The Czech Philharmonic is one of the great orchestras of the world.
For over a century, the Czech Philharmonic has represented the pinnacle of Czech cultural achievement, delighting audiences across the globe with its warm, vibrant sound. Today, the orchestra is enjoying a renewed reputation as one of the most exciting ensembles on the world stage, performing with artists including Hélène Grimaud, Lang Lang, Janine Jansen, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Frank Peter Zimmermann, to name but a few. The Czech Philharmonic has also been joined by soloists Garrick Ohlsson, Frank Peter Zimmermann and Alisa Weilerstein in recording Antonín Dvořák’s complete symphonies and his three concertos, under the baton of Jiří Bělohlávek, the orchestra´s chief conductor, released in 2014 on the Decca label.
The Czech Philharmonic has a history of working with outstanding musicians. Dvořák himself conducted the orchestra in its debut performance on 4 January 1896 at the Rudolfinum in Prague, which is still home to its Prague concerts, and is now the centre for its Orchestral Academy. The Academy is just one of numerous successful education projects through which the Czech Philharmonic engages with new audiences, from young children, to university students and adults seeking to learn more about classical music.
The Czech Philharmonic’s live performance breathes a conviction and beneath-the-skin rapture that you won’t find in any other recording.
Other conductors in the orchestra’s history include Gustav Mahler, who conducted the Czech Philharmonic for the world premiere of his Symphony No. 7 in Prague, in 1908. The orchestra’s international reputation grew under the direction of Václav Talich, the energetic leadership of Rafael Kubelík helped steer the Czech Philharmonic through the difficult wartime years, and in the post-war era of Karel Ančerl it embarked on its busy and varied touring schedule. Today, the orchestra performs in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, including recent and forthcoming concerts at the Philharmonie in Berlin and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, as well as, in 2014, Carnegie Hall in New York and the NCPA in Beijing. Scheduled international appearances in 2015 and 2016 include three concerts at
the Musikverein in Vienna, one in London’s Royal Festival Hall, and one in the Viennese Konzerthaus.
Festival appearances include, in 2014, concerts at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh Festival. With its Chief Conductor, Jiří Bělohlávek, the Czech Philharmonic has also undertaken successful tours in Australia, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, and the UK.
The Czech Philharmonic is privileged to welcome many distinguished guest conductors, including recent and forthcoming collaborations with, among others, Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Robin Ticciati, and David Zinman.
The Czech Philharmonic has received numerous awards and nominations, including ten Grands Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles-Cros, five Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie française, several Cannes Classical Awards, a position in Gramophone’s Top 20 Best Orchestras in the World (2008), as well as nominations for Grammy and Gramophone Awards.
In a fitting tribute to its first conductor, the Czech Philharmonic has made nine new television programmes each of which features a full performance of one of Dvořák’s Nine Symphonies. The shows will be broadcast by Czech Television in 2014, and distributed internationally by UNITEL. The orchestra is also producing a Czech Television documentary (in association with Rhombus Media) about Dvořák, Jiří Bělohlávek, and the current work of the Czech Philharmonic itself. The documentary is directed by Barbara Willis Sweete, who has worked with the MET Opera, New York, among others, on a number of prestigious films.
Further exciting projects include the launch of a competition for composers, the winner of which will have their work performed by the Czech Philharmonic, and another competition for aspiring Czech soloists, the winner of which will perform with the orchestra. In seeking to foster new talent, the Czech Philharmonic continues its journey into the future, a future which looks brighter than ever.