KORNGOLD CENTRE in BRNO - a Major
Artistic Project for the Czech Republic and the World.
The International Korngold Society and Foundation, founded 1983 and
based in the UK, is devoted to the promotion and preservation of the
music and legacy of the Moravian composer ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (born
1897, died 1957).
In 2003, the Society, led by its President BRENDAN G CARROLL and its
co-founder Dr Konrad Hopkins, decided to donate its entire archive of
materials relating to the composer, together with a significant
financial contribution over the coming years, to the city of BRNO,
where the composer was born on May 29 1897, in order to found the
world's FIRST Korngold Study Centre and Museum.
BRNO was chosen, not only because of its close connections with the
origin of Korngold and his family, but also because it has mounted
festivals and events in recent years to honour his memory, including the
placing of a plaque on the house where he was born (which still stands
on Koliste Street), and which took place in May 2002.
The donation of the rare and extremely valuable materials - which
includes letters, scores, articles, reviews, magazines, recordings,
films, posters, programmes, books, photographs and literally thousands
of other ephemeral items - is to be the focal point of a permanent
exhibition in the city which will be of particular benefit to young
Czech music students, who will be able to use it. The Centre will be
housed in the newly restored HOUSE of the LORDS of KUNSTAT in
Dominikanska Nam, Number 9, and is open Mondays-to Fridays
9-00am-5-00pm. Facilities include state-of-the-art equipment for
listening to recordings and viewing films together with computer
terminals for research and there is even a Steinway grand piano for
score perusal by musicians and students 'on site'.
An initial significant donation of materials
has been made with more to come in the next few years. A dedicated
website will open in 2005.
The Korngold Foundation also wishes to develop close ties with the
academic community in BRNO in order to foster interest in KORNGOLD and
his music, to enrich existing degree courses and to award a special
KORNGOLD SCHOLARSHIP every 3 years for Research and a KORNGOLD PRIZE for
Composition and/or Performance Studies to young students. Money will be
provided for these projects.
Brendan Carroll, the world's leading authority on Korngold and author of
the definitive biography of the composer, has offered to teach a special
course in Brno to facilitate these awards and foster Korngold Study
among young Czech musicians and music students.
The Ministry of Culture in Prague through Mr Zdenek Novak, has
recognised this unique initiative that will be of tremendous benefit to
Czech young musicians and to the City of Brno in particular. It has
already awarded a grant of 2.5 million CZK [approx. £55,000
or $100,000] to the project, which is being managed under the
auspices of the Moravian Museum.
In addition, it is recognised that the
opening of such a unique and special cultural attraction in BRNO will
undoubtedly attract greater visitor numbers to the city from music
lovers and especially devoted admirers of the composer Korngold from all
over the world.
Future projects will include the translation into Czech of Mr Carroll's
book on Korngold (entitled THE LAST PRODIGY), the development of a
special web portal for the Korngold centre, the erection of a full size
statue of Korngold in the city centre and regular musical events,
particularly in 2007 when the 50th anniversary of Korngold's death will
be marked. In that year, the Czech Postal Authority will issue a
commemorative stamp. Korngold has already had special
commemorative postage stamps in Austria (1997) and the USA (2002). This
will be his third such honour, which may be unique.
The opening ceremony at 4.30pm on December 6, attended by VIP guests not
only from the Czech Republic but also from Germany, America, England and
Austria, as well as the Mayor of Brno, included a special concert
featuring prominent Czech artists including Frantisek Novotny, Regina
Renzova, Igor Adresev and Vladimir Holly in excerpts from Korngold's
lieder, opera and chamber works.
Brendan Carroll commented:-
I am so thrilled that Korngold
has finally 'come home' to the city of Brno, a city he always loved and
to which he was extremely grateful. It was the place where his roots
were and from where so many important figures in his life came - Maria
Jeritza, Leo Slezak and Hans Mueller to name but a few. As the Vienna
State Opera presents his greatest success - DIE TOTE STADT - once more,
in totally sold out performances - how appropriate that close by,
here in Brno, the first Korngold Centre has opened. I urge all those who
love the man and his music to come here and see not only where it all
began, but to use this centre and share his legacy.
The Korngold Foundation has already begun to collaborate on cultural
projects in the Czech Republic by funding a major new CZECH CD recording
of Korngold's Violin Sonata featuring Frantisek Novotny and Sergei
Milstein, released this year on the CLARTON label in Prague. This
was the Korngold Foundation's first project in the Czech Republic, which
it was delighted to sponsor.
The Korngold Centre Brno welcomes
visitors from all over the world and it is hoped that this unique
resource will become a focal point for admirers and students of this
great composer. The Centre is a charitable trust and welcomes
support for its activities. To this end, a dedicated bank
accunt for donations will open in Spring 2005.
The inaugural exhibition is currently on
display in the Marble Hall of Bishops Courtyard, Zelny trh, Brno, open
daily. It will transfer to the Korngold Centre at Ground Floor, House of
the Lords of Kunstat, Dominikanska Nam 9, Brno in April 2005, in an
expanded format, as a permanent attraction.
Viktor Pantucek (Curator - Korngold Centre,