BILLINGS – This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the end of Communism in Czechoslovakia.
The country split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.
Slovakian cello player Jozef Luptak spoke at Rocky Mountain College on April 2 and played at MSUB’s Cisel Hall on April 3.
“I do believe that music is this kind of powerful tool for our emotions and express our needs and sorrows,” Luptak said.
He lives in Slovakia, which was part of Czechoslovakia under a communist regime.
“The freedom of religion and speech and it was one of the first things we were longing for,” he said. “The whole fall of communism was for us like a dream. I was born in 1969 my father was active in the Protestant church and he was in jail. He spent in jail for his faith, one year. “
Luptak started playing the cello at the age of five.
“Two things were kind of big window to the kind of freedom,” Luptak said. “One was personal faith and the community we were living in and the other one was for me was music.”
In his concert in Billings, he performed with his mentor from the Royal Academy of Music in London, Robert Cohen.
“He’s also a very close friend and he’s really one of the top cellists in the world,” Luptak said. “So it’s very special moment always that we can communicate together through music and we can bring it to other people as well. “
“Freedom is one of the biggest value we have, so I am so thankful for it and I wouldn’t change it for a minute to go back to totality.”
Luptak lives with his family in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.
Masterlube owner Bill Simmons has put together a series of talks about the 1989 fall of communism in Czechoslovakia.
Luptak will return to Billings in the fall for more on the anniversary.
Reporting by David Jay for MTN News