6-Minute Challenge, Vol 11

Wed, December 4, 2019 at 7pm
Bohemian National Hall, 3rd fl.
321 E 73 St, NYC

Czech and Slovak artists, professionals, students and scholars are challenged to introduce the subject of their project, research or studies in a short presentation limited to six minutes. In English.

Moderated by Christopher Harwood, PhD, Columbia University
Presenters: Kanala Bolvanská ( UN Relief Program assistant/ meditation instructor), Eva Derman, PhD (Jewish history, SHCSJ), Nicole Hubka (student at Marymount Manhattan College —Int’l relations), Kaneenika Janaková (ultra-distance runner), Tomáš Kellner (Chief Storyteller at GE), Magdalena Kubecková, PhD (researcher/translator/author), Nikita Štepanenko (student at Manhattan School of Music—piano), Lenka Wooten (author of young-adults novels) and Klára Ziková English (mezzo soprano).


Free. Suggested donation $5.00
Organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter in cooperation with the Consulate General of the Slovak Republic in New York.


5+1 JANA JARKOVSKÁ A flute recital

Monday, SEPTEMBER 23 at 7 pm
Bohemian National Hall, 3rd floor
321 E 73 St, NYC

A leading young Czech flutist Jana Jarkovská presented compositions for solo flute and flute & electronics by five contemporary Czech women composers, Sylvie Bodorová, Eliška Cílková, Ivana Loudová, Terezie Švarcová, and Sonya Vetchá. Appreciating the flute’s wide range of melodic and dramatic expression, each composer uses the flute to speak in her own independent and distinctive voice.

Introduction by one of the composers Eliška Cílková.

Jana Jarkovská will also perform at the Boston Flute Festival in October 2019.

YouTube Video

5+1 Flute recital

Jana Jarkovská, a leading Czech flutist of the younger generation, studied for six years at the Prague Conservatory. In 2013, she graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts (HAMU) in Prague and in 2015, she received her soloist diploma from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden. She spent one semester at the Conservatorio di Musica “Giuseppe Verdi” in Milan (Italy), as an assistant professor in the Erasmus Placement Program. In 2018, she earned her PhD in Interpretation Theory from the Academy of Performing Arts (HAMU) in Prague, and released her CD of contemporary Czech music “Pidluke-padluke”. She currently teaches at the Conservatory in Teplice, North Bohemia, performing mostly as a member of the award-winning Duo du Rêve (flute & piano). As a soloist and chamber music player, she collaborates with a number of contemporary composers premiering their works and regularly records for the Czech Radio. Jana is working on a new CD release in 2020 as part of her contemporary project with Czech female composers. Next month, she will perform at the Boston Flute Festival.

Eliška Cílková, composer, began playing the piano at the age of four. She later studied composition and conducting at the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory in Prague. She received her master’s degree in composition from the Academy of Performing Arts. In 2014-2015, she was a Fulbright research scholar in musical composition at Columbia University. Her electroacoustic project “Pripyat Piano – Sound Documentary of the Chernobyl Zone” was enthusiastically received in Europe. Eliška collaborates with diverse European artists and has composed music for documentary films and theatrical performances. Her work has been performed at numerous festivals in the Czech Republic and abroad. In 2015, she received the AHUV prize for “Best Czech Composer of Contemporary Music”, and in 2016, the international Musica Nova prize for the “Best Electroacoustic Composition.” She is currently pursuing her PhD in Musicology at Charles University in Prague.

Literary Inspirations in the Puppet Films of Jirí Trnka

An illustrated talk by Irena Kovarova

Thu, October 3, 2019, at 7 pm
Bohemian National Hall, cinema

The world-renowned Czech filmmaker and book illustrator Jirí Trnka (1912-1969), the master of stop motion animation, brought to the screen works by from Kosmas, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Hašek and others. From tragedy to comedy, Trnka made adults appreciate puppets like nobody else.

The talk will be complemented by excerpts from Trnka’s films.

Irena Kovarova is an independent film programmer and producer of film retrospectives such as Juraj Herz: In and Out of the Czechoslovak New Wave (2019), The Puppet Master: The Complete Jirí Trnka (2018), and In Case of Emergency: The Films of Ruben Östlund (2015).

Having worked independently in New York in the field of repertory cinema since 2004, Irena founded Comeback Company in 2013 to further expand her film projects. In the past, Irena served as Director of Programming of the Young Visual Artists Awards of the Foundation of a Civil Society (2004-2009), and as Acting Director at Czech Center New York (1999-2004). A native of Prague, Irena has lived in New York since 1996.


