RLPO – Czech Republic 2015 Day One – Prague Spring Festival- A Free Evening!


Left – extra percussionist Richard Winter, Centre -Principal Percussion Graham Johns and Right, first violin David Whitehead, waiting for the coach to leave The Friary (our RLPO rehearsal facility) on the way to Manchester Airport.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra set off at midday today for the first part of our June 2015 Tour to the Czech Republic. We had been frequent visitors to this most beautiful and friendly country over the years, including being the first non-Czech orchestra to open the Spring Festival in Prague in 1993. On this occasion we would be performing two concerts in Prague to close the Spring Festival and a performance in Ostrava for the Interbnational Music Festival.


On arrival at Manchester Airport Terminal One, I was interested to see one of the famous Czech beers on offer. Well, for research purposes it would be churlish not to try one for comparison in Prague later! unnamed-4

The heavy brass plus Principal Viola Vicci Wardman awaiting the  announcement to board our Jet.2 plane to Prague.unnamed-6This is the RLPO waiting to board the plane to the Czech Republic. You can see the tall figure of Vasily Petrenko queuing with the rest of the orchestra.unnamed-1

Here’s our plane to Prague and once on board we soon set off.unnamed-8

We arrived at Vaclav Havel Airport at something about 6.30pm and set off  for our accomodation for the next three nights, the Hotel Mozartova, on the very beautiful Castle side of the Moldau/Vltava river. Well, we had an evening off, so once settled into the hotel the whole brass section descended on a nearby restaurant to eat various local pork and dumpling dishes.

The heavy brass section

The heavy brass section – from left: Me!, Simon Cowen, Dave Hooper, Rory Cartmell, Simon Powell, Simon Chappell, Paul Marsden and Robin Haggart

Many of the other sections of the RLPO were had also found their way to the same eaterie.

The RLPO First violins

The RLPO First violins




So, for our free evening in Prague, the trumpet section decided to head over the other side of the river to enjoy some famous Czech beers and to take in the stunning, historic architecture that make Prague one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world. Our first stop was the famous beer hall and restaurant u Medviku. We had been to this historic hostelry on many a previous occasion.unnamed-1

u Medvidku brews it’s own beer on the premises and we decided to go for a popular mix of light and dark beer as many of the locals choose.u-medvidku

Paul Marsden and Dave Hooper - 2nd and third trumpets enjoying the beer brewed on the premises at u Medvidku

Paul Marsden and Dave Hooper – 2nd and third trumpets enjoying the beer brewed on the premises at u Medvidku

Having quenched our thirst it was off to see the city. There is so much to see! It was a shame my camera died on me, otherwise I have many more photos to show of a spectacular journey, on foot through the winding, ancient streets of Prague. Our first destination was the incredible Old Town Square to see the Tyn Church and Astronomical Clock.unnamed-10This part of Prague is always bustling with tourists, no matter what time of day or night. Many of the artisan bakeries, bars and restaurants stay open well into the night. As do the absinthe bars and marijuana beer bars. Yes, that is marijuana infused beer…_MG_8532_peThe Tyn Church provides one of the most spectacular views of the city, even in such a scenic place as Prague.unnamed-8I always enjoy the sight of the Anatomical Clock. During the day there is also a live trumpet fanfare before the clock chines and the mechanical figures appear. A large crowd always gathers to see the movements of the clock whether it is day or night time.charles_bridge_at_night_by_pingallery-d4p865m-1

After the ‘clock show’ at eleven pm we ambled down to the river to see the glorious view of the Charles Bridge at nighttime.

The Charles Bridge, Prague, at night.

The Charles Bridge, Prague, at night.

From the Charles Bridge we enjoyed views of St. Vitus’ Cathedral and Prague Castle.

Prague Castle at Night – CC-BY-NC


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Also to be enjoyed from by the Charles Bridge is the Rudolfinum, or Dvorak Hall, the home of the famous Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Rudolfinum, or Dvorak Hall - home of the Czech Philharmonic

The Rudolfinum, or Dvorak Hall – home of the Czech Philharmonic

That was enough sight-seeing for one night. We had endured a long day of travel before this substantial look around town. As pleasurable as the jaunt was we have to rehearse and give our first import concert of Janacek, Berg and Elgar tomorrow.

We have the morning and early afternoon free tomorrow, so who knows what we will have to show you (camera phone willing!).

Night all.





Click here to check out the previous time the RLPO visited Prague

About brendanball

Professional Trumpeter: Soloist, Orchestra Player, Chamber Music, Contemporary Music & Education.
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4 Responses to RLPO – Czech Republic 2015 Day One – Prague Spring Festival- A Free Evening!

  1. Brian Willis says:

    Hello Brendan,
    Not very good at this modern technology – I typed a reply but I am not convinced I managed to send it!! What a dumbo. So here goes…again. You might just receive two – if so, sorry for wasting your time.
    Thanks for your blog – interesting reading as ever…and the photos were superb.
    Glad you all arrived safely and that medical science is not being neglected….plenty of sampling of local beers!!
    Hope the tour goes well…how could it be other than a huge success with a ‘band’ like ours….and The Maestro in charge….provided he has not sampled too many beers!
    Please pass on our best wishes to Dania Alzapiedi or ‘adopted’ daughter….or should that be granddaughter?!!
    Look forward to meeting you one day.
    Best wishes,
    Val + Brian Willis
    PS Thank Sandra for her blog as well. Looking forward to hear the next lot(s) of news from each of you.

  2. Pingback: RLPO – Czech Tour 2015 Day Two – Prague Spring Festival – Opening Concert | Brendan Ball's Blog

  3. Pingback: RLPO – Czech Republic Tour – June 2015 – Preparing To Go! | Brendan Ball's Blog

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