Wednesday Tours, July 27

By historical tram to a Soirée with Martinů, Janáček and Dvořák

The Bohuslav Martinů Institute was established in 1995 and it operates as an international musical documentary, information and educational centre about the life and work of this composer.
The Institute’s library is open to the public and offers all printed and manuscript documents related to the composer’s work, recordings and much more besides.
The Bohuslav Martinů Institute is based in Kobylisy, where we will travel from the congress venue on the historical tram, which offers a pleasant view over the centre of Prague.
After the tour throughout the Institute, there will be a small concert with refreshments in the hall at the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation and a presentation of selected products from the Bärenreiter Praha music publishing house.
Enjoy your visit of Bohuslav Martinů Institute and unforgettable ride on the historical tram.


Antonín Dvořák Museum, Prague New Town

(by tram)

The Antonín Dvořák Museum is located in the former baroque summer residence of Count Michna of Vacínov. The residence was built in the 18th century by the significant architect Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer, while the statues in the garden are from the workshop of Matthias Bernard Braun. The museum’s exhibits provide a view of the life of Antonín Dvořák and include several original items from Dvořák’s flat. The richly decorated hall on the first floor, which is also used as a concert venue, houses an exhibition entitled Antonín Dvořák: Inspired by Nature, which depicts the composer’s relationship with nature and its faithful depiction in his work.

The excursion will be followed by a short concert!!!


The National Museum – the Czech Museum of Music

(Walking tour - distance cca 1 km)

The Czech Museum of Music is the most significant institution in the Czech Republic which collects musical monuments and documents the musical culture of the Czech Republic from the Middle Ages to the present. It collects sheet music, written documents, iconographic material, audio material, printed documents, librettos, books and musical instruments.
The start of the music collection stretches back to 1818, but it was only in 1946 that an independent Music Department was established. In 1976, the museums of Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák were added to it.
At present, the museum has 5 collection departments: the Musical History Department, the Musical Instrument Department, the Bedřich Smetana Museum, the Antonín Dvořák Museum and the Centre for the Documentation of Popular Music.
The program for the excursion to the Czech Museum of Music will include a guided tour through the exhibition of musical instruments and a presentation of the most interesting collections from the Musical History Department.


Jewish Prague

(Walking tour)


Maisel Synagogue (Maiselova 10) - The permanent exhibition “Jews in the Bohemian lands, 10th – 18th century” provides visitors with a cross-section of the history of Jews in Bohemia and Moravia from the first Jewish settlements dating to the 10th century until the onset of emancipation at the end of the 18th century. 
Pinkas Synagogue (entrance from Široká 3)  - The unique Memorial to the victims of the Shoah from Bohemia and Moravia was designed by two painters – Václav Boštík and Jiří John – who also painted by hand the names of the 77,297 victims on the synagogue walls.
Old Jewish Cemetery (entrance only from Široká 3) - Established in the first half of the fifteenth century and used for burials until 1787. Today it contains almost 12,000 tombstones, but the number of persons buried here is much higher. The tombstones of earlier graves were usually placed on top of each new layer, thus producing a picturesque cluster of stones, which date from various times. A number of prominent people are buried here. Among the most famous are Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel (d. 1609) the Jewish community head Mordecai Maisel (d. 1601) and the Renaissance scholar David Gans (d. 1613).
Klausen Synagogue (U Starého hřbitova 3a) - The exhibition “Jewish Customs and Traditions” shows what a synagogue is all about and explains its full significance. It also focuses on everyday Jewish family life and the customs connected with birth, circumcision, bar mitzvah, wedding, divorce and the Jewish household.
Ceremonial Hall (U Starého hřbitova 3a) - Concluding part of the exhibition “Jewish Customs and Traditions” with focus on the topics of illness and medicine in the ghetto, death, Jewish cemeteries in Bohemia and Moravia, and the activities of the Prague Burial Society.
The Old-New Synagogue (Maiselova 18) - Originally called the New or Great Synagogue, it got its name in the 16th century, when other synagogues began to be built in Prague. It is the oldest synagogue that is still used for religious services in Central Europe. It was built around the year 1270.


Prague Organs 1 - “A tour of the organs at the Prague Clementinum”

(Walking tour, 300 m)

The former Prague Jesuit College known as the Clementinum is the seat of the National Library of the Czech Republic, but it has also played a role in the history of Czech music, which is borne out by its organs. There are four very interesting baroque organs in three ecclesiastical areas which bear witness to the musical history of the Jesuit College, both during the Jesuit period and after the abolition of the order.
The oldest instrument in the Church of Saint Clement dates from the beginning of the 1720s, i.e. from the period just before the construction of the church was completed. According to tradition, it is the work of one Antonín Streit.
The instrument which was acquired during the period of the Jesuits is a single-manual organ located in the choir of the Mirrored Chapel. It was probably built by Tomáš Schwarz, a Jesuit lay brother and one of the most significant domestic organ builders of the baroque period.
The altar area of the same chapel also includes a second instrument dating from the 2nd half of the 18th century. It was probably built by an organ builder from Loket in Western Bohemia.
The organ in the Church of Saint Salvatore is the biggest and the youngest. It was built for the purposes of the archbishop’s seminary after the abolition of the Jesuit Order. 

