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UPDATED: BHS celebrates 50 years

THE BRATISLAVA Music Festival (Bratislavské hudobné slávnosti, BHS), an annual celebration of classical music in Slovakia’s capital, has turned 50. This will be reflected in the programme of the 2014 edition, organisers promised, as well as the Year of Czech Music.

THE BRATISLAVA Music Festival (Bratislavské hudobné slávnosti, BHS), an annual celebration of classical music in Slovakia’s capital, has turned 50. This will be reflected in the programme of the 2014 edition, organisers promised, as well as the Year of Czech Music.

Slovak composers, from Alexander Moyzes and Dezider Kardoš to more contemporary names, like Peter Breiner, Igor Bázlik and Peter Martinček ‘van Grob’, are scheduled for this year’s line-up, as are Slovak works and Slovak performers, as well as foreign guests - coming from countries most represented during the 50 years.

This year’s line-up will also feature a guest who has never performed at the BHS: the Israeli Philharmonic, which will open the 2014 edition on September 21, conducted by legendary Zubin Mehta.
Several big-name conduc-tors are expected to appear this year, like Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Jiří Bě-lohlávek, Leonard Slatkin, Peter Schneider, Iván Fischer, Pinchas Steinberg and chief conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic, Emmanuel Villaume. The orchestras, too, include some big names: London Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Philharmoniker, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra from Moscow, Czech Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon and Orquesta Sinfonica de Barcelona y Nacional de Cataluňa.

For those seeking a more intimate experience, there will be also a host of chamber ensembles, both Slovak and foreign, and renowned solo instrumentalists, including violinists Renaud Capuçon and Andrei Baranov, cellist Raphael Wallfisch, pianists Jean Bernard Pommier and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, guitarist Manuel Canizares and excellent violinist of Slovak origin, Julia Fischer.

Vocalists expected to attract big audiences are: honorary president of the festival, Edita Gruberová; counter-tenor Max Emanuel Cenčic; mezzo-sopranos Dagmar Pecková, Jana Kurucová and talented young baritone Ri-chard Šveda. The Slovak Philharmonic Choir, the Choir of the Bratislava City and folklore ensemble Lúčnica will also be performing.

The concert of Cenčic has been postponed, due to his illness, to December 6.

BHS 2014 will host New Talent, a competition among young musical performers. A total of 26 musicians from 13 countries will compete this time.

There will also be a piano competition, named after Bratislava native, composer and pianist Ján Nepomuk Hummel. Angelika, a lesser known ballet, will premiere on September 27, featuring music composed by Slovak Eugen Suchoň. Another accompanying event will be the international musicology conference, exploring the festival’s 50 years of existence.

Tickets can be purchased in the Reduta building in Bratislava, or through the filharmonia.sk website.

“The past 50 years were, in a way, similar to this edition,” Vladimír Godár of the festival committee said. “The first efforts to render a profile to the festival are connected with Alexander Moyzes and since the beginning of 1970s, the main initiative shifted to Ladislav Mokrý who profiled BHS for the next 20 years. These two personalities are the ones to be thanked for the establishment of the festival and also for the fact that it, unlike many other musical activities and events in Slovakia, survived.”

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