Culture Shorts

Pianists compete in Bratislava

UP TO 37 pianists from 17 countries will join this year's International Johann Nepomuk Hummel Piano Competition in Bratislava, taking place between May 29 and June 5.

Named after Bratislava native Hummel (1778-1837), who was one of Europe's greatest composers and pianists in his time, the prestigious festival supports emerging piano talents and offers a chance for international performers to meet.

Its organizers also aspire to promote works by Slovak composers, approaching the prominent ones to compose music for the event's participants. For the audience, the competition is a unique opportunity to see and hear top performances from the latest generation of piano virtuosos.

The JN Hummel Association has organized the festival in cooperation with the Academy of Music and Drama in Bratislava, the Slovak Philharmonic and Slovak Radio since 1991. The president and founder of the competition is the internationally acknowledged Slovak pianist and the present general director of the Slovak Philharmonic, Professor Marián Lapšanský.

The festival's highlight will be the June 4 and 5 concerts, during which competing finalists will be accompanied by the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concert Hall of the Slovak Philharmonic. The results will be announced at the venue on June 5 at 20:00.

Tell your story and win a prize

THE BRITISH Czech and Slovak Association has announced its annual writing competition for authors of any age, nationality or educational background.

The prizes of Ł300 and Ł100 will go to the best pieces of original writing relating to links between Britain and the Slovak and Czech Republics, or describing society in transition in the Republics since the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Entries may be fiction or on factual subjects, in English and from 1,500 to 2,000 words. The closing date is June 30.

For more details visit

Million girl enters gallery

DANA Halušková's project Million Girl, which won the second annual Grants for Young Curators prize, is on show at the Pálffy's Palace on Panská 19, Bratislava, until June 19.

The project, which bears the same name as the recently broadcast TV reality show, comprises sound recordings of female voices from audio-text messages, announcements in hypermarkets and train and bus stations. With no images to help, it piques the visitor's imagination.

"The anonymity of the women turns them into the people of our dreams, worth several million crowns perhaps," say the project's organizers, who opened the exhibition in honour of 27-year-old Halušková, who died recently.

The Bratislava City Gallery initiated the Grants for Young Curators last year in order to support future curators and discover more imaginative uses for art galleries.

Each year, an expert jury selects a project to be exhibited within the gallery's space.

Auction results meet expectations

THE RECENT SOGA auction generated Sk2,632,000 (€67,000) from selling works of Slovak contemporary art. Due to the dropping of the charitable element and the fact that artists entered their best work meant that the sum reached was double that of last year.

The daily Pravda reported that a painting, Rozhovor (Interview), by the renowned Slovak painter Milan Paštéka, was sold for a record price of Sk325,000 (€8,000).

The painting that was expected to fetch the most money, Optical Object by Slovakia's leading constructivist artist Milan Dobeš, set at Sk220,000 (€5,600), was sold for less.

The young generation also did well - Cyril Blažo's sexually explicit depictions of Czech and Slovak bedtime story characters jumped from Sk8,000 (€204) to Sk20,000 (€510). Prices for the colourful "delicacies" of Dan Meluzin fetched double their expected rate and Igor Ondruš' Good Morning added Sk50,000 (€1,270) to the reserve price of Sk18,000 (€460).

Director of the auction house, Ján Abelovský, told Pravda that in contrast to previous years buyers turned their attention from the younger generation to the impressive entries from artists active in 1960s and 1980s. "Their works have become rarities on the market," commented Abelovský.

New Eldorado wins Envirofilm

A FILM by Hungarian director Tibor Kocsis, Uj Eldoradó (New Eldorado), received the main award at the 11th International Environmental Film Festival, Envirofilm 2005, which ran from May 3 to 7 in the central Slovak town of Banská Bystrica and its surroundings.

Kocsis' focus is the village of Rosia Montana in Romania's Apuseni mountain. It is a place of breathtaking beauty with inhabitants deeply attached to the land. The problem is that businesspeople want to exploit the mountains' 300 tonnes of gold and silver.

The international jury praised the film's emotional yet clear analysis of the desperate fight over nature between the spirit of tradition and the arrogance of progress, the TASR news agency reported.

Richard Müller plays with the best

POPULAR Slovak singer Richard Müller used some of the world's leading musicians to record his latest album, 44, the Pravda daily reported.

The singer returned to New York, to the Manhattan studio of Mike Caffrey, the same venue where he made his previous record, Monogamný vzťah (Monogamous Relationship).

This time Müller was joined by drummer Omar Hakim (Sting, Madonna, Miles Davis, David Bowie), bassists Anthony Jackson (Paul Simon, Chaka Khan) and Will Lee (Ray Charles, James Brown, Kool and the Gang) and guitarist Hiram Bullock (Miles Davis, Eric Clapton, Sting).

The album will consist of around 14 songs and is set for release on September 6.

Cableway planned for castle

BRATISLAVANS and tourists can start the count down to the days when a cableway will carry them in comfort up to Bratislava castle. Chairman of the Bratislava Regional Unit, Ľubo Roman, said the lift will be part of the "little tourist circle" leading to the castle, the SITA news agency reported.

"It will be self-service and should take 14 people at once," he said at a recent press conference.

Roman praised the cooperation with the capital's municipal authorities on several projects. "Our aim is to build a modern European city and the time to join forces has come," he said.

Jointly, the regional and municipal partners plan to reconstruct the road between Koliba and Kamzík, and improve traffic conditions on Račianska street. Together they will work on repairing the Old Bridge (Starý Most): the regional unit will take care of improving the traffic lanes and the town's job is to add tram tracks.

"We want to make Petržalka part of the city. It is thus a must that the bridge keeps serving cars as well," Roman said.

Roman also plans to cooperate with the municipal authorities on enhancing public transport and discouraging cars from entering the centre of Bratislava and surroundings.

Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports

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