Programme

Dvořák Collection Dvořák Collection

The Dvořák Collection concert series systematically surveys the life’s work of Dvořák. In recent years, it has presented all of his symphonies, symphonic poems, works for choir and orchestra, and last year his concertos. This year for the first time, we will be focusing on Dvořák’s chamber music and solo works, and in particular on works in which piano plays a major role. Dvořák’s development as a composer will be documented in practice by Lukáš Vondráček and his friends in a performance of his Piano Quartet No. 1 in D Major and Piano Quartet No. 2 in E Flat Major. The artistic supervisor for the performance of Dvořák’s complete works for piano solo and for piano four hands, which are unjustly neglected by most pianists, will be Ivo Kahánek, whose recent recording of Dvořák’s Piano Concerto has been a global success and won a prestigious prize from the BBC Music Magazine.

back

Chamber Series Chamber Series

“It is more natural for me to play than to speak,” declared the pianist Lukáš Vondráček in an interview for the journal Respekt. He will be the curator of the Chamber Series at this year’s festival, which overlaps naturally with the Dvořák Collection series. The already meteoric rise of Mr. Vondráček’s career gained intensity in 2016 with his triumph at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. At the centre of attention will be Vondráček’s chamber ensemble, which will perform Dvořák’s two piano quartets, and he will also appear with the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. Joining him in the chamber ensemble of a piano quartet are the violinist Josef Špaček, the violists Pavel Nikl and Jakub Fišer, and the cellist Tomáš Jamník.

back

Czech Philharmonic Czech Philharmonic

The Czech Philharmonic has been the orchestra-in-residence since the very beginnings of the Dvořák Prague Festival. The orchestra will follow up on last year’s performances of works by Dvořák’s close artistic friend Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and will turn its attention to a composer who was perhaps the closest of all to Dvořák – his pupil and son-in-law Josef Suk. At this year’s Dvořák Prague Festival, we will hear not only Suk’s Asrael, but also his Symphony No. 1 in E Major. Jakub Hrůša, an avid promoter of Suk’s legacy, will conduct the performances. The festival opens with Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the principal cellist of the Czech Philharmonic Václav Petr as soloist and the New World Symphony under the baton of the orchestra’s chief conductor Semyon Bychkov. The concert then concludes with a performance of Dvořák’s celebratory cantata Te Deum under the baton of Petr Altrichter.

back

For the Future For the Future

The new programme series For the Future encompasses several projects focusing on education and support of young artists. For the first time this year, the festival will host a concert as the final round of the competition Concertino Praga (performers up to age 15 or 16), a concert of the Dvořák Prague Youth Philharmonic (with players 15 to 24 years old), and the traditional introduction of a truly promising performer making his or her Prague debut (professional artists up to age 30). A special evening will even show the audience the process of creating a first-rate interpretation with a master musician looking on. The protagonist this season will be the important Czech violinist and teacher Václav Hudeček as mentor of three young violinists. This year’s Premiere event will also present performances of music by prominent contemporary composers, Jan Kučera and Ondřej Brousek.

back

Recital Recital

The piano music of Antonín Dvořák flows through this year’s Dvořák Prague Festival like a meandering stream. The performances are part of the Dvořák Collection and of the Chamber Series, but the highpoints will be the recitals of Ivo Kahánek and of the Ardašev Piano Duo. These recitals, presented in close succession, clearly show the diversity of Dvořák’s piano music. With Dvořák, solo piano seems alternate between the household instrument of the bourgeois and a means of expression of intimate feelings. Poetic Moods, with which Ivo Kahánek begins his recital, is proof of how a treasure can be created even from smaller compositions. The cycle of thirteen pieces forms a lovely whole that reveals its beauty only in a complete performance – although each of the pieces is capable of standing alone. Together, however, they create the image of ideas that wander freely through the inviting, changeable landscape of the imagination. Dvořák’s two sets of Slavonic Dances have become well known as a cycle of orchestral pieces, although he originally composed them for piano four-hands. It is in this form that the superb Ardašev Piano Duo will be performing them.

back

Vivat Beethoven! Vivat Beethoven!

In December, a quarter of a millennium shall have passed since the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. This year, we have included the music of one of the greatest composers of all time in our programming as an essential feature of the musical calendar. In the course of the festival, that current will emerge in the form of major symphonic, vocal, and chamber works. At the festival, we will be hearing his monumental Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (“Choral’) with Tomáš Netopil leading the Dvořák Prague Youth Philharmonic. Beethoven’s instrumental concertos are just as moving. His Violin Concerto and Fourth Piano Concerto will be heard at the festival under the baton of Jakub Hrůša. Serving as a sacred counterpart to the cosmopolitan Ode to Joy will be the Missa solemnis – a gigantic musical setting of the Catholic liturgy performed by Collegium 1704. Two of Beethoven’s string trios will be heard on two evenings (9 and 11 September) as part of the Chamber Series.

back

Family Programme Family Programme

Family Day, part of Dvořák's Prague International Music Festival, is an outdoor event combining music and entertainment. The event is designed to give attendees, young and old, an intimate feel for the great composer and the Prague in which he lived and created music. This year, the event takes place at the exquisite premises of St. Agnes Convent. Games, workshops and music will proceed an early-evening family concert at the Church of St. Francis. The program had been prepared at the direction of saxophonist/clarinetist Felix Slováček Jr.

back