Frets over future of Janacek concert hall

Frets over future of Janacek concert hall


norman lebrecht

May 27, 2023

Citizens of Brno, where the composer spent much of his working life, are getting edgy over persistent delays to a concert hall that is supposed to honour its greatest citizen.

They have sent this open letter:


Dear Ms. Mayor and members of the city council,

We, concerned citizens of Brno, are writing to you in reference to the construction of Brno’s new
concert hall. Given the fact that all actions necessary for issuing an invitation to tender concerning
the construction of this hall have been completed for more than a year but no such invitation has
yet been issued, we are worried that there may be serious obstacles to continuing work on this
project that have yet to be made public. Therefore, we would like to know what the real situation is
because ‘a lack of information leads to speculation’. The construction of a multifunctional hockey
stadium at the Brno Fairgrounds is a hot topic of discussion in the Czech media and among the
public and experts. There has been speculation that the focus on this investment has come at the
expense of some of the large, strategic projects that the City of Brno has planned.
Therefore, we must pose the question, Why has the city not yet issued an invitation to tender
concerning the construction of the new concert hall?

Brno is home to an orchestra of exceptional quality that is currently directed by world-renowned
conductor Dennis Russell Davies. Davies has forged links between the Philharmonic and some of
the greatest living composers, and has significantly increased the orchestra’s international
prestige. In February, a sold-out Carnegie Hall, with Philip Glass in the audience, applauded the
Brno Philharmonic. This season, besides New York City, the Philharmonic has also put on
successful concerts in Salzburg, London, and Leipzig, among other places. It is no coincidence
that this construction project has received the backing of world-famous figures such as Milan
Kundera, Magdalena Kožená, and Jakub Hrůša.

The Brno Philharmonic does a stellar job of representing our city throughout the globe. At home,
however, the Brno Philharmonic does not have a space large enough for the full orchestra to
rehearse or perform. Brno is a UNESCO Creative City of Music; it is a city with which the life of one
of the greatest composers in music history, Leoš Janáček, is intertwined. Although Brno has great
potential, it lacks a first-rate concert hall with a modern acoustic design where our orchestra can
play for its fans. At the same time, it is a well-known fact that the new concert hall will contribute to
the city’s prestige not just regionally and nationally but also internationally. 

Therefore, we pose the following questions to you, the leaders of Brno:
Why has an invitation to tender concerning the construction of the concert hall not yet been
Are there currently any objective obstacles preventing the completion of this project?
When is the estimated opening date of the new concert hall?

Thank you for answering our questions.

Concerned citizens of Brno and supporters of the new Brno concert hall


pictured: the present Janacek theatre


  • Gustavo says:

    BR no

  • RW2013 says:

    The forecourt of the Janacek theatre doesn’t look that shabby any more.

  • Paul Mauffray says:

    Correction: you wrote that pictured is the present Janáček theatre, but that photo was taken several years ago before the square in front of the theatre (opera) was renovated. Now there is a fountain there, and even the facade, lobby, and backstage have all been renovated. Perhaps Norman could update this story with a current photo to really show the “present” theatre which by the way is an entirely different building than what this story is about. The picture is of the opera house where I once conducted the Rite of Spring. It is perfectly large enough for full scale productions, but the article is about an entirely different concert hall that is yet to be built.

  • Paul Mauffray says:

    Current images of the present theatre (the opera, and not the proposed concert hall) may be seen here:

  • Dieter says:

    What a well written letter! I sure hope they get their hall built. Brno is a wonderful city with an orchestra that deserves it!