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College of Music hosts International Festival of Czech Music

Guest artists and educators from around the world will collaborate with UNT College of Music faculty and students during a special Christmas-themed festival that includes several events and concerts open to the public, Nov. 15-22.

For 10 years, UNT’s College of Music has enjoyed a successful relationship with universities and musicians in the Czech Republic thanks to major funding from the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas, which was established to support the teaching of Czech language and culture at high school and college levels; and from the Frank J. and Hermine Hurta Kostohryz Residency in Czech Music and Culture; and the Dr. Jim J. and Rose A. Bezdek Endowment Fund Celebrating Czech Music and Culture, both endowments at UNT.

Tom Sovik“I’m excited about our ‘Christmas-themed’ festival of Czech music,” said Thomas Sovik, right, professor of music theory. “The four-day program will contrast the vastly different music of the Czech Brethren, with its European tradition, and the Moravian Brethren, with its German-American tradition. With this festival, we commemorate two special events – the 600th anniversary of the burning of Jan Hus, the predecessor of Martin Luther and the spiritual leader of the Czech Brethren movement, and the 10th anniversary of the endowment established by the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas.”

As a way to commemorate that 10-year anniversary, the College of Music presents Veselé Vánoce! A Czech Christmas at the University of North Texas. The festival includes music, daily lectures, masterclasses and performances, all of which are open to the public and most of which are free.

The keynote work of the festival, conducted by visiting professor Greg Hobbs, is the Česká mše vánoční, a pastoral Christmas mass by Jakub Jan Ryba, which will be presented Nov. 21 by the UNT Symphony Orchestra and University Singers, with UNT faculty and student soloists. The concert will be in Winspear Hall at the Murchison Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $8-$10 and available at

What: Veselé Vánoce! A Czech Christmas at the University of North Texas is the second International Festival of Czech Music to be hosted by the College of Music. The program brings together students, faculty and guest artists from around the world for a week of concerts, lectures and film screenings. 

  • When: Nov. 15-21
  • Where: All concerts and events will take place at the College of Music or in the Murchison Performing Arts Center.
  • Cost: Most concerts and events are free.
  • schedule of events 

In addition to distinguished performers and scholars living in the United States, the international roster of visitors includes Mikuláš Bek, professor of musicology and rector of Masaryk University; Vít Zouhar, professor of musicology and provost of Palacký University; Ivo Medek, professor of composition and rector of the Janáček Academy of Music & the Performing Arts; and Sára Medková and Barbara Willi, artists-in-residence at the Janáček Academy.

“This festival will be an opportunity to hear a lot of music that is beyond the typical Smetana-Dvorak-Janacek Top 40, and it will be a great way to begin the holiday season,” said Sovik.

-Margarita Venegas, News Promotions

Posted on: Mon 09 November 2015

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