situace-litomyslThe East Bohemian town of Litomyšl emerged in the 13th century on the site of an older fortified settlement on the Trstenice path - an important trading route linking Bohemia and Moravia.

The dominant feature of Litomyšl is the monumental Renaissance castle dating from the years 1568 - 1581. The buildings of the castle precincts are not only exceptional for their architectural refinement, but have also inscribed themselves in history as the birthplace of the Czech national composer, Bedrich Smetana. On the elongated square, which is one of the largest in the Czech Republic, stands a town hall of Gothic origin and a series of Renaissance and baroque houses, many with arcades and vaulted ground floor rooms. One of the most important of these is the House At the Knights (U Rytíru) with its remarkable facade dating back to the early 16th century.

In the past the town was also a significant religious centre; it was in Litomyšl in 1344 that the second bishopric to be established in Bohemia was founded.

The cultural traditions of the town go much beyond regional and national frontiers. The exquisite interiors of the castle, especially the baroque castle theatre, the amphitheatre in the castle park and Smetana’s house, all offer varied programs of concerts and theatrical performances and thus enrich the life of the town throughout the year.

Litomyšl came to public notice in a political context as well: in 1994 the meeting of the seven Central European presidents took place at the castle, and in 1995 the Spanish royal couple visited the town. The chateau complex was included in the UNESCO List of cultural monuments 1999. Litomyšl was awarded “Historical Town of the year 2000”.


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zamek-z-dalkyThe Litomyšl International String Master Class was founded in 1996 by Prof. Milan Vitek in collaboration Ms. Anna Rychnovská and Mr. Radomil Kašpar, who were enthusiastic about adding this cultural event to the already renowned Smetana’s Litomyšl Opera Festival, founded in 1949, which takes place just prior to the string master class.

Very quickly, it became apparent that Litomyšl presented a perfect venue for a string master class, with first-class facilities and numerous opportunities for concerts and student recreation within the setting of a small, historical town. Prof. Vitek became the Artistic Director of the master class, while Mr. Radomil Kašpar became its Executive Director. The master class was realized through the financial support of the Danish Augustinus Fonden foundation as well as the prominent Danish foundations Beckett-Fonden and Jacob Gades Legat.

Student interaction with fellow violinists from other countries was one of Prof. Vitek’s prime objectives for founding the master class. In Prof. Vitek’s own words:

“As a young violinist in communist Czechoslovakia, I and my fellow students had almost no opportunity to travel so we could interact with string players and teachers from other countries. Whenever one of our fellow students returned from a competition or concert abroad, we would eagerly “interrogate” them about how various pieces were performed in other countries and the latest trends in string music playing. This experience convinced me of the importance of creating an environment, where students from all over the world can meet for intensive studies with an outstanding international faculty, develop friendships and exchange ideas among themselves.”

During its existence, the master class has hosted students from all over the world, including Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Mongolia, Norway,Spain, Sweden and the United States.

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