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Jazz has a special place in Prague's heart, and has been shaking its money maker here since the 1930s, surviving repression to re-emerge all the stronger. You can find jazz (or soul-wringing blues) at Agharta Jazz Centrum or U Malého Glena. The Reduta Jazz Club is the city's most "muso" jazz club, hosting huge stars in a function-hall atmosphere. It was here that, in a moment as cool as a dancing dad, Bill Clinton jammed in 1994 on a saxophone presented to him by the then President Havel.

For Czech garage and the sound of the 21st-century underground, try Lucerna Music Bar, a back-in-time dive built by Havel's father.

Festival city
Prague Spring is the big one, running from 12 May (the anniversary of Bedřich Smetana's death) to 13 June. It traditionally opens with a performance of Smetana's orchestral cycle Má Vlast (My Country), and attracts international virtuoso performers from Nigel Kennedy to Herbie Hancock.

Its Autumnal counterpoint is Prague Autumn, where rousing classical concerts take place at the Rudolfinum. In Summer there is the baroque Collegium Marianum, while in August there is a festival devoted to the French Horn. At the tail end of Summer, the Czech State Opera celebrates Verdi for three weeks, then there are St Wenceslas Sacred Music and International Brass Band festivals in September.

In October don your polo neck for the International Jazz Festival, which has taken place annually at the Reduta Jazz Club since 1964.

Further Information

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© 2009 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘Prague’s musical past and present’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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