United by Mahler - Open air concert celebrating the Year of Czech Music 2024

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 7

This concert aims to recreate the 1908 premiere of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 7. Although few structures from the Jubilee Exhibition remain today, the power of the music still lingers. It was here on the site of the Prague exhibition grounds that the successful premiere took place, performed under the baton of the composer himself by the combined orchestras of the Czech Philharmonic and the New German Theatre Orchestra of Prague. Following the post-war expulsion from Czechoslovakia, it was its former members who established the foundations of what is now known as the Bamberger Symphoniker in Bavaria.

The Jubilee Exhibition of the Trade and Business Chamber was an event that engrossed the Czech public and media from May to October of that year. The spectacular event showcased the Czech lands as the industrial heart of the Austrian Empire, bringing Czech culture to the fore. Alongside, the exhibition presented a fully constructed African village, inhabited by Indigenous people, and featured a slide that brought considerable amusement to the contemporary humour magazines. All that is gone. Nevertheless, the union of the Czech and German orchestras under the cosmopolitan Mahler’s conductorship reminds us that Prague can make a legitimate claim to the title of “the Heart of Europe”. Today, the Czech Philharmonic, the Bamberger Symphoniker, conductor Jakub Hrůša along with Mahler's Seventh rightfully take their place at the original premiere site for the upcoming open-air concert. They are also part of the Year of Czech Music in its broader sense, converging at this cultural hub in the heart of a united Europe.

Mahler’s 7th Symphony with L. BernsteinPlay

Information for visitors 

The open air concert will take place at the Prague Exhibition Grounds (Výstaviště Praha) in Holešovice in front of the Industrial Palace. There will be a easy-to-read map with navigation to each section and the festival information service will be available to all visitors. In the event of a visitor arriving less than 5 minutes before the start of the concert, the organiser reserves the right to seat them in the nearest available seat so as not to disrupt the start or progress of the concert. Detailed information about the venue, transport, restrictions, and rules can be found in the Q&A below. If you have any further questions or requests, please do not hesitate to contact us at vstupenky@dvorakovapraha.cz.

Frequently asked questions

  • Be seated by (see FAQ): 8.00 pm
  • End of concert: 9.40 pm


Czech Philharmonic

Nominated for Gramophone’s 2022 ‘Orchestra of the Year’, the 127-year-old Czech Philharmonic gave its first concert – an all Dvořák programme conducted by the composer himself - in the famed Rudolfinum Hall on 4 January 1896. The Orchestra is acknowledged for its definitive interpretations of Czech composers and recognised for its special relationship to the music of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler, who conducted the world première of his Symphony No. 7 with the Orchestra in 1908. It is currently recording the complete cycle of Mahler symphonies with Chief Conductor and Music Director, Semyon Bychkov for Pentatone.

The Czech Philharmonic’s extraordinary and proud history reflects both its location at the very heart of Europe and the Czech Republic’s turbulent political history, for which Smetana’s Má vlast (My Homeland) has become a potent symbol. 2024 is the Year of Czech Music, a major celebration of Czech music launched on the bicentenary of Smetana’s birth and celebrated across the Czech Republic every 10 years. The Czech Philharmonic will mark Smetana’s bicentenary with a series of concerts at the Smetana Litomyšl Festival including a rare concert performance of his opera, Libuše, conducted by Principal Guest Conductor, Jakub Hrůša.. Also in recognition of the Year of Czech Music, the Czech Philharmonic and Semyon Bychkov will take Dvořák’s final three symphonies, and the concertos for piano, cello and violin on tour to South Korea, Japan, Spain, Austria, Germany, Belgium and France.

Throughout the Orchestra’s history, two features have remained at its core: its championing of Czech composers and its belief in music’s power to change lives. From as early as the 1920’s Václav Talich (Chief Conductor 1919-1941) pioneered concerts for workers, young people and voluntary organisations, a philosophy which is equally vibrant today. 

Alongside the Czech Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra, Orchestral Academy and Jiří Bělohlávek Prize for young musicians, a comprehensive education strategy engages with more than 400 schools bringing all ages to the Rudolfinum – some travelling as long as four hours - to hear concerts and participate in workshops. An inspirational music and song programme led by singer Ida Kelarová for the extensive Romany communities within the Czech Republic and Slovakia has helped many socially excluded families to find a voice. In addition to an annual education exchange with the Royal Academy of Music in London, over lockdown the Orchestra gave seven benefit concerts which were live streamed in 4K to international audiences, raising funds for hospitals, charities, and healthcare professionals.

An early champion of the music of Martinů and Janáček, the works of Czech composers - both established and new - remain the lifeblood of the Orchestra. Instigated by Semyon Bychkov at the start of his tenure, nine Czech composers and five international composers - Detlev Glanert, Julian Anderson, Thomas Larcher, Bryce Dessner and Thierry Escaich – were commissioned to write for the Orchestra.