Suggested Donation $5.00

The event is organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter.

The Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia in1968: The Russian Perspective

Film and Book Launch
October 7, 2019 at 8pm
Bohemian National Hall, cinema

The documentary film (2011, 56 min.) and book offer never-seen archival images and interviews with Soviet soldiers, journalists and dissidents about the August ’68 events in Czechoslovakia. The director Josef Pazderka collected these during his post in 2006-2010 as a Czech TV reporter in Moscow. Mr. Pazderka is also the editor of the book which was recently published in English translation by Rowman Littlefield Publishers in Harvard Cold Ward Series. Q&A with Mr.Pazderka and Professor Milan Babik, PhD (Colby University) will follow the screening.

Limited seating.



Organized by the Czech Center and the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter, in cooperation with the Czech Consulate General in NY


“One of the leading Czech journalists, Josef Pazderka is an authority on Russia who has now produced a meticulous, evenhanded look at the Soviet participants and observers of the USSR’s 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. From army privates to generals, dissidents to top officials, their previously under-reported experiences and perceptions provide a valuable understanding of a wrenching event for Pazderka’s country and a major episode in Cold War history that remains highly relevant to the geopolitical confrontation in Europe today.” — GREGORY FEIFER, Harvard University

“The Prague Spring of 1968 and its violent suppression by the Warsaw Pact tanks was initially viewed as just a family squabble within the Soviet bloc. It seemed to be of little concern to others. But Josef Pazderka and his co-authors have brilliantly exploded this myth. They show that the invasion was a breaking point in the history of the Cold War. The specter of Soviet tanks unleashed by the Kremlin to crush a mild reform effort demonstrated to millions of Russians that communism was unimprovable and that it would have to be rejected for people to regain their right to pursue happiness.” — IGOR LUKES, Boston University

The Investigator: Demons of the Balkan War by Vladimír Dzuro

A Talk and Book Launch

Tuesday, October 29, 2019, at 6:30 pm
Bohemian National Hall, 3rd fl.

Moderated by Christopher Harwood

Special guests
Ivana Hrdlicková, President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
Larry D. Johnson, Former UN Assistant-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs

Readings Maxwell Zener

Music Samuel R. Saffery

A riveting true story of finding justice for the people of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Vladimír Dzuro worked as a criminal investigator at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Prague and later at the National Central Bureau (NCB) of Interpol in Prague. In 1994, Vladimír joined the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in the former Yugoslavia and in April 1995, he began a ten-year stint as an investigator with the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. Currently, Vladimír works as Chief of the New York Headquarters Office at the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services. He earned his M.A. in Investigation Management from Charles Sturt University in Australia. The Registrar of the ICTY awarded him with the International Justice Medal. Vladimir is the author of The Investigator: Demons of the Balkan War and Justice, published in Prague by Grada Publishing in 2017. The book became a bestseller and is currently in its second reprint. The English version of The Investigator will be published in October 2019 in the United States. https://warcrimeinvestigator.com/
SNAP Judgment Podcast https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/operation-little-flower

Limited seating.

Suggested donation: $5.00
A light refreshment will follow the program.

This event is organized by the Consulate General of the Czech Republic New York and the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the UN in New York

Citizen Sis: From Maršov to Leopoldov via Bulgaria 🗓

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at 7 pm
Bohemian National Hall, cinema
321 E 73 St, New York City

Screening of a 2019 documentary film about a Czech journalist and a hero of Bulgaria, Vladimír Sís (1889-1958)


Vladimír Sís was a Czech patriot, journalist, and writer. At age 23, he sent his reports from the frontline of the Balkan War (1912-1913) as a correspondent for the Národní Listy newspaper in Prague. He became an important voice for the Czech national independence movement and the Bulgarian cause.Persecuted by the Austro-Hungarian regime, arrested by the Nazis, he was killed in the Leopoldov prison during the 1950’s communist purges in Czechoslovakia. In 1998, he was posthumously awarded the Order of T. G. Masaryk by president Václav Havel.

The film explores the European and the Czech history of the first half of the 20th century: The Balkan Wars from 1912-13, the T.G.Masaryk’s “MAFFIE” organization (1914), the World Wars, First and Second Czech Resistance – as Vladimír Sís participated directly and actively in all those events. The film was shot in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the Balkans and features Bulgarian and Czech researchers and close relatives of Vladimír Sís.

Gospodin Nedelchev, PhD, is an award-winning Bulgarian film director, artist, animator, and screenwriter of more than forty animated and documentary films. As an Associate Professor, he teaches Animation Directing at the National Academy for Theater and Film Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria, and is a member of the Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers and the Union of Bulgarian Journalists.

