A quick guide to performing in the great European cities of Paris, Rome and Prague.
Visiting a country for the first time is an exciting prospect, yet it can often be difficult to know where to start. The desire to see the whole of a country in a short space of time is usually unfeasible – especially when the majority of those who have lived in Britain their whole lives haven’t been as far North as Scotland! The best place to start in any new country that you’re visiting would be its capital, as here you can discover a lot about a country’s political and historic background, as well as being able to immerse yourself in the art and cultural scene which is often concentrated in the capital city.
Choosing to visit a European capital city as the destination for your choir, orchestra or bands music tour also comes with the benefit of having some of that country’s most historic and influential performing spaces at your doorstep. We’ve drawn together three of our favourite capital cities for performing in so that, when you plan your summer 2020 music tour, you can be clued up on all the best locations for your musical performance.
We may only be separated by the English Channel, yet France’s capital city, Paris, is distinguishable from London in so many ways. The birthplace of both Gothic and Art Deco style of architecture and characterised by its famous French Renaissance monuments, Paris is an iconic hub of art, architecture, fashion and food.
Music also plays an extensive role in Paris’ cultural footprint. Paris encompasses many different genres of music, from opera and symphonic music to rap and hip-hop, so whether you’re a classical string ensemble or a group of rock singers, your music tour will be enjoyed no matter where you perform.
One concert venue we love is the striking Notre Dame Cathedral. Inside this gothic wonder, tour groups can participate in Mass or a lunchtime recital or, alternatively, music groups may wish to attract some of the 30,000 people who visit the Cathedral each day through performing on a bandstand just behind the Cathedral.
If castles excite you more than Cathedrals, performing at Disneyland Paris may feel like a true fairy-tale. At this venue, music groups can perform on a professional stage with a fabulous sound system and after the performances, your music tour can venture around the theme park, re-visiting the magic of their youth.
From Cathedrals, to castles, to temples…well almost. The Madeleine Church (which looks more like a Greek temple) is the perfect place for a day time performance. This Roman Catholic Church was designed in 1806 as a temple to glorify Napoleon’s army and religious services in our present day are a frequent occurrence at the church. The church is also renowned for concerts, and groups of musicians are welcome to play classical or sacred music.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is an important and flourishing cultural, political and economic heart for the Czech Republic and for Central Europe as a whole. Founded during the Romanesque era, Prague was the capital of the historic Kingdom of Bohemia, played a major role in the Protestant and Bohemian Reformation and remains incredibly untouched by the wars that have raged around it. Prague’s rich history means that there is an abundance of cultural sites that attract millions of visitors each year. For art and history, the National Museum is an important attraction for those wishing to understand more about Prague’s historic struggles and its cultural influence.
The first beautiful venue that tour groups can perform in is St Salvator Church. The interior of this wonderful space features an altarpiece painted by Jiri Hering in 1632 and a ceiling fresco symbolising the four continents known at the time. The tradition of music performances in this church is very long. A recently restored 18th century organ belonging to the church has historically been played by a number of Jesuit composers who worked in the temple as well as by famous composers of the 18th century such as Jan Dismas Zelenka and Jakub Jan Ryba. Groups can perform in the steps and space around the altar, and a conductor’s podium and risers are also available just the group require them.
The Czech Museum of Music provides an exquisite location for school music tours to perform. Located in the 17th century Baroque Church of Santa Maria Magdalena, the space boasts an impressive atrium and an exhibition showcasing an incredible selection of instruments, including a grand piano once played by Mozart in 1787. All music ensembles are welcome to perform in this historic and atmospheric space, and as this church is such a popular location for concerts to take place, your group will have no problem with attracting an audience.
Celebrated for its ancient ruins, famous frescoes and Catholic headquarters, planning a music tour to the Italian capital city, Rome, will lead to a truly unforgettable experience. Rome is steeped in history, making it an incredibly vibrant and interesting city to visit, with plenty to see and do. Tour groups can explore the Colosseum, take pictures by the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps and indulge in the finest pizza and gelato.
Being a religious city, a popular way to perform in Rome is by taking part in Mass in one of Rome’s many spectacular churches. St Peter’s Church, Italy’s largest basilica, is the perfect venue for school or adult music tours to perform in as, not only is it incredibly beautiful, but groups will typically attract a sizeable audience.
In the warmer summer months, music groups can perform in the Theatre of Marcellus, an ancient open-air theatre, built towards the end of the Roman republic. At the time that it was built, visitors could enjoy theatrical and musical performances. In our present day, the theatre is still used for all kinds of music performances. School and adult music groups are welcome to perform here to regular audiences of music lovers.
Just outside of Rome, the ancient coastal town of Nettuno provides groups with the opportunity to perform to an enthusiastic audience in the medieval church or square. As with Rome, Nettuno is a popular tourist destination, meaning that in the summer months groups can be assured that an audience will gather for them.
So whether you enjoy rocking out in small medieval squares or are part of a classical string ensemble and desire to play in some of Italy’s most famous churches, planning a tour to one of Europe’s incredible capital cities will ensure that all of your musical and creative needs are met. There’s plenty cities to choose from – for more inspiration check out our popular performance destinations!