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SUMMER OF CULTURE AND CASTLE FESTIVAL Ó KULTÚRNE LETO A HRADNÉ SLÁVNOSTI

Guitars echo in Primate's Palace

THE GUITAR is a popular instrument with people of all ages. The Johann Kaspar Mertz international guitar festival, which guides this week's Bratislava's Summer of Culture programme, aims to present it in its classical form.

FESTIVAL mastermind Zsapka.
photo: Courtesy of BKIS

THE GUITAR is a popular instrument with people of all ages. The Johann Kaspar Mertz international guitar festival, which guides this week's Bratislava's Summer of Culture programme, aims to present it in its classical form.

Spanish flamenco-musician Oscar Guzman brings the first guitar tunes to the Mirror Hall of the Primate's Palace on Sunday, June 26. From then on, the palace's walls will offer shade from the burning sun and music to soothe visitors' souls each evening until July 1.

The festival is named after one of the finest guitarist-composers of the 19th century, JK Mertz, who was born in Bratislava in 1806 and died in Prague in 1856, shortly after winning the Brussels guitar composition contest. Mertz played and composed his best works for an eight- or ten-string guitar, compositions that can also be played on a six-string. Many significant contemporary musicians included his works into their repertoires.

After Mertz moved to Vienna in 1840, concert guitar in Slovakia waned. Professor Jozef Zsapka revived it by starting the first guitar class in Bratislava's conservatory in 1971, and through this festival, which has seen 270 guitar players from 38 countries over its three decades, perform works by their countries' and world-renowned composers.

Apart from Zsapka, performing with Moyzes Quartet, this year's highlight of the festival is Greek virtuoso Costas Cotsiolis, who has performed with the world's most famous orchestras as a soloist. French talent Thibault Cauvin and inventive American Ed Gerhard will also play at the festival.


Prepared by Zuzana Habšudová

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