Prague Record Companies

(Walking tour - 2 km)

From music scores to phonograph records

A guided tour through the history of the music business in central Prague

This guided tour will bring participants closer to the familiar and lesser-known localities in Prague’s city centre with relevant stories about the history of the music business. The goal is to share the history of the shops and music publishers and the biographies of selected individuals, as well as to provide a brief introduction to the changes which occurred in the music business and sound recording in the era of phonograph records. Participants will be provided with helpful graphic and interactive materials for a better thematic and geographic orientation.

Musical Prague

(Walking tour - 2 km)

A walk through Prague in the footsteps of musical personalities
Prague, often labelled the “conservatory of Europe”, has hosted many famous personalities of the musical world. Their visits have been and are still engraved both in the hearts of the people of Prague who liked to attend their performances and in the hearts of the city’s visitors. Prague has always given musicians a warm welcome and the places which they have visited are still proudly marked with busts of the composers or at least with plaques bearing witness to the time they spent there.  We will set off in the footsteps of Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Weber and many others through the streets of the Old Town and the Lesser Town and will be transported into the time when they were active in this admired city. Along the way, we are sure to come across places which also host contemporary artists and in doing so will confirm the oft repeated sentence that Prague is a true city of music. The walk will lead from the Clementinum through the Old Town, across the Vltava and then through the picturesque alleys of the Lesser Town where the walk will end.

Astronomical Tower and Klementinum

(Walking tour - 170 steps to the top of the tower)

Astronomical Tower was built in 1722 to a height of 68 meters. At the top stands lead statue of Atlas carrying the celestial sphere by Matthias Bernard Braun. Construction of the tower was related to  the development of astronomical studies in the country. At the time of the construction of Klementinum, such astronomers as Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, or Thadeus Hájek worked in Prague. Astronomy was part of the university curriculum since its inception, but the observatory was founded in Klementinum at the instigation of Joseph Stepling, its first director, in the years 1751-1752. Astronomical instruments were installed in the tower and it became the main spot for astronomical measurements.
The observatory was from the foundation under state control, after the First World War it became part of the newly founded State observatory of Czechoslovakia and the Klementinum tower was until 1928 its only observatory in Bohemia. The observatory in Klementinum worked until World War II.
With Josef Stepling are also associated meteorological measurements. They began to perform them in Klementinum in 1752, but those were not regular. Daily temperature measurements were recorded continuously from 1775, rainfall measurements were conducted since 1804. All mereorological measurements are performed in Klementinum today and have become one of the oldest ones in the world.
Today, visitors of Klementinum can climb the tower to a height of 52 meters, where they have a unique view of the city and its finest monuments.
Before reaching the top of the tower there is one more stop – the original workroom of the observatory. There used to be smaller astronomical, geophysical and meteorological instruments from the 19th century in here, coming mainly from the workshops of Jesuit scholars and mechanics. Most of them are still displayed here today. In addition to astronomical and meteorological observations, experiments in physics were also conducted in this room.

Vysoká near Příbram - The Antonín Dvořák Memorial

(by bus, 70 km from Prague)

Vysoká near Příbram is located in West Bohemia, 70 km from Prague.
The Antonín Dvořák Memorial in Vysoká near Příbram is a museum especially dedicated to the local stays of the composer who was very fond of this area, which was a source of inspiration for him. It is located on the western edge of the municipality of Vysoká u Příbrami, between Příbram and Rožmitál pod Třemšínem.
The small château in the neo-renaissance style was built by Antonín Dvořák’s brother-in-law, Count Václav Robert Kounic. It was completed together with the neighbouring English landscape garden according to a project by the architect Čeněk Gregor in 1878. Kounic allowed Dvořák to visit the château whenever he wanted; in 1884, Dvořák purchased the nearby older granary from Kounic, which he then converted into a family home and turned it into a summer residence, which he frequently visited with his family. Dvořák travelled to Vysoká until his death in 1904. In 1897 and 1898, the poet Josef Václav Sládek lived and worked in the garden house at the edge of the gardens.
The gardens include two lakes, one of which inspired Dvořák to compose the opera Rusalka. The château is currently operated as a museum which also recalls the personality of Count Václav Kounic; it houses a concert hall, a library and a gallery and it is a wedding venue.