Monday, October 15, 2018

The foundation of Czechoslovakia is celebrated throughout the United States in 2018, including Cedar Rapids, Chicago, Houston and Washington. From the very beginning, the United States strongly supported the founding of Czechoslovakia, and the cultural exchanges between the two nations were so strong that they are still going on now. During this festive evening, American tenor Benjamin Berman and pianist Timothy Cheek honour this centenary with pieces by prominent composers such as Antonín Dvořák, music arranger of gospels Harry T. Burleigh, Bohuslav Martinů, Jaroslav Ježek, George Gershwin, and nonetheless important Brno composers Vítězslava Kaprálová and Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

The programme will for example include Six Songs from the Královédvorský Manuscript, Op. 7 or a selection from the Biblical Songs by Antonín Dvořák; Harry Burleigh's gospels; Nový Špalíček by Bohuslav Martinů; Erich Korngold's Jester’s Songs; piano solos by Jaroslav Ježek, Vítězslava Kaprálová, George Gershwin and some more surprises during the concert.

The evening will also include a short commentary on the interiors of Villa Tugendhat.


Benjamin Berman

American tenor Benjamin Berman not only performs song concerts, but is also a successful choral conductor, teacher, harpsichordist, and organist. Furthermore, he is the cofounder and artistic director of the innovative opera company Hub City Opera and Dance Company, New Jersey. In 2012 he graduated with honors from the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, New Jersey. He continued with intensive study of the German Lied at the program Lied Austria International, in Gamlitz, Austria. Benjamin Berman has a great interest in Czech and Jewish music, and in 2015 was a semifinalist at the international Czech & Slovak Voice Competition in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

He first studied Czech repertoire at Rutgers University, and in 2016 continued his study at the summer program Moravian Master Class, in Náměšt’ nad Oslavou. Under the direction of head and founder Mirka Zemanová (noted Czech musicologist, journalist, and language consultant), this program centers on the study of Czech vocal repertoire.


Timothy Cheek

Pianist and vocal coach Timothy Cheek is well known for his work in Czech vocal music. His books Singing in Czech: A Guide to Czech Lyric Diction and Vocal Repertoire, with a foreword by Sir Charles Mackerras; and five other books on Czech operas, are recognized internationally as authoritative resources for singing in Czech. He has been especially instrumental in championing the works of Czech female composer Vítězslava Kaprálová (1915–1940), through international lectures, a CD of her songs with soprano Dana Burešová for Supraphon (nominated for the best recording of 2003 by the Czech journal Harmonie), live performances, and his critical edition of the songs with Amos Editio. This work culminated in a week-long festival celebrating Kaprálová’s 100th birthday in 2015 at the University of Michigan that included several world premieres.

In 2009 the Czech song cycle Apple Train by renowned Czech composer Sylvie Bodorová was written for Cheek, soprano Laurie Lashbrook, and dancer Bohuslava Jelínková, who premiered the work in Sydney in 2010. In 2011, Cheek performed with bass-baritone Stephen Morscheck at the Rudolfinum, Prague, for the celebration of the rededication of Prague’s Woodrow Wilson statue (destroyed by the Nazis in 1941), and the inaugural awarding of the Wilson-Masaryk Medal of Freedom. In 2014, Cheek served on the jury of the 49th International Antonín Dvořák Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, the oldest annual voice competition in the world. Dr. Cheek has also served on the faculty of the Moravian Master Class, a summer program in Náměšt’ nad Oslavou, Czech Republic, founded and run by Mirka Zemanová, and dedicated to the study of Czech art song and opera roles. Cheek’s playing of Dvořák with the renowned American men’s chorus Cantus can be heard on their all-Czech CD.

After completing an opera internship at the National Theatre in Prague under the great Janáček conductor Bohumil Gregor in 1995, Cheek went on to receive several prestigious grants for hands-on research in the Czech Republic. He has coached, performed, and taught masterclasses on Czech vocal repertoire with hundreds of singers at summer festivals, music schools, conferences, and opera houses internationally. Since 1994 he has served on the faculty of the University of Michigan, where he teaches diction classes and a course for singers and pianists, “Czech Vocal Literature.” At the university he also serves as music director of Opera Workshop, coaches opera productions, and is an Associate Faculty member of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Dr. Cheek’s performances as a collaborative pianist have brought him to eighteen countries on four continents, and continue to be broadcast worldwide.



Price: 300 CZK / pp
The capacity of the event is limited, prior reservation is required. 
Tickets are on sale from September 12 at
Stiletto heels are not permitted in the villa interior. 

The access to the villa will be possible from 19.00.



T.: +420 515 511 015 / 017


A poster can be download here.

The programme can be downloaded here.