Ameropa Chamber Music Festival and Courses
Ameropa is unique music project which takes place in Prague, Czech Republic, every year. A classical music festival and summer school in one, Ameropa offers music students, as well as professional and amateur musicians, the opportunity to study and perform chamber music at some of the most attractive concert locations in the Czech capital.
The artistic director and founder of Ameropa Vadim Mazo describes the origins of the Ameropa: “I was lucky to be here in the early nineties and I felt very strongly that this is the place where music is the part of communication – a language for people from different countries, especially between Americans and Europeans. After a while we started to cooperate seriously with my colleagues from the Czech Republic and established the name ‘Ameropa’ which expresses a musical bridge between Americans and Europeans.”
During past 19 years Ameropa hosted more than a thousand participants of 35 nationalities from 15 countries. Strings, wood winds and horn, harp, piano and also vocalists perform during three weeks in prestigious concert halls in Prague and other cities. Very special atmosphere of friendship and communication attracts musicians of all ages from all over the world.
The main purpose of Ameropa remains to gain wide knowledge about global and regional musical cultural traditions and to develop these traditions, to provide information to the professional and lay public, and to develop contacts (build “musical bridges”) between artists and supporters of chamber music, and between professional and amateur musicians and music lovers, regardless of their age, profession and nationality. This objective shall be achieved through organizing and supporting educational programs and projects concerned with playing and teaching music, particularly chamber playing, under direction of top artists, and through organizing concerts, festivals, seminars, lectures and workshops.
Ameropa participants work intensively on their professional progress as soloists under the leadership of prestigious faculties, and prepare chamber music parts for the following two-week course and festival concerts.
From 2009, Ameropa is preparing intensive schooling program for future professionals and/or professional chamber music ensembles all over the world which will be recommended by Universities and Music schools or Ameropa faculty board, and supported by Ameropa with significant scholarship. This prestigious classes will be developed individually and support high quality musicians.
For passive participants (e.g. parents coming with their underage children) Ameropa wants to organize a cycle of Prague’s and Bohemian most attractive cultural-educational routes, designed specially for Ameropa and focused at the rich musical heritage of Bohemia, giving the participants an opportunity to share extracurricular activities in addition to share with Ameropa active participants musical lectures, seminars, workshop and chamber and individual lessons over and above faculty and participants concerts.
From 2011 Ameropa organize Music Competition featuring concerti for 2 or more soloists with chamber or symphonic orchestra helps young artists in the threshold of their careers.
The Ameropa Composition Course is designed for Ameropa Chamber Music participants who are interested in composing. Composition participants will enjoy a daily individual composition class as well as workshops and master classes with experienced composers, to discuss ideas, styles and compositional techniques such as chamber music instrumentation. The best chamber music works are studied by Ameropa participants and/or faculty ensembles and are performed in some of Ameropa in–door or festival concerts.
Czech and international chamber music of all centuries is extended every year with some special topics:
- 1999 Schostakovich – Dvořák
- 2001 Chamber music of three centuries
- 2004 World of the Czech Music
- 2005 The Joy in Chamber Music and First year of Solo Master Classes
- 2006 Mozart and Shostakovich
- 2007 Slavic Masters
- 2008 Women in Music & West Meets East
- 2009 Three centuries of Chamber music: from Haydn (+1809) to Martinů (+1959)
- 2010 Expressions in Music – From Baroque to Expressionism
- 2011 Viva Baroque – Homage to atonality and abstraction
- 2012 In remembrance – Arts resistance in Europe’s 20th century
- 2013 20th anniversary celebration – Slavic Masters
About 50 – 100 participants and 20 – 30 faculties are coming to Prague every year. The repertory presented in Ameropa concerts consists of approximately 60 – 80 chamber music pieces studied and performed by student (or student + faculty) ensembles, and some 20 works presented by faculty groups. This wide music experience allows for wide knowledge of chamber music from lot of countries. The rehearsals are lead by highly professional faculties and chamber players. International musical collaboration establishes new friendships, makes musical and social bridges between different ages, various levels of musical education, professionals and “music lovers”, people of various nationalities, and even from different continents. In Ameropa, faculties come from USA, Czech, France, Israel, Germany, Taiwan, China, Holland, Japan, and participants arrive from more than 15 countries.
From 1998 to 2007 Ameropa was organized by the board of three directors. Since 2008 the festival is lead by Vadim Mazo and Ada Slivanska with the help of international faculty team.
The Website was created in 2001 and since then http://www.ameropa.org was visited by some
61 000 readers. The URL http://www.ameropa.cz is also registered for Ameropa. Ameropa regularly advertise in local and international magazines. Since 2011 social media is being implemented through this ameropa.wordpress.com blog. Being linked to Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin and Twitter.
In 2005, Ameropa Master Class was added to Chamber program. One “solo week”, devoted to individual lessons, is optional for students and allows each of them to work on their artistic progress with the faculty, and to study the chamber music parts. Solo lectures are devoted not only to solving the technical problems specific to each instrument, but to developing the musician’s personality, speaking about professional carrier, practicing and relaxing, artistic creation, etc. Two participant concerts are organized in the end of “solo week” in Brandys castle where also faculty concert is held at the opening of the courses. Brandys castle host Ameropa once again for presenting chamber music – it is interesting to the audience to see our “solo participants” in chamber ensembles. The main emphasis is put on chamber music classes and concerts, which presents faculty ensembles and participants groups.
In 2003, Ameropa o. s. was established as a non-profit-making organization (the constitution is enclosed). More improvements have been seen in many areas. From the increasing level of participants, to the scope of instrument combinations such as strings, woodwinds, horn, piano, harp, vocalists and ensemble combination. All this opens up a wide repertory of possibility.
Vadim Mazo and his American colleagues decided to ask some Czech organizers for help, to allow Ameropa to grow. Ada Slivanska was recommended by Prof. Vaclav Riedlbauch (at that time Head of Concert Department at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, currently Director of Czech Philharmonic Orchestra) to lead Ameropa organizationally, chiefly for her wide experience in the field of artistic management and organization, not mentioning her artistic career as a violinist. Ada Slivanská invited into the project her colleague and friend Jiri Havlik, member of Czech Philharmonic (French horn) because of his wide organizational experience (Jiri Havlik is a member of Horn Music Agency which has been managing international French horn courses HORNCLASS in Nove Straseci since 1991). Trade Mark “Ameropa” was registered and Ameropa was professionalized.
In 1998, Ameropa was extended from one to two weeks. The first week was held in Brandys nad Labem, 30 km outside from Prague in local Music School, where the participants concentrated on detailed studying. The second week was spent in the Academy of Music which was meant to finalize the work on chamber music and prepare concert programs to present to Prague’s audience in prestigious concert halls. Very soon Ameropa moved to Prague for both weeks, because the number of participants increased from less than 30 to almost 100 people. The capacity of Brandys facilities (school and students hostel) was not sufficient. Ameropa moved to the Gymnasium of Jan Neruda – Music school of the City of Prague. From 2009 Ameropa has been hosted by the renovated Music School od Jan Hanuš at Prague 6, Břevnov.
The beginning (1993)
“Ameropa” was established in 1993 by Prof. Vadim Mazo. His idea was to help musicians from the USA to meet Czech artists and to enable the artists from both countries to teach young musicians by making “musical bridges”.
At the beginning, Ameropa featured mostly American faculties and their classes and was organized from the USA with some help of Czech friends. The participants spent one week in Prague in a Gymnasium of Jan Neruda along Hellichova Street in the Old Town. (Later on moving to the Academy of Performing Arts).