Thank you all for joining us for a long weekend of music and education in the heart of Europe!

WASBE Prague 2016 was held in summer 8th – 11th July 2016 in the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. The destination was selected both because of Prague’s spectacular historic concert halls and rich musical heritage and also as a way of showcasing the important contribution which Czech composers have made to the symphonic wind repertoire. The conference features lectures, workshops and a Fringe Festival with performers from all regions of the Czech Republic and from around the world. The highlights, however, are undoubtedly the evening concerts, which take place in three of Prague’s most famous halls.

Conference highlights:

  • Europe’s most beautiful city
  • Gala concert and reception in Prague Castle
  • Concerts in Prague’s spectacular symphony halls
  • Full lecture program
  • Fringe festival in attractive historic locations
  • Celebrating the music of Karel Husa, Julius Fučík and Václav Nelhýbel

Words by William Johnson, President of WASBE

The 2nd Regional Conference of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) was a tremendous success. As the President of WASBE, I want to take this opportunity to express to you and the people of Prague our deep appreciation for all that was done to create a beautiful artistic environment for this important conference. People from many nations enjoyed the opportunity to hear some of the finest wind orchestras perform in world-class concert halls and outdoor venues to large audiences and there were many memorable repertoire sessions, lectures and symposiums presented during the conference.

Musicians from throughout the world are very much aware of the extraordinary contributions that Czech composers have made to the world of music. From Antonín Dvořák and Julius Fučík to Václav Nelhýbel and Karel Husa, those of us who are involved in the performance of the finest in music written for wind and percussion instruments were thrilled to be in the exact location where these composers and many other Czech composers had their beginning.

Having the opportunity to visit the elegant Spanish Hall in the Prague Castle to hear an extraordinary performance by the Prague Castle Guard and Czech Police Band to a capacity crowd under your direction was one of the great moments of the conference. The band was musically outstanding and we all felt the historical significance of hearing the works that were chosen for this event. I have known Pulitzer Prize winner Karel Husa for many years and, to hear his “Music for Prague, 1968” performed at the Prague Castle was something I will never forget. I know that Karel would have loved to attend, but, at the age of 95, his doctors will not allow him to get on an airplane. The two works by Václav Nelhýbel were new to me. I met Václav during my graduate days at the University of Michigan. We remained good friends until his death in 1996. It was great to have his wife in attendance at the concert.

Our two performances in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum and our finale concert in Smetana’s Hall of the Municipal House were also performed to capacity crowds which gave each ensemble standing ovations and our numerous performances in other parts of the city were tremendously successful.

WASBE is well aware of the large number of people from Prague who worked so hard to produce one of the finest conferences in WASBE history. The people of the Prague Concert Company, NIPOS – Artama Prague, the Union of Czech Musicians, HPCG and others were outstanding and those of us in WASBE are deeply appreciative.

We especially want to thank Daniel Herman, Minister of Culture and your wonderful Mayor, Adriana Krnacova for their support of this event.

In closing, I want to thank you, Václav Blahunek, for your leadership and your extraordinary skills as a conductor and as a conference organizer. You are among the very best. I know that I speak for the entire WASBE Board of Directors when I say it is a pleasure to have you as a new member of our Board. My wife, Pamela, and I want to thank you for your kind remarks at the Banquet. It was a pleasure for us to meet your lovely wife.

For the next year, we are all going to work very hard to prepare for our next conference, which will be in Utrecht, The Netherlands, 18-22 July, 2017.