Partners of The A. D. Prize

The Antonín Dvořák Prize

The institution that awards the Antonín Dvořák Prize has since 2009 been the Academy of Classical Music, the organizer
of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival. The mission of this project 
is the recognition of personalities who by their lifelong work or extraordinary artistic endeavours have in significant measure contributed to the propagation and popularization of Czech classical music in the Czech Republic and abroad. This significant award will be given in 2018 to Czech Philharmonic for its continuing contribution to Czech culture. The prize-winner will receive the traditional glass cello, which was created after a design by academic architect Jiří Pelcl of the Moser Glassworks Company. Last year was awarded world-acclaimed cellist Richard Novák. Winners in previous years have been Yo-Yo Ma, Jiří Bělohlávek, Josef Suk, Ivan Moravec, Jiří Kout, Ludmila Dvořáková, Jiří Kylián and Ivan Klánský.

The Antonín Dvořák Prize is a prestigious award conferred on individuals who have made a major contribution to promoting and popularizing Czech classical music through lifelong work or an extraordinary artistic achievement both in the Czech Republic and abroad. "Since its very first concert, the Czech Philharmonic has been closely tied to Antonín Dvořák. Like the composer, the orchestra has over the years gained prominence both in the Czech Republic and on the international scene. We have felt for quite some time that the Czech Philharmonic deserves to be rewarded for its achievements," said Robert Kolář, Director of the Academy of Classical Music.

 Symbolically, the award will be presented during celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. For this purpose, the Academy has chosen a prominent American cultural institution, the Kennedy Center in Washington, where the Czech Philharmonic will deliver a concert on 29 October 2018. "The orchestra was formed by the legendary conductor Václav Talich and later also by Rafael Kubelík during the First Republic period. It was at that time that the Czech Philharmonic joined the ranks of the world's most prominent music ensembles. At home, the orchestra contributed to cultivating the Czechoslovak culture. Abroad, it acted as a cultural ambassador of the then-young country. For the Czech Philharmonic, performing music written by Czech composers, including Dvořák and others, has always been an integral part of its mission. With that in mind, I'm pleased to deliver the award at a time when our homeland is celebrating such an in important anniversary," added Kolář. The United States has played an important role in the life of the most famous Czech music composer. Likewise, Dvořák has left a lasting footprint in American culture that can still be felt today.

Czech Philharmonic (2018)

The Czech Philharmonic is the best-known Czech orchestra and has for many years been the most widely acclaimed representative of Czech culture on the international scene. The beginnings of the ensemble's rich history are tied to Antonín Dvořák's life, as the composer conducted the Czech Philharmonic in its first concert on 4 January 1896. Although the Czech Philharmonic's repertoire includes a wide range of standard classical compositions, the orchestra is mainly sought for its outstanding ability to perform works by Czech composers, a tradition built by such first-class conductors as Talich, Kubelík, Ančerl, Neumann, and Bělohlávek. The orchestra has received numerous international awards for its recordings, the first of which was made as early as in 1929 and featured a performance of Bedřich Smetana's Má vlast (My Homeland) conducted by Václav Talich. In 2008, the prestigious Gramophone magazine placed the Czech Philharmonic among the world's 20 best orchestras. Starting in the 2018/19 season, the position of Chief Conductor and Musical Director is held by Semyon Bychkov, and the main guest conductors are Jakub Hrůša and Tomáš Netopil.

Ivan Klánský (2017)

Ivan Klánský is a Czech pianist and educator extraordinaire. He studied with Valentina Kameníková at the Prague Conservatory and with František Rauch at the Academy of Performing Arts. Already at the early stages of his artistic career, Klánský became the laureate of prestigious international competitions – Bolzano 1967, Napoli 1968, Leipzig 1968, Warsaw 1970, Barcelona 1970, Fort Worth 1973, and Santander 1976. He regularly performs in Europe, Asia, Australia, U.S.A., and South America, as the total number of perfomances he has given is now approaching the 5,000 mark. Klánský is a sought-after performer of chamber music. In this area, he has maintained a lasting partnership with the outstanding ensemble Guarneri Trio Prague. His performing activities are complemented by highly successful endeavors in the academic world. Since 1983, Klánský has taught at the Music Faculty of the Prague-based Academy of Performing Arts, where he was appointed Head of the Keyboard Instruments Department in 1997. He has been a professor at the Lucerne School of Music in Switzerland since 1991. In addition, he has given master classes in Dublin (1982–1986) and Bad Sulgau (since 1997). Critics and listeners alike value Klánský's performances for a fine balance between his virtuousic command of the instrument and intensive emotional experience.