A light reception and continued discussion followed the screening and Q&A with Mr. Gospodin Nedelchev. Stand by for video on our SVU NY You Tube Channel.


Organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter, and the Bulgarian History Club in New York.

A WITNESS TO HISTORY: An Evening with Zuzana Justman

Mon, November 25, 2019 at 7:00 pm
at Bohemian National Hal,cinema
321 E 73 St, New York City

The Czech-American Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and writer discussed her life and three of her major films Voices of the Children (1996), A Trial in Prague (2000), and Czech Women: Now We Are Free (1993)

Moderated by Helena Fisera and Christopher Harwood
PHOTOS on our Face Book Page
The event was organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter in cooperation with the Society for History of Czech and Slovak Jews (SHCSJ).


Remembering August 68 – Before and After

Tuesday, August 13 at 7pm
Bohemian National Hall, 3rd fl.

Annual commemoration of the fateful events in August 21, 1968 in Czechoslovakia. Films and Discussion.

Czechoslovakia: Portrait of a Tragedy

Directed by David Tucker (1968, 47min.)
A documentary film shot over six weeks before the Soviet-led invasion. It includes interviews with protagonists of the Prague Spring and people on the street, reflecting an overall sense of possibility and optimism rather than worries about suppression that followed a few months later. The film was recently restored by The Wende Museum, thanks to the late Rudolf Perina, a consultant and interpreter during the filming who later became a US diplomat specialized in European East-West relations.

Spýtaj sa vašich 68 (Ask at Home 68)
Directed by Barbora Bereznáková (2018, 28min.)
This documentary film is a result of an interactive project presenting memories of the events of August 21, 1968, that ordinary people across Slovakia, and Slovaks abroad, shared on a website. The film was broadcast on Slovak TV on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the invasion and projected simultaneously in public spaces in Bratislava, Banská Štiavnica, Košice, Zvolen, and Spišská Nová Ves.

or email: newyork@svu2000.org

Suggested donation $5.00
Light refreshment

Organized in cooperation with the Consulate General of the Czech Republic, Consulate General of the Slovak Republic and The Wende Museum.


Film and Discussion: TIBOR SPITZ

Wednesday, JUNE 19, 2019 at 7pm
Bohemian National Hall, 3rd fl.
321 E 73 St, New York

Tibor Spitz
Life + Art + Science
A screening of a documentary film Tibor Spitz (2015, 42 min, in Slovak with English subtitles) presenting a unique Slovak American artist and scientist.

Born in Dolný Kubín in 1929, he survived the Holocaust as a teenager. Later, he earned his PhD in chemistry. After escaping from communist Czechoslovakia in 1968, he worked as a scientist and engineer in glass, ceramic and hi-tech industry. He is an inventor, author of many patents and publications, motivational lecturer, and internationally published artist.
Mr. Spitz will be present for Q&A.

RSVP: newyork@svu2000.org
Suggested donation $5.00
Light refreshments

In cooperation with the Slovak Consulate General in New York.

1990s Prague Through American Eyes

Tuesday, MAY 21 at 7 pm

Bohemian National Hall
3rd fl
321 E 73 St, NYC

Curated and moderated by Vera Dvorak.

PHOTOS on SVU NY Facebook

André Fenton is a professor of neuroscience at New York University. He heads the Neurobiology of Cognition Laboratory, which studies how the brain stores experience as memories. Among other, the lab investigates the mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia, intellectual disability, and autism. It uses various tools, including genetics and molecular biology, recording of the brain’s electrical activities, neural imaging, quantitative behavioral studies of animals, and computer models. André first came to Prague from Canada, in early 1991 to work in the Institute of Physiology and to teach English at the Czech Technical University. He was inspired to become a scientist and after one and a half years, he left Prague for graduate school in New York. In 1997, he returned, this time as a visiting scholar to direct the Laboratory of Neurophysiology of Memory at the Czech Academy of Sciences. He lived in Prague intermittently until 2005. During his stay, he co-founded a neurodiagnostic company, BioSignal Group, of which he is still the President. He is now starting new collaborations with Prague scientists.

Maura Griffin is the founder and CEO of Blue Spark Financial, an investment advisory firm focused on helping women in life transitions such as divorce, widowhood, or retirement. She graduated with a B.A. in literature from Georgetown University and earned her M.B.A. at Columbia University. She splits her time between Manhattan and the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Maura started her career as a journalist, which led her to Prague. She worked at the Prague Post as a reporter in 1992 after working at the Associated Press in the US. In 1993, along with four friends, Maura started The Globe Bookstore & Coffeehouse – which is still running now. She was married and had her son Calvin in Prague. Maura and Calvin moved back to the States in 1996.

