Dvořák Collection Dvořák Collection

The Dvořák Collection concert series traditionally represents the greatest combination of both performing and composing excellence. The series makes all works by Antonín Dvořák gradually come to life regardless of how generally popular they are, and what is more, they very often do so in the hall in which the composer himself operated and which carries his name today. Rudolfinum’s Dvořák Hall has already given audiences the chance to enjoy some of the Czech genius’s lesser-played symphonies, which were brilliantly performed. Audiences have also witnessed a complete production of the full-length cantata Saint Ludmila, which is normally performed in an extensively abridged version. They have also been able to listen to The American Flag – Dvořák’s only piece written to fit a text in originally written in English.

This year’s festival carries on with the Maestro’s quartet music, whose performance will be overseen by the Pavel Haas Quartet, which has taken up the role of curator. This excellent domestic ensemble has divided all fourteen numbered pieces of music and a few others among its colleagues, both in this country and those from abroad. Last year, for instance, a performance of String Quartet No. 4 was put on, which a young Dvořák composed by drawing inspiration from the passionate, romantic world of Franz Liszt. The famous ‘American’ Quartet – one of Dvořák’s most celebrated musical pieces of all times – was performed as well. This year will also see, among other things, a performance of String Quartet No. 10, a beautiful masterpiece called ‘Slavonic’, as well as lesser-played compositions written during the composer’s early years.


Chamber Series Chamber Series

While orchestras give the festival its great grandeur, chamber ensembles are its source of inner light. This is especially true for string quartets, which are currently the focus of Dvořák Prague. The vast majority of musicians would agree that this is a regal group discipline. Members of the best ensembles often have such strong personal ties with one another that their quartet life is sometimes dubbed ‘a marriage of four people’.

The string quartets that are set to play at the festival this year are undeniably among those whose very presence guarantees a successful performance. Their quality will be assured by the Pavel Haas Quartet, an ensemble that has taken up the role of curator overseeing the Dvořák Collection series. The series is part of a three-year cycle that began last year and is closely connected with the Chamber Series. However, all participating ensembles have been given, to some extent, a free hand when putting together their programmes. They will thus play compositions with which they have a close relationship and which they perform with true enthusiasm.

While last year’s Chamber Series was purely made up of quartets, this year’s Chamber Series will be more diverse thanks to contributions from guests who will help transform the quartets into larger format ensembles: The Haas Quartet will become a quintet with Anastasia Kobekina and her cello, while violist Vladimír Bukač will join the Zemlinsky Quartet. The Sedláček Quartet and the Belcea Quartet are set to perform with pianists Matouš Zukal and Bertrand Chamayou. Mezzo-soprano Markéta Cukrová and actor Daniel Bambas will enrich the concert performed by the Bennewitz Quartet with a vocal and spoken word performance, respectively. The Schumann Quartet will perform together with clarinettist Sharon Kam, who enchanted the festival audience as curator of the Chamber Series in 2018.


Brahms 190 Brahms 190

Akin to Ariadne’s thread that led the heroic Theseus out of the Cretan Labyrinth, the audiences at Dvořák Prague will follow Brahms’s imaginary string winding through this year’s entire festival. Johannes Brahms, one of the most celebrated composers in music history, would have been 190 years old this year. Being dedicated to Antonín Dvořák, the festival simply cannot ignore the anniversary of the composer’s contemporary, friend and, in a way, rival, who helped Dvořák achieve global renown by recommending him to Simrock, an influential music publisher. If only all rivals always treated each other with such respect. We will therefore celebrate this German musical genius with the Brahms 190 concert series.

For many people, Dvořák symbolises natural musicianship and musicality that is a gift from nature. By contrast, Brahms is often seen as a reserved composer who is looking down upon the world from the musical Olympus with unwavering seriousness. However, both composers have, to some extent, fallen victim to a superficial judgment. Under Dvořák’s endless melodic invention and a predominantly positive feel are hidden heaps of musical intelligence and refined links in his musical scores. The imaginativeness Brahms applied to his musical works knows no bounds either, and his train of thought is so stirring that one can easily forget where it was actually began. Both composers were equally skilled in their refined ability to marry the musical achievements of their time with older forms.

The Brahms 190 series is a great opportunity to listen to music written by these two friends and excellent composers in close proximity. From big compositions written for the choir and orchestra to the crystalline beauty of chamber music.


