The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague has prepared several events to mark the Czech Republic’s Presidency of the Council of the EU

For the second time in history, the Czech Republic assumed the Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 July 2022. AMU sees the Czech Presidency as a major milestone that positions our country as the key player on the European political scene. This role is even more impactful now that the Czech Republic is taking over the helm at a time when (not only) Europe is facing multiple challenges and society-wide issues. AMU has prepared several cultural events to mark the Czech Presidency, underpin its priorities, connect artists and art schools across Europe, and place its own students’ work in a pan-European cultural context.

One of Europe’s most prestigious film festivals, ANIMA Brussels (25 February – 6 March 2022) dedicated one of its programming sections to Czech animated films this year. Titled CZECH-IN, the section featured several films made by FAMU students. The festival also showcased their work in Czech This!, a part of the programme that was focused primarily on the current generation of talented animated film makers.

Our school’s activities to mark the Czech Presidency continued with Rozehrané priority českého předsednictví (Unveiled Priorities of the Czech Presidency) at Prague’s Vítězné Square on 22 June. Along with five other universities residing in the capital city, AMU presented the priorities of the Czech Presidency to primary and secondary school students in the form of popularisation booths, lectures and debates.

The biggest event to date was a concert held in the Martinů Hall of AMU’s Music and Dance Faculty on 3 July, organised by AMU along with CESNET and the Luca School of Arts in Leuven, Belgium. The evening featured compositions by Antonín Dvořák, Leoš Janáček, Bohuslav Martinů and Miloslav Kabeláč performed by musicians from HAMU and the Luca School of Arts. The concert was extraordinary in that CESNET’s unique technology connected Prague and Leuven, enabling the audience in the Martinů Hall to see and hear everything that was happening on stage in Belgium, and vice versa. The concert was also broadcast live on Czech TV’s iVysílání where it can now be viewed as a recording.  

In addition to the above, HAMU students appear and perform during various official events of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports organised by the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research to mark the Czech Presidency.

If you happen to visit Brussels, you can come to the Design Museum Brussels and the Prague House in Brussels and check out Design and Transformation, an exhibition focusing on Czech design prepared by the Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design in Prague along with AMU students who collaborated on one section of the exhibit.

The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, CESNET and Belgium’s Luca School of Arts concert July 3 (samples)

Bohuslav Martinů_Czech Rhapsody

Daniel Matejča (CZ, HAMU) - violin; Timur Sergeyenia (BE, LUCA School of Arts) - piano

Antonín Dvořák_Gipsy melodies (selection)

Natália Zmrhalová (CZ, HAMU) - mezzosoprano; Timur Sergeyenia (BE, LUCA School of Arts) - piano

Antonín Dvořák_Piano trio No. 4 "Dumky"

Martin Kasík (CZ, HAMU) - piano; Geert De Bièvre (BE, LUCA School of Arts) - cello; Lilia Umnova (BE, LUCA School of Arts) - violin

The Fifth Apostle

The past six months were marked by the Czech presidency of the Council of the EU. Aside from politics, this was an opportunity to also introduce Brussels to our culture. Along with Prague’s UMPRUM, we prepared an exhibition project titled Design and Transformation, which showcased the most relevant results of the collaborations between Czech businesses and designers for the past three decades. The exhibition included a series of six animated films made by animation students of FAMU as well as composition students of HAMU. An ensemble involving Richard Grimm, Haštal Hapka, Tobiáš Horváth, Jan Rösner, and Michal Rataj contributed a live musical performance during the official opening of the exhibition. Along with Vojtěch Kába from FAMU’s Department of Production and Votěch Polák, they turned the recording of their show into a videoclip. Richard Grimm comments on the result: “The story in the video goes like this: we have descended from the space onto the Earth in order to retrieve Michal Rataj’s head, which we lost on the way. We find it in the sea in Belgium, and so we decide to stop by the European Parliament as well. We try to explain what we are doing but nobody can understand us because we are communicating in an extra-terrestrial language. In the end, we take off back into the space with Rataj’s head on board.”