Rob Lewis is a veteran speechwriter and strategic communications advisor. He currently writes for the Chairman and CEO of IBM. As Assistant Commissioner at the NYPD from 2002-2014, he served as chief speechwriter to two New York City Police Commissioners. He was also Special Advisor and chief speechwriter to the Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service in Washington, D.C. from 1999-2002. Prior to these roles, he was External Relations Manager at Fiat U.S.A. and Special Assistant to U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In 1993, while pursuing his master’s degree at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Rob completed a summer internship at the U.S. Embassy in Prague. He was assigned to the Economics Section, where he researched and wrote diplomatic cables on various economic issues related to the Czech Republic’s post-communist transition, including the so-called voucher privatization. This experience served as the basis for a thesis paper he subsequently wrote on challenges to the privatization of large Czech industries.
Thank you, Eva Giannone, for her amazing pastries! https://www.facebook.com/cookiesbyevanyc/

Jan Cmejla Piano Recital – US Debut!

Monday, MARCH 15, 2019 at 7 pm
Bohemian National Hall,
321 E 73rd St, New York City

Standing ovations for the fifteen-year old piano prodigy from Prague after his brilliant performance of works by Beethoven, Chopin, Novák and Rachmaninov.

PHOTOS by (c) Suzanna Halsey

PROGRAM (Subject to a change)
Beethoven: Sonata in A major op. 2 no. 2
Allegro vivace
Largo appassionato
Scherzo: Allegretto
Rondo: Grazioso
Chopin: Waltz in A-flat major op. 34 no. 1
Nocturne C-sharp Minor, op. Posth
Ballade in F major no. 2 op. 38
Novák Memories: Inquietto
Rachmaninov Preludes op. 23 no. 4, 5

VIDEO from his repeat performance on March 17 at the Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center

Jan Cmejla (born in 2003) has played the piano since the age of six and studied composition since the age of eight. Since 2018, he has been studying at the Prague Conservatory under Prof. Eva Boguniová. Jan is a winner of some of the most acclaimed piano competitions and performed in prestigious concert halls at home and abroad. His numerous successes include the top prize at the 2014 AMADEUS international competition for pianists under 11 years old; being one of ten participants selected from 300 candidates from 49 countries for the prestigious Allianz Junior Music Camp 2015 in Vienna, organized by Lang Lang International Music Foundation; and the 1st prize at the 2018 International Competition Virtuosi per Musica di Pianoforte. In 2019, he also added the first place at the Concertino Praga international music competition for young talented musicians.

In cooperation with the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York and the Czech Embassy in Washington, DC and with support of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA)

The 6-Minute Challenge, Vol.10!

Wednesday, MARCH 27 at 7pm
Bohemian National Hall, 3rd.floor
321 E 73 St. NYC

Czech and Slovak artists, professionals, students, and scholars are challenged to introduce the subject of their project, research or studies in a short presentation limited to six minutes. In English.



Moderated by Christopher Harwood, Ph.D., Columbia University

Presenters: Jakub Lajmon (aerospace software), Martin Rybár (nuclear physics), Silvia Fishbaum (Jewish history), Jan Remšík (oncology), Maya Harsaniová (author Exit Havana), Katerina Vráblíková (social studies), Hana Císarová Shannon (visual arts), and and Branislav “Brano” Brinarský (music). (music).

Organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, New York Chapter in cooperation with the Consulate General of the Slovak Republic

LOST in AMERICA – Avant-garde writer Milada Souckova (1899-1983)

A talk by Zuzana Rihova.
With reading by Alex Zucker, translator

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 7 pm


Lost in America

The talk presented the unique Czech avant-garde writer Milada Souckova and her journey from a natural sciences scholar, to a young writer married to modernist painter Zdenek Rykr, participating actively in the vibrant literary scene in 1930s Prague, to her émigré life in the USA. Ríhová will focus on Soucková’s poetry as a dialog with American poets, especially with T. S. Eliot.

Milada Soucková was a friend of the linguist Roman Jacobson and the writer Vladislav Vancura. After WWII, she served as a Czechoslovak cultural attaché in New York. After the Communist coup of 1948, she resigned and emigrated to the USA. Her fate was shared by many other émigré Czech writers who struggled to find an audience in their adopted country. Soucková taught Czech literature at American universities (Berkeley and Harvard) but she remained unknown as a writer, partly, because she did not write in English. She missed her homeland and its culture. “Don’t forget about me” is a recurring phrase in letters to her friends in Prague.