World-Class Orchestras World-Class Orchestras

The first week of Dvořák Prague will be enhanced with a ‘wave’ of international orchestras. Zurich’s Tonhalle-Orchester, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic represent a selection of some of the best there are on the current music scene.

The Zurich Orchestra and its chief conductor Paavo Järvi will open the festival with the traditional Cello Concerto and the New World Symphony by Antonín Dvořák, followed by a programme of music by Beethoven and Bruckner the next day. However, they will also inconspicuously incorporate Johannes Brahms’s music and dedicate a large part of the World Orchestra series to the 190th anniversary of the composer’s birth. It was none other than Brahms himself who almost 130 years ago personally inaugurated the Tonhalle, which has been the seat of Zurich’s brilliant orchestra to this day.

The festival’s audiences will also be treated to a double performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lahav Shani. The 34-year-old conductor succeeded the legendary chief conductor Zubin Mehta, who passed on his post to Lahav Shani in 2020 – even though only a year before that, Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra gave a guest performance at Dvořák Prague. Moreover, the two evenings packed with Brahms’s music, with one diversion to Rachmaninoff, will see violinist Gil Shaham and cellist Kian Soltani return to the festival.

Such a surfeit of musical potential can only be exceeded by an imaginary return to the city where Brahms spent most of his life. The city that Brahms called home is also home to the Vienna Philharmonic, which is set to come to Prague joined by pianist Igor Levit and conductor Jakub Hrůša. It feels as if he wanted to pass the metaphorical baton on to the hometown Czech Philharmonic, which will provide orchestral splendour during the second week of the festival.


Czech Philharmonic Czech Philharmonic

It is as beautiful as it is logical that the regular resident ensemble of the festival is an orchestra that performed its first concert under the baton of Antonín Dvořák. The Czech Philharmonic is one of the fundamental features of the history of Czech music and has been representing our country’s performing tradition since the very beginning of the festival.

This year, however, the Philharmonic will appear in a rather different form than concert-goers with season tickets have typically seen: its three diametrically different programmes will be presented by the orchestra illuminated by a different light each time. The festival’s repertoire will reflect the anniversary of Brahms’s birth, commemorate two anniversaries of the great Russian Romantic Sergei Rachmaninoff, and showcase the art of performing Baroque and Classicist music. The orchestra will appear together with the Prague Philharmonic Choir – the ensembles will jointly perform Brahms’s monumental German Requiem under the baton of Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo. Pianist Boris Giltburg and the main guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, Tomáš Netopil, will meet in front of the orchestra to perform Rachmaninoff’s music. In its third performance of the festival, the orchestra will follow the lead of pianist Sir András Schiff, who was a resident musician of Dvořák Prague in 2021. Before he left, the phenomenal pianist expressed his wish to return to Prague during the year in which he will celebrate his 70th birthday. His wish was granted to him by Dvořák Prague and the Czech Philharmonic.


Opera in Concert Opera in Concert

The Opera in Concert programme series is a popular festival item although it is not scheduled every season. This year, it will present a survey of Czech operas. The richly varied programme will serve as something of a foretaste of the Year of Czech Music, which we will be celebrating in 2024. Kateřina Kněžíková and her husband Adam Plachetka in collaboration with the conductor Robert Jindra and the Orchestra of the National Theatre have selected arias for which they have a personal affinity. Besides a sampling of music from Dvořák’s operas, there will also be performances of less frequently heard works by composers who joined with Antonín Dvořák in shaping Czech opera history.

In the past, Opera in Concert has presented some of Dvořák’s early operas (Alfred in 2016, King and Collier in 2019). Last year, on the other hand, the festival witnessed a brilliant concert performance of the composer’s most famous opera, Rusalka, with the Czech Philharmonic, the conductor Semyon Bychkov, and the soprano Asmik Grigorian in the title role.


For the Future For the Future

‘In autumn’s hazel shrubs, love no longer gives glory,’ laments Terinka in Dvořák’s opera The Jacobin. Although this may not be true for music, it is still best to start with music as early as possible. The For the Future concert series is open to all hard-working, talented musicians who are not afraid to join competitions and perform on a big festival stage.

Concertino Praga has been part of this series since 2020. After joining forces with the Academy of Classical Music, this traditional radio competition has caught a fresh breath of life. Winners are now chosen by a prestigious international panel during live performances in front of audiences in halls.

