emphasizing the word international.

The CNSO Chiefconductor Libor Pešek was conducting his orchestra in the opening concert accompanying a Spanish dancing couple in their traditional costumes. Marcello Rota, a famous Italian conductor presented the Hollywood melodies from the movies of director-geniuses. Paul Freeman was conducting the concert entitled “Gospel Night” featuring American Gospel Choir. Of course, the “Japanese Night” presented Japanese stars: conductor Yuki Miyagi and pianist Yukari Haga. The violin virtuosos Václav Hudeček, and Antonín Hradil (the concert master of PKO) introduced the successful participants of the violin workshop Petr Matěják and Jan Mráček. “They´re extraordinary talented and are more than a match for most nowadays Czech violin virtuosos. They are just not yet famous...” says Maestro Hudeček for the ČTK. The Slovak jazzmen Peter Lipa, and Ondrej Krajňák, American superb double bass George Mraz, Lasse Lindgren from Sweden, or the Czechs Roman Dragoun, Lukáš Chejn and Jan Hasenöhrl astonished Prague jazz audience.

Visitors of St. Barbara Cathedral in Kutná Hora listened to the organ concert of Aleš Bárta. The Czech Museum of Music hosted Epoque Quartet, and soprano Livia Venosová. The German Chanteuse Ute Lemper and the CNSO sold out one of the most distinguished concerts of Prague Proms 2008 “Nuit de la Chanson” , conducted by Rastislav Štúr. The last concert entitled „Strauss´s Night“ fascinated with the virtuosity of the phenomenal French Horn player Radek Baborák, who is believed to be the best performer on this instrument in the world today. The CNSO was conducted by Petr Altrichter.
“The last concert could hardly have a better atmosphere and artistic level.”

The guest stars of the fifth annual included a Norwegian jazz singer Silje Nergaard, a British tenor Paul Potts, jazz trumpet player Randy Brecker, a bassist Jimmy Haslip, or the "Paganini of the Steelpan" Liam Teague
The festival presented concerts of many top Czech performers:  e.g. pianist Jitka Čechová, organ player Jaroslav Tůma, or Eben Brothers
Other highlights included James Bond Night (conductor Carl Davis), or The Space Night with live performance of the popular Gustav Holst´s The Planets accompanied by the high-definition videos

The record attendance of the 6th Annual Prague Proms
Considering the temperatures outside, the holiday season and the finals of the Football World Cup were all rivals of the concerts held on the festival, the sold out performances were agreeably unbelievable.  Also the concerts of the Chamber Series, and Jazz Series (as e.g. in The Museum of Czech Music, Jazz Dock, or in the town of Kutná Hora) recorded a full house. The program introduced the stars as Eric Marienthal (saxophone), or James Morrison (trumpet) and Lalo Schifrin (composer and conductor). The big concerts as The Hollywood Night and the two performances of The Beatles Night showed a record attendance as well as the concerts presenting the music of Gustav Mahler, or Giuseppe Verdi.



The vast scope of Prague Proms program impressed crowds, and audiences of different tastes had it quite easy to find the right event. Besides classical music concerts - presented by such conductors as e.g. Libor Pešek, or Ignat Solzhenitsyn, and by many chamber ensembles and other great musicians (including Guy Touvron, Alena Baeva, Marcía Porter, Riccardo Botta, or Kateřina Chroboková)  - the opposite side of the music spectrum was presented among others by popjazz Level 42, excellent jazz quintet of Terence Blanchard, the legendary trumpet player Bobby Shew, St. Blaises Bigband, Jazz Efterrätt, or by the unforgettable young jazz musicians' show entitled Prague Proms Open at the Jazz Dock music club, and many other concerts.
The program has quite traditionally included the film scores concerts - Carl Davis brought the Hollywood Night subtitled "Oscar Winners" and the prolific and legendary film composer Ennio Morricone introduced his works on stage of the Smetana Hall in two concerts with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno.
Huge choirs joined together to sing works of Bernstein and Mozart, but also Gospel music.
As an experienced, refined, precise and impressive red thread the Czech National Symphony Orchestra was a cohesive accompanying part in most of the concerts.


The 8th season of Prague Proms brought many premieres. Among them the world premiere of the composition penned for the Proms and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra by an American composer and trumpet player Nicholas Payton. Other premieres included Duke Ellington's famous New Orleans Suite first time performed in the Czech Republic. It was also the first time some of the guest artists appeared in the Czech Republic. Kurt Elling, the most successful jazz vocalist of the last decade, or Gabriela Montero, the brilliant Venezuelan pianist belong among them. And it was also the first time that the Proms were officially opened on the open-air stage at the Wenceslas Square by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra with the Hollywood Night program.


Also it was the season marked by consolidating of ranks. A sensitive event management integrated the quality summer repertoire spanning from classics over the film music and musicals to the Cuban rhythms. The space was given to young progressive jazz bands at the Prague Proms Jazz Dock Open, or to the theatre performance Leoš or Your most Faithful by the Goose on a String Theatre, recently awarded by Alfred Radok's prize.


Undoubtedly the Prague Proms festival belongs on the map of the greatest Prague music events. This might be proved by Prague Lord Mayor's patronage over the festival which made another step to become the most extensive event on summer festival scene in the Czech Republic.