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Concluding concert with the excellent Radek Baborák
The finale of the 19th annual event will be in the hands of a world-renowned Czech musician, Radek Baborák. Phenomenal Iva Bittová returns to the festival with her new project What my father sang to me.

Bratislava, 7. 6. 2023

Iva Bittová is an artist whose talent, aura and charisma defy any conventional description. With her musical quality and modest grace, she effortlessly crosses the boundaries of musical genres. A concert of hers, anywhere in the world, becomes a feast for all human senses. That is how it will be at Viva Musica! festival, where she will perform her new musical project What my father sang to me. She will appear together with the cellist, composer, and improviser Anil EraslanThe finale of the 19th annual event will be in the hands of a likewise world-renowned Czech musician and excellent French horn player, Radek Baborák. He will bring the melodies of cult 20th century American composers to Bratislava. 

The captivating magic of American music growing from the jazz tradition, and connecting with classical music, will be brought to us in the final concert of the 19th annual Viva Musica! festival (August 17, 2023 at 20:00 in Slovak Radio), with a relaxed American dramaturgy. Making a welcome appearance in Bratislava in this event is a world-renowned Czech musician, an excellent French horn player, for many years horn soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic, and conductor: Radek Baborák with his Orquestrina ensemble. This is made up of outstanding soloists and players of orchestral and chamber bodies, including the violinists Adam Novák, Milan Al Ashhab and Martina Bačová, violist Karel Untermüller, double bassist David Pavelka, bass clarinetist Petr Valášek, horn player Mikuláš Koska, pianist Václav Krahulík, harpist Roxana Hädler, and percussionists Jiří Stivín Jr. and Ladislav Bilan. In their rendering, with a new instrumentation, we will hear the matchless music of Leonard Bernstein from the musical West Side Story; the virtuoso overture to the operetta Candide; and the jazz-influenced work of George Gershwin in legendary works such as Rhapsody in BlueAn American in Paris and Cuban Overture“With great pleasure I have again accepted an invitation to the Viva Musica! festival in Bratislava. On this occasion I am coming with my Orquestrina ensemble, with whom I will play the most famous works of the cult American composers Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin – in original arrangements which were premiered in the Berlin Philharmonic, and which the public all over the world unquestionably enjoy,” Radek Baborák says.

Each Moment Is a New Vibration

Another concert that may be called impossible to replicate will be held on July 29, 2023 at 19:00 at the Summer Reading Space At the Red Crayfish (U Červeného raka). Its visitors will be captivated by a diva who has given concerts with Kronos Quartet among others, and whose authenticity cannot be fitted into any of the familiar artistic boxes. Her name is Iva Bittová, and for decades she has shown in her work – always entirely untraditionally and inimitably – with what a light touch she can move at the frontiers of many musical genres, including jazz, folk and classical music. And although her mode of creative work and performance is almost impossible to grasp conceptually, whatever she brings to it is always essentially human, comprehensible and truthful.

At Viva Musica! festival Iva Bittová has performed twice: on the first occasion in Vladimír Godár’s cantata Mater with the early music ensemble Solamente naturali (2012, Old Market Hall), and five years later partnering the string formation Mucha Quartet, with whom she performed Slovak Songs (2017, Large Lutheran Church). On this occasion she will appear together with the cellist, composer, and improviser Anil Eraslan to perform her new musical project What my father sang to me. This work bears her unique musical style and at the same time recalls the past, the forgotten worlds of our fathers and grandfathers and the influence of the Central European cultural milieu, with its rich mix of nationalities. Our path to understanding these worlds may be one of the simplest musical means: the folk song and its almost infinite potential for performance. As Iva Bittová herself says of the folk melodies: “Those melodies remind us to keep in touch with our childhood, parents, traditions, passions and emotions; they teach us how to find encouragement and consolation in dark times of our lives and how to transform every tiny tremor of inspiration into art.”

Uncommon Musical Delights

Viva Musica! festival is a festival of uncommon musical delights. This year, in the course of two months it will offer its visitors 15 unique concerts in all, and for almost half of them no ticket will be required. Concerts with free admission will be entitled Musical Gardens and will be held in Bratislava’s city gardens and parks. The first August concert of this cycle will be given by the clarinet quartet Aurum Quartet. Listeners will have an opportunity to make closer acquaintance with the clarinet, as an instrument with its own specific and richly sonorous world. This grouping came into being at the Conservatory in Bratislava, and its members are graduates and teachers at that institution. Making up the quartet are Albín Blaho (1st clarinet), Šimon Štímel (2nd clarinet), Martina Lišková (3rd clarinet) and Jozef Eliáš (bass clarinet). In 2021 Aurum Quartet released its debut CD entitled Ouverture, where it presented various classical compositions in an arrangement (untypical as regards sound, but all the more interesting) for clarinet quartet. Aurum Quartet will appear on August 5, 2023 at 17:00 in the Medical Garden.

A week after the Aurum Quartet’s concert, on August 12, 2023 at 17:00 in Janko Kráľ Park, the final concert in the Musical Gardens series will be held. Performing there will be the Slovak violinist Lucia Harvanová and the Bulgarian musician Kiril Stoyanov, whoseartistic paths crossed at Bratislava, where they became acquainted as colleagues in Slovak Philharmonic. Their shared passion for chamber playing resulted in the formation of an untraditional duo for violin and percussion instruments. In this chamber grouping Kiril Stoyanov mainly plays melodic percussion instruments such as marimba, vibraphone and xylophone. The union of violin and percussion instruments, despite the attractive sound combination, is an extreme rarity in the world, and original music for such groupings is practically non-existent. In concert at the Viva Musica! festival they will present works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Astor Piazzolla, Béla Bartók, and the less-known work of Peter Hristokov and Richard Galliano.

Summa summarum 

This year also, visitors to Viva Musica! festival can enjoy a high-quality and diverse musical programme, whose domain will once more be classical music – the classics differently! The opening concert will not only be a cultural delight but also a festival and a celebration. Outstanding Slovak and Czech artists will appear there: the mezzo soprano Jana Kurucová, the pianist Marian Lapšanský, the violinist Pavel Šporcl and the cellist Jiří Bárta. A spirit of mutual respect and cooperation will be present also at One Music, the joint concert of Solamente naturali and Barokksolistene, and in the joint project of  Spectrum Quartett and Nogaband. In the course of the 19th annual festival, audiences will also be thrilled by the Canadian mezzo soprano Emily D’Angelo, the world-famed violinist Gidon Kremer with his orchestra Kremerata Baltica, and the soprano Simona Šaturová with her NocturnoPeter Lipa will play a spectacular birthday concert at the festival, featuring other guest musicians on stage, including the Viva Musica! Orchestra led by conductor Michaela Rózsa Růžičková.