Prague is a haven for classical music lovers. The city abounds with opportunities to easily attend performances by skilled musicians every day throughout the year. One of my very favorite aspects of this wonderful city is that no matter when you visit, you can hear beautiful music virtually any time you want. On my last weeklong visit to Prague, I attended a concert and/or an opera every day. Sometimes I even attend multiple performances in one day – this is an easy thing to do since most concerts are inexpensive by US standards and last for about an hour (and logistically, Prague is a small city and it’s easy to get from venue to venue). I paid between 150-300kc per concert (about 4.25-9.00 USD – a steal!).
How Will I Know What’s Playing?
Throughout the year, it is almost impossible to avoid the young men and women in Mala Strana, Stare Mesto and Nove Mesto handing out flyers announcing various musical performances - this is a great way to find out what’s playing while you’re in town. To find out what’s going on in Prague before you leave home, click here for a monthly performance guide. For information on Prague’s State Opera, click here.
Locations and What to Expect
I have seen excellent performances by local artists in some of the most beautiful locations in Prague. Accomplished local musicians (often in trios and quartets) perform the works of such composers as Telemann, Vivaldi, Handel, Bach, Marcello, Mozart, Corelli, and Purcell, among others. Baroque music is a very big deal in Prague. Performers to look for include the wonderful Adamus Trio (Oboe, Violin and Cembalo), Prague Strings (particularly with solo violinist Pavel Hula), and the terrific Vivaldi Orchestra Praga. I also enjoyed a performance at St. Giles by violinist Jan Valta and organist Zuzana Nemeckova – they were incredible (the wooden pews shook when they played Bach’s Fugue in D Minor!). Another memorable performance by Vladimir Rejlek (trumpet) and organist Irena Crhibkova at St. Nicholas (Malostranske Nameste) included a stirring interpretation of Bach’s Fantasy in G Major and Telemann’s Heroic Marches.
Aside from the beautiful music, one of the best aspects of Prague’s concert program are the venues. Concerts are held all over town, in the most beautiful and historic churches and theaters. I have seen performances in stunning St. Nicholas Church (Malostranske Nameste), St. Giles Church, Obecni Dum (the art nouveau Municipal House), St. Nicholas Church (Staromestske Namesti) the Rudolfinum and St. Vitus’ Cathedral. All are provide a magnificent backdrop for the music. It’s a truly wonderful experience, aurally and visually. A real treat.
While most of the performances held outside of the State Theater and State Opera House include only selected movements of works and last only about an hour, this is rarely a detractor, even for seasoned classical music buffs. I find that this format offers something for everyone - it provides an excellent way for those unfamiliar with classical music to become acquainted with its beauty, while allowing enthusiasts to enjoy excellent music in a serene and gorgeous setting. The city of Prague has made a conscious effort to provide affordable, quality music performances to everyone, while utilizing the city’s most beautiful churches and theaters. Everyone wins! I wish there were more opportunities in New York to hear music with such ease and affordability.
How and When to Buy Tickets
I have only visited Prague in Spring and Fall, so I can’t speak for the high tourist season, but I have always been able to purchase concert tickets at the venue immediately before the performance. I would imagine that during the summer months, it would be wise to purchase tickets in advance from one of Prague’s many ticket agencies (a list of ticket agencies and addresses is below). In most cases, tickets are available at the venue one to three hours in advance of the concert start time. If there is a performance you really want to see, it would be a good idea to purchase advance tickets as soon as possible. In most cases, there is no assigned seating, so get there early if you are concerned about where you will sit.
The following are good places to check for concert schedules and purchase advance tickets (advance Internet reservations can be made through the ticket distributors with I-links):
~Ticketpro-Pis, Old Town Hall
~Exchange Office, Celetna 3
~Prague Tourist Center, Rytirska 12
~Cedok, Na Prikope 18
~Bohemia Ticket International, Male Namesti 13
~Tyn Gallery, Old Town Square 14, Malostranske Nam. 13