Richard Novák (2016)

Richard Novák graduated from the conservatoire in Brno in 1955, and won honours at singing competitions in Toulouse in 1961 and the Dutch city of Hertogenbosch in 1962. Already in 1954 he was hired as a regular soloist with the State Theatre in Ostrava. Later he transferred to a permanent engagement with the Janáček Opera of Brno, where he had a major share in an era of that company that is highly praised today for its programming. Works by Czech composers in which he has performed lead roles include the complete operas of Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák's The Jacobin, The Devil and Kate, and Rusalka, Bohuslav Martinů's Comedy on the Bridge, The Voice of the Forest, Twice Alexander, Juliette, and The Greek Passion (singing Grigoris and Fotis in the Czech premiere), and Leoš Janáček's Káťa Kabanová (Dikoj), The Makropulos Affair (Kolenatý), and above all The Cunning Little Vixen (the Gamekeeper––his profile 'calling card' role in which, in 2004 in the Janáček Theatre, he celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the start of his career). He has also performed in works by Rossini, Mozart, Verdi, Prokofiev, and Alban Berg. As a guest star he has appeared in such venues as the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (singing Kolenatý in The Makropulos Affair) and the Salzburg Festival (From the House of the Dead under the baton of Claudio Abbado), as well as in Paris, Madrid, and Venice (The Cunning Little Vixen). Contemporary composers have prized his art highly and written many works directly for him. He is a master in performance of song cycles, and still frequently appears as soloist in large concert works with orchestra, having collaborated for many years with the Czech Philharmonic and Václav Neumann. Well known above all are his performances in Verdi's Requiem and Janáček's Glagolitic Mass, which he recorded respectively under the baton of Charles Mackerras for Supraphon and under Riccardo Chailly for Decca. In 2001 he won a Thalia Prize for life-long mastery, and five years ago he celebrated his eightieth birthday on the concert stage with a dazzling performance of Ivan in Dvořák's oratorio Saint Ludmila.

Yo-Yo Ma (2015)

The world-famous American cello soloist Yo-Yo-Ma has been a force on the international musical scene since the second half of the 1970s and today is ranked among the greatest living figures in classical music. He was born in Paris to Chinese parents, but studied in the United States––at the Juilliard School and at Harvard University. To competition prizes from his youth, over the course of years he added recognition for support of contemporary music, prestigious awards for social activities, and high acclaim for his artistic accomplishments including the National Medal of Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and numerous Grammy awards. He is one of those performers who continually seek new ways to address the public, who win listeners not only through their virtuosity, which is taken for granted, but through their spiritual depth. He has shared in nearly a hundred albums and divides his work equally among recitals, solo performances with orchestras, chamber playing, and projects with his fifteen-member ensemble Silk Road. Meanwhile he continually thinks about how best to approach the power of music such that it makes a substantial improvement in the quality of life of individuals, and how to make classical music accessible to people not only in major concert halls but directly where they live. 

Yo-Yo Ma performed in Prague for the first time in the spring of 1989 in a unique atmosphere of expected social changes, and his performance of Dvořák's Cello Concerto in B minor with the Czech Philharmonic under the baton of Václav Neumann was unforgettable. This year he will open the eighth year of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival with the same work under conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, recipient of the Antonín Dvořák Prize in 2014.

Jiří Bělohlávek (2014)

He is one of the most respected conductors in the world of music today, appreciated above all for his precision in preparing works for performance and for his responsible approach to the score. When conducting abroad he systematically programs relatively little-known Czech works and Czech composers; for example during his many years of successful work with the BBC Symphony Orchestra he repeatedly included works by Josef Suk and Bohuslav Martinů.

