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Festival Launch: Jazz-Age Evening

Date: 03 September 2015 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, Venue: Czech Embassy

The Embassy of the Czech Republic presents the launch of the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2015 - Karel Čapek, featuring a jazzy concert by the exceptionally gifted pianist Jana Otáhalová, dancing by the Fidgety Feet duo Kevin Crandell and Lily Matini, and the opening of exhibitions about brothers Karel and Josef Čapek on September 3, 2015, at 6 pm.

MIF Festival Launch - 2015

MIF Festival Launch - 2015

The festival this year honors the prominent Czech author Karel Čapek, who brought new awakenings to the 1920s and 30s through his works such as R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), War of the Newts, The Makropulos Affair, and The Insect Play. Through his unforgettable writing, he expressed his concern for violence in the world, absolute power, and greed, trying to find hope through humor and warning his countrymen of a looming darkness that culminated in WWII. He said, "Knowledge is my great and intractable passion; I think I am writing in order to learn to know." This year marks his 125th birth anniversary! 

Savor such upbeat pieces as Ježek's Bugatti Step in a memorable jazz-age evening to kick off the festival. 

Light refreshments follow the event.

Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic
3900 Spring of Freedom Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008

RSVP required by August 31, 2015
Please cut and paste the link into the browser if it does not work directly. 

Parking: Non-metered street parking is available on Spring of Freedom Street and Tilden Street.
Closest Metro: The Embassy is about a 15-20 minute walk from the Van Ness Metro Station.


The festival runs from September 3 through mid-November with an array of events, including theatrical performances and readings, concerts, panel discussions, lectures, screenings, exhibitions, and a special children's workshop at prestigious venues throughout the Washington, DC community. Highlights of the festival include a theatrical reading of R.U.R. at the Kennedy Center, performances of War of the Newts at Georgetown's Gonda Theatre, a children's Lego Robotics Workshop at the Czech Embassy, panel discussions and lectures gaining insight into the acclaimed author and delving into such topics as robotics and artificial intelligence. For additional festival information, stay posted at www.mutualinspirations.org.

Jana Otáhalová has received wide recognizition at national and international piano competitions for her exceptional talent, winning the Grand Prix at both the Anton Rubinstein Piano Competition in Rome, Italy (2014) and the International Music Competition of Sergei Rachmaninov in Madrid, Spain (2014). She has also won first prize at the Joseph Haydn Piano Competition in Vienna (2012), Music Season in Prague (2012), Mozart Wunderkind (2011), International Competition of Franz Liszt in Hungary (2011), among many others. She began studying piano at the age of seven. Currently, she studies classical music under professor Irina Kondratenko and jazz music under professors Jaroslav Wagner and Ondrej Kabrna at the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory. Her favorite composers include Rachmaninov, Liszt, Ravel and Ježek.

Lily Matini started swing dancing in the fall of 1999; since then she has mastered the Lindy Hop, Balboa and Collegiate Shag. A nationally-ranked competitor since 2003, Matini has won titles at the National Jitterbug Championship, American Lindy Hop Championship, Balboa Rendezvous, Swing Fling, Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, Rhythmic Arts Championships, and the Virginia State Open. Matini has appeared in numerous films, TV programs, news specials, and tributes, most notably performing for an audience of over 140,000 WWII veterans, as well as President Bush and Tom Hanks, at the WWII Memorial Dedication in Washington, DC, in 2004.

Kevin Crandell has been dancing since 2001. In addition to dancing with Fidgety Feet, he teaches a beginner and intermediate swing dance class with fellow teammate Lily Matini for Gottaswing LLC in Washington, DC. 

Presented by the Karel Čapek Memorial, the exhibitions The Life and Times of the Writer Karel Čapek (1890 - 1938) and Josef Čapek: Painter, Poet, and Writer reveal an intimate portrait of the author and his brother through pictures and excerpts from their work.