Zuzana Ríhová, Ph.D., is currently a visiting scholar at Columbia University. In the past, she worked at the Institute of Czech Literature of the Czech Academy of Sciences and served as Head of the Czech Department at Oxford University (2014 – 2017.) In her research, she focuses on the Czech Avant-garde and Modernism in the European context. In her monograph Amidst the Crowd (2016), she examines the reception of French Unanimism in Czech literature and the relationship between the inter-war Russian and Czech Avant-garde. In her study of Milada Soucková’s work, she focuses on how it relates to Anglo-American modernism. She co-published a collection of Soucková’s correspondence with Roman Jakobson and Jindrich Chalupecký. ?íhová is also the author of a poetry collection I Let You into My House (2016) and a novel Evicka ( 2018. )

Alex Zucker is a translator of Czech literature. He is working on a translation of the Milada Soucková poem Mluvící pásmo.

Czech Women Filmmakers in New York

Thursday, MARCH 7, 2019 at 7pm


A screening of award-winning short films made by three brilliant Czech women filmmakers living in New York City:
Marie Dvoráková, Bára Jíchová Tyson and Zuzka Kurtz. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.

MARIE DVORÁKOVÁ , director and writer, born in Jablonec nad Nisou, is a graduate of the Prague Film School, (FAMU) and holds a master’s degree in film directing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her narrative and documentary shorts have screened and received awards at different film festivals worldwide. She currently serves as director of programming at the Czech Center in New York. She is the winner of the Student Oscar prize (with the short film Who’s Who in Mycology, 2017 – presented tonight) being just the second Czech to win it after Jan Sverák in 1989. She is also the recipient of the 2011 Spike Lee Production Fund Award. In 2010, she received the 16th Annual Student Filmmaker Award by the Director’s Guild of America (Steenbeckstory), and grants from the Sloan Film Production and the Jerome Foundation. Her work was shortlisted for the AICP Awards in New York and for the 2010 Cannes Young Director Award. Her current project is a documentary film about NY- based Czech photographer Marie Tomanova.

BÁRA JÍCHOVÁ TYSON is a filmmaker, photographer and artist from Ceské Budejovice in the Czech Republic. She is a 2016 recipient of The MacDowell Colony fellowship. Her short documentary film The Hatch House (presented tonight) was selected for the 2016 ADFF in NYC and the American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs in 2016. She has been exhibiting her 2D work and photography in solo and group shows including at the Greene Naftali Gallery, Salon Ciel, BBLA and Pocket Utopia. Bara was the art director of Now, Forager, a feature film by J. Cortlund and J. Halperin, which was a nominated for a Gotham Independent Film Award in 2012. Her most recent film Organ Player, was selected for Sundance Film Festival 2018. She has just finished her first feature film Talking About Adultery. The film was invited to 2016 DocuWork-In-Progress Lab at DCTV in NYC and is currently being considered by major documentary film festivals.

ZUZKA KURTZ is a Prague born multi-media artist and filmmaker residing in NYC. She wrote and directed the Off-Broadway dance and puppetry performance My Inner Sole, 2010 and a collection of nine short films 7 Ways 2 Skin a Cat, 2013, screened at Anthology Film Archives in NYC. Her first short documentary Blade #1, shot in Brooklyn NY and produced in collaboration with Geoffrey Hug, was awarded the Best Short Documentary at The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, NYLA International Film Festival, Spotlight Film Awards and at the Atlanta DocuFest, and screened internationally at a variety of film festivals and PBS. Zuzka produced and directed mini shorts Eat Something and The Seamstress, 2015, both winners of Best Shorts at the Int’l Film Festivals in Milan and Rome, and Multi Species Family, 2016. Currently, she is producing a four-year documentary film The Hudson Project Documentary with Geoff Hug, to be released in 2021.

Lukas Sommer Recital


Lukáš Sommer, Czech composer and guitarist, is a busy rising star of the European musical scene. His compositions are performed at concerts and music festivals in Europe and include operas for children. Sommer is the 2017 winner of the Krzysztof Penderecki Composer Competition Award of Concorso Novaro in Florence. The Prague Spring has commissioned him with a composition for its 2019 season. His latest project is an operatic comics ?asoplet presenting Czech history.
In New York, Sommer will perform his original guitar compositions, before his concert on January 16 at the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.


Suggested donation: $10

In cooperation with the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York
Our events are made possible by the support of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA).