Rudolfinum Celebrates 125 Years of its Existence
This remarkable building on Palach Square in Prague is also referred to as The Home of the Artists. It was named for the Austrian crown prince Rudolf who was to be present at its opening in 1885, but who actually never made it. The composer Josef Forster gave an organ performance at the first concert held here and played the Czech song “Kde domov muj” at this occasion.
The building itself is the work of two outstanding architects- Josef Zitek and Josef Schulz. The central music and concert hall is known for its unusually beautiful architecture and excellent acoustics.
The outside of the building is decorated with thirty sculptures picturing Czech composers and other artists. In the front of the building near the staircase is the statue of Antonin Dvorak. The financial support for building the Rudolfinum was provided by the Czech Savings Bank.
Rudolfinum served many purposes. There were always exhibitions of paintings in its gallery. The Applied Arts Museum had its original collections here; and the Prague Conservatory of Music was housed here, as well as the Academy of Musical Arts (UMPRUM) in later years. The first concert of the Czech Philharmonic took place here in 1896 under the direction of Antonin Dvorak himself!
When Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918, its first Parliament used the Rudolfinum as its “temporary” home.
The latest reconstruction and modernization of the building was done in 1990- 1992. In addition to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra many other orchestras and other musical groups or individual artists love to perform at the Rudolfinum. Concerts are held here almost daily.Martina Fialkova
Translated by Marie Dolanska
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