A former Czech deputy minister of culture who leads the Prague Philharmonia yesterday in Taipei said that performing arts should not be used as a tool in political conflicts.
Prague Philharmonia general director Katerina Kalistova was referring to Chinese authorities last year canceling the orchestra’s planned tour of the country without explanation, but possibly due to Beijing’s displeasure with Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib, as reported by Radio Prague International on July 19 last year.
The dispute stemmed from Hrib’s vocal support for Taiwan and Tibet, the broadcaster said.
Kalistova said that the orchestra aims to perform good music for audiences, and not be used as a political tool.
“I find it sorrowful if performing arts becomes a tool for political conflict. Because in this circumstance, no side will win and everyone will lose,” said Kalistova, who left her role as Czech deputy minister of culture at the end of last year before becoming director of the orchestra in February.
She is part of an 89-member delegation headed by Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil that ended their six-day visit to Taiwan yesterday.
Kalistova said she would like the orchestra to perform for audiences in China, as it has been invited numerous times, but there are still many other places where it can perform.
“We are looking forward to performing in places where they welcome us around the world,” Kalistova said.
Next year, the Prague Philharmonia is to perform in Kaohsiung on Oct. 8, Taichung on Oct. 9 and Taipei on Oct. 10, following performances in Japan and South Korea, she said.
The music it plans to perform includes famous and popular Czech works, such as the overture to The Bartered Bride and Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, also known as the New World Symphony, Kalistova said.
She said that she wants Taiwanese audiences to be touched by Czech culture and hopes the performances would increase mutual understanding.
The orchestra, founded in 1994 as the “Prague Chamber Philharmonic,” is regularly invited to international music festivals and performs at top venues worldwide, while its ensemble has recorded more than 90 albums, released by leading music publishers, it said in a statement.
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