The calm before the storm. Prague Spring International Music Competition reports record number of entries.


Every year it repeats itself: until the last day before the deadline for applications for the Prague Spring music competition, it is the calm before the storm. “You will see that there will be many, many more,” predicted Jindřich Petráš, member of jury of the competition in the field of horn and vice-dean of JAMU in Brno, the day before the deadline, when only 40 applications were registered. They include recordings of the compulsory compositions, on the basis of which the decision is then made to admit the applicants to the competition. Young musicians from all over the world are therefore using the last possible moments to polish their applications.

And so, a day later, the organisers of the competition were able to report a record number of applications in the field of horn. A total of 139 entries from 30 countries were received. The Czech Republic will be represented at the competition by 13 horn players, the strongest representation will be the traditional competition superpower China with 35 entries. Participants from exotic destinations also decided to take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime: Australia (1), Brazil (1), Colombia (3), then from France (6), Croatia (1), Italy (9), Israel (2), Japan (2), Canada (1), Republic of Korea (8), Latvia (2), Luxembourg (1), Hungary (5), Mexico (1), Germany (14), Netherlands (2), Norway (1), Poland (3), Portugal (6), Austria (3), Slovenia (1), Spain (5), Switzerland (2), Taiwan (4), Ukraine (3), USA (1), UK (2), and Venezuela (1). “I’ve been trying to get the word out about the competition to a wide community of young horn players around the world and I’m happy to see so many entries. It is obvious that the Prague Horn Competition is rightfully one of the best in the world,” adds another Czech representative on the jury, Zuzana Rzounková, solo horn player of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Prague FOK and teacher at the JAMU in Brno.

The violin competition enjoys great prestige and audience response. A total of 92 applications from 18 countries were received by the closing date of 1 December. The Czech Republic is represented by 15 violinists. Most of the entries are from the Republic of Korea (23), followed by China (21), France (3), Ireland (2), Israel (1), Japan (11), Canada (1), Hungary (1), Mongolia (1), Germany (3), Poland (1), Austria (2), Slovakia (1), Spain (1), Switzerland (2), Taiwan (1), and the USA (2). “We got such a pre-Christmas gift, I’m so happy about it,” says member of the jury Hana Kotková, renowned violinist, member of the Trio des Alpes and teacher at the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana in Lugano.

Now the jury’s hard work begins. In the preliminary round of the competition, they will choose from the submitted recordings those who will actually compete on the stage of the Prague Spring competition from 6 to 14 May.

This year the Prague Spring International Music Competition celebrates 75 years since its foundation. One of the festival’s concerts, on 15 May, will celebrate this impressive anniversary, with the now famous laureates Gábor Boldoczki, Jan Hudeček, Kateřina Javůrková, Victor Julien-Laferrière, Pavel Haas Quartet, Johannes Grosso and Anna Paulová accompanied by the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra under Jakub Klecker.