Czech Philharmonic performs concert on floating stage

STORY: Spectators hopped on small boats, pedal boats, or massed on embankments and bridges to watch the concert marking the Czech Republic's presidency of the European Union.

The orchestra led by American conductor Semion Bychkov played Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' and a selection of symphonies created by Czech composers.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said the Czech composers had been the country's voice over the Iron Curtain.

“Today you will hear a selection of the music of Bedrich Smetana, Antonin Dvorak, and Leos Janacek, who belong to our well-known and most often played group of (Czech) music composers. These names were also our voices towards Europe in times when our country was closed in trapped in the Soviet bloc. We were hidden behind the iron curtain, we couldn’t decide about ourselves but our culture crossed the borders during these times. These times are luckily gone. We are now a firm part of free Europe."

The Czech Republic took over the EU's rotating presidency on July 1.