Upon assuming the post of chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic in 2012 one of his first initiatives was to launch a new complete recording of the symphonies of Dvořák for Decca. Bělohlávek also works as a teacher, serves as President of the Prague Spring International Music Festival, and is involved in a plan to build a modern concert hall in Prague. He holds the Order of the British Empire among many other prestigious honours.

Jiří Kylián (2013)

Jiří Kylián, born 21 March 1947 in Prague, began dancing at the age of nine in the ballet school of Prague’s National Theatre. In 1962 he was admitted to the Prague Conservatory. Today he is one of the most prominent figures on the dance scene worldwide.  After the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 Kylián emigrated, working with the Stuttgart Ballet and finally settling in Den Haag. It was not until sixteen years later that he first demonstrated his art in Prague. By that time he was director of the Nederlands Dans Theater, which he made famous all over the world with his choreographies. Alongside its main ensemble he founded a junior group called NDT 2, and the totally unique NDT 3 for dancers who are, as he says, ‘between forty and death’. In August 1999 he left the position of artistic director of the NDT, but he continued working with the ensemble as choreographer until December 2009.

Ludmila Dvořáková (2012)

Soprano Ludmila Dvorakova took over Antonin Dvořák Prize on 31 March 2012 in the Spanish Hall of Prague Castle. The evening was held under the auspices of President Václav Klaus.

To this day, the name and the remarkable voice of the native from Kolín excite enthusiasm among opera lovers, most of whom consider many of her interpretations unmatched. Ludmila Dvořáková’s genuine singing talent did not go unnoticed and she soon began studying at the Prague Conservatory. Her performances both at home and abroad during her studies had proven her to be predestined for a career of a theatre artist. For her first engagement, she joined the reputable opera company in Ostrava where she met her future husband Rudolf Vašata who was a conductor and a pupil of Václav Talich. Rudolf Vašata soon discovered that Ludmila’s debut role as Mařenka in Bedřich Smetana’s The Bartered Bride was obviously not perfectly suited to her and instead he entrusted her with the part of Katya in Leoš Janáček’s Katya Kabanova. The role of Katya allowed Ludmila Dvořáková to show her true potential and it was considered one of the highlights of the season, along with Rusalka, the premiere of which followed. During her engagement in Ostrava, Ludmila Dvořáková entered the realm of the international operatic repertoire with the role of Queen Elizabeth in Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlos.

Jiří Kout (2011)

Jiří Kout studied the organ and conducting. He was a conductor at the Plzeň Opera and the National Theatre. In 1978, he was appointed Chief Conductor of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, and he later became a conductor and Generalmusikdirektor in Saarbrücken. From 1990, he was also the first conductor of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin and he subsequently accepted the position of the General Music Director in Leipzig. Jiří Kout has appeared as a guest at most renowned music theatres, including the New York Metropolitan Opera. Since 2005, he has been the Music Director of the Prague Symphony Orchestra.    

Ivan Moravec (2010)

As one of the most prominent figures of contemporary Czech music interpretation, Ivan Moravec is featured in the voluminous “Great Pianists of the 20th Century” edition.

He has performed at practically all major music venues all around the world, as a soloist, he was invited to play with leading world orchestras and conductors, and the majority of his recordings received the highest-ranking awards and recognitions (MIDEM, Grand Prix du disque, etc.). His most valued recordings include works by Mozart, Chopin, and the impressionists (Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel). Ivan Moravec is a long-serving professor at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.

Josef Suk (2009)

Successfully continuing the legacy of his preeminent mentors, the grandson of composer Josef Suk became the Artistic Director and conductor of the Suk Chamber Orchestra in 1981.

His recordings for both domestic and international labels received a number of prestigious awards, including six Grand Prix du disque de l’Academie Charles Cros. He has sold more than a million copies so far. Aside from teaching activities, he is also the President of the Artistic Council of the Prague Spring International Music Festival. Josef Suk’s awards and recognitions include: the state decoration of the Czech Republic – the Medal of Merit of the First Degree (1999), the Antonín Dvořák World Prize awarded by the Masaryk Academy of Arts

(2001), the highest French order – Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur (2002) or the honorary doctorate by the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (2003).