This year, the concert series for young talents will begin in Bořislavka on Thursday, 14 September in the early evening. The following day will see the competition’s final-round concert in the Chamber Music category held in St Agnes Convent, and on Saturday, 16 September, we will witness the final round of soloists competing in Rudolfinum’s Dvořák Hall. The most successful candidates in this category will perform there accompanied by the Prague Radio Symphonic Orchestra in front of an audience and a distinguished panel of judges.

The young hopefuls of chamber and orchestral music will be presented by cellist Tomáš Jamník, the Head of Arts at the Czech Chamber Music Academy, on 17 September. He has invited violinist Josef Špaček and pianist Roman Rabinovich to take part in a joint performance. Scholarship holders from the Chamber Music Academy and the Villa Musica Foundation in Rheinland-Pfalz will receive a lot of attention as representatives of the upcoming generation of musicians. Together with their mentors, i.e. Tomáš Jamník, Josef Špaček and Roman Rabinovich, they will treat the audience to a programme that includes a varied combination of chamber and orchestral music with concertante elements.

The For the Future series will conclude with Italian pianist Giuseppe Guarrera’s debut at the festival on 20 September. He is no longer just a talented youngster, but a top representative of the next generation of musicians.

Let’s not forget that for the past three years, the world premieres of works commissioned by the Dvořák Prague festival have been part of the For the Future series. This year will see contributions from composers Jiří Gemrot and Jan Ryant Dřízal. 


Soirée at the Bořislavka Centre Soirée at the Bořislavka Centre

Who would not like to be able to just pop in to a concert – perhaps right after work, with no stress involved and no need to get changed at home. Last year, Dvořák Prague began to hold a series of informal events in the foyer of the Bořislavka shopping and administration centre. Performances start in the late afternoon and most performers are full of youthful energy. Furthermore, their performances are not solely for the enjoyment of their audiences, but they are also helping their peers. The proceeds from the entrance fee donations go to the funding of scholarship holders at the Karel Komárek Family Foundation, which has its seat in Bořislavka. In doing so, Dvořák Prague and the Academy of Classical Music are strengthening ties with their principal patron in the most natural manner, i.e. through music.

After last year’s successful performances given by Kristian Mráček, David Pěruška, Veronika Jaklová, Klára Gibišová, Magdalena Watzko and the Kukal Quartet, this year will see Bořislavka host performances by the PBtet-Prague Brass quintet, pianist Jan Schulmeister, cellist Adam Klánský, whose artistic partner will be his father Ivan Klánský, a holder of the Antonín Dvořák Prize, and the semi-finalists of the Concertino Praga competition that has been jointly run by the Academy of Classical Music, or rather Dvořák Prague, and Czech Radio since 2020.


Academic Series Academic Series

A good thing can sometimes be born out of a lucky coincidence; however, in order for it to successfully continue, it needs a ‘motor’. The motor of our new programme series, the Academic Series, is the rector of the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague, Professor Vojtěch Petráček. Thanks to his initiative and the support received from other rectors of universities and higher education institutions in Prague, Dvořák Prague can now use the Ceremonial Hall of the Czech Technical University in Prague – Bethlehem Chapel – as a venue for the festival’s concerts. A common wish of Dvořák Prague, the CTU and other institutions is to pique the interest of both students and educators and encourage them to attend classical music concerts.

The Bethlehem Chapel, which holds a unique place in the history of the Czech nation, will successively host four of the festival’s concerts. The first concert, held as part of the festival’s Family Day on 17 September, will feature the Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra. Italian pianist Giuseppe Guarrera is set to make his debut at the festival on 20 September. We can look forward to seeing the New European Strings Orchestra with violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky and pianist Jan Bartoš on 23 September. The 2023 Academic Series will conclude with the renowned Schumann Quartet and clarinettist Sharon Kam, who enchanted the festival’s audience as curator of the Chamber Series in 2018.


Dvořák Prague Family Day Dvořák Prague Family Day

Family Day at the Dvořák Prague Festival is a day for sharing the joy of music and for fun and games for children and their parents.




On the Trail of Dvořák On the Trail of Dvořák

This year’s traditional festival overture On the Trail of Antonín Dvořák is taking us to Olomouc. As usual, the festival musicologist Dr David Beveridge will supplement the programme with expert commentary.

For the devoted fans of Antonína Dvořák who gather for events of the Club of Friends of the Dvořák Prague Festival.