American guitarist Gary Lucas has played a striking variety of music — from the avant-garde rock of Captain Beefheart to Chinese pop of the 1930s to collaborations with musical luminaries such as Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, John Zorn and David Johansen, as well as with his own band, Gods and Monsters. In his latest album, Lucas takes on the pantheon of Czech classical music with a modern touch thrown in.
What is referred to as modern music has never had an easy time in the Czech Republic. From Leoš Janáček’s interminable wait to see one of his operas performed on a Czech stage, to the harsh, reactionary protest against the 1926 Prague premiere of Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck,” the country’s musical center has been reluctant to embrace current musical trends. The Berg Orchestra is looking to change that.