First held in 1992, the Easter Festival of Sacred Music is the very first of its kind in the Czech Republic. Responding to the constant demand from audiences for concerts thematically linked with Easter – an important period of the liturgical year – this international project, dedicated solely to sacred music, showcases novel programming and outstanding performances; and it remains unique in the wider region.
Founded in 1992, the link with Easter became stronger in 2012, when Filharmonie Brno took over the organisation of the festival and the historian and musicologist Vladimír Maňas was appointed to arrange the programme, in collaboration since 2022 with the organist, organologist and officer for liturgy and music for the Bishopric of Brno, Ondřej Múčka.
Of course, Easter is not just the period of public holidays in which the festival happens to take place. The events celebrated in Holy Week and Easter Week provide both its structure and its source of inspiration. The opening concert on Palm Sunday and the closing event on Divine Mercy Sunday traditionally present the most ambitious music programmes and feature a symphony orchestra, choir and soloists. The passion and resurrection of Christ helps to define the repertory, including the contrasting chamber productions during Holy Week, and provides the main inspiration for the rich programme of events, reflecting the diversity of the liturgy.
Performances of contemporary sacred music, including festival commissions, are integral to the festival and help make it so remarkable. Its local aspect also has universal significance, and original festival programmes are inspired by music-making in Brno, Moravia and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown from the Middle Ages to the present day. The search for local connections leads us to explore various sources (for example, the Antiphonary of Elizabeth Richeza, the Jistebnice Hymn Book and codices of Renaissance polyphony), and results in a rich variety of oratorios and liturgical works, and works by local composers from the 19th to the 21st century. The festival’s unmatched position in Brno helps our audiences appreciate the talent of local composers and performers, and creates new opportunities to achieve an enjoyable fusion of the work, performer and listener.
dramaturge of the festival Vladimír Maňas