This season’s Artist in Residence is Sir András Schiff who will have the dual roles of pianist and conductor of the Orchestra at the Dvořák Prague Festival; will perform with the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra as part of the Czech Chamber Music Society’s season; and will join Semyon Bychkov for subscription concerts in Prague and on tour in Vienna, Hamburg and Munich. 

source: Czech Philharmonic

Czech Philharmonic

Bamberger Symphoniker

The Bamberg Symphony is the only orchestra of world renown that is not based in a vibrant metropolis. Almost 10% of the local population subscribe to one of the orchestra’s five concert series, in many cases for decades. However, the ‘magnetic effect’ of the orchestra resonates far and wide: the traveling orchestra has been performing its characteristically dark, sombre, and warm sounds and the musical echo of its hometown throughout the world since 1946. With almost 7,500 concerts in over 500 cities and 63 countries, they have become a cultural ambassador for Bavaria and all of Germany. They regularly tour the USA, South America, Japan, and China, for example, and are invited by renowned concert halls and festivals worldwide. The Bamberg Symphony therefore briefly describes their mission as Resonating Worldwide.

The circumstances of its founding make the Bamberg Symphony a mirror of German history: in 1946, former members of the German Philharmonic Orchestra Prague met colleagues in Bamberg who also had to flee their homeland as a result of the war and post-war turmoil. Starting with the orchestra in Prague, its lines of tradition can be traced back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Thus, the roots of the Bamberg Symphony reach back to Mahler and Mozart. Since 2004, the orchestra has held the honorary title of Bavarian State Philharmonic Orchestra, and is substantially financed by the Free State of Bavaria.

Four principal conductors, Joseph Keilberth, James Loughran, Horst Stein, and Jonathan Nott, as well as Artistic Director Eugen Jochum have led the orchestra since 1946. With Czech Jakub Hrůša, the fifth principal conductor since 2016, a bridge has again been built between the historical roots of the Bamberg Symphony and the present day, more than 75 years after the orchestra was founded. They regularly perform with their honorary conductors Herbert Blomstedt and Christoph Eschenbach, as well as with other leading conductors such as Manfred Honeck, Andris Nelsons and Lahav Shani.

A not insignificant contribution to increasing the worldwide high profile of the Bamberg Symphony is also attributed to the countless concert broadcasts in cooperation with Bavarian Radio (BR) as well as various other radio, record, and CD productions. In 2019, the orchestra broke new ground with a recording of Smetana's »Má vlast« using the direct-to-disc process, in which the recording is made directly onto a disc without digital post-processing, creating a unique sound experience. The recording of Mahler’s 4th Symphony (2020; accentus music) was awarded the Annual Prize of the German Record Critics at the end of 2021. This was followed by a recording of Anton Bruckner’s 4th Symphony in all three versions, united in one edition – a unique project to date, which won the International Classical Music Award 2022. Subsequently, the orchestra also received the ICMA 2023 for its recording of Hans Rott’s 1st Symphony (2022; Deutsche Grammophon). The Bamberg Symphony completed a cycle of four double CDs with symphonies by Brahms and Dvořák (2018-2022; TUDOR). In November 2022, two of these CDs were awarded »Recording of the Month« by BBC Music Magazine.

The fact that this group also places a great deal of emphasis on programmatic content at their concerts is attested to by the award from the German Music Publishers Association for »The Best Concert Programme« in spring 2018. In 2020, the orchestra received the Bavarian State Prize for Music. In 2021, an audio book was published (accentus music) that musically retells the unique history of the Bamberg Symphony from Mozart in Prague to the present day.

Since 2022, the Bamberg Symphony has set itself the goal of acting and travelling in a more climate-friendly manner, e.g., using means of transportation powered by alternative energy sources. For larger tours and trips abroad, efforts are being made to optimize travel routes and tour procedures. Increasingly, the orchestra stays in one country or place for longer periods, e.g., to play residencies or lead educational projects joined by local artists. By financially supporting environmental projects, including those in concert locations, the orchestra is attempting to offset most of the CO2 emissions caused by its own travels.

source: Bamberger Symphoniker

Bamberger Symphoniker

Jakub Hrůša

Jakub Hrůša is Chief Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of both the Czech Philharmonic and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. From autumn 2025, he will take up the post of Music Director at the Royal Opera at Covent Garden in London.

He frequently appears as a guest conductor with the world’s greatest orchestras, including the Berlin, Vienna, Munich and New York Philharmonics, the Bavarian Radio, NHK, Chicago and Boston Symphonies, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Lucerne Festival, Royal Concertgebouw, Mahler Chamber and the Cleveland Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Dresden Staatskapelle, Orchestre de Paris, and Tonhalle Orchester Zürich.

He has led opera productions for the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House, Opéra National de Paris, Zurich Opera, and the Glyndebourne Festival. In 2022, he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival with a new production of Káťa Kabanová.

For his recordings with the Bamberg Symphony, he received an ICMA for Hans Rott’s 1st Symphony in 2023, previously an ICMA for Bruckner’s 4th Symphony, as well as the Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik for Mahler's 4th Symphony, as well as a BBC Music Magazine Award for Dvořák and Martinů Piano Concertos with Ivo Kahánek. In addition, he has received Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine Award nominations for Martinů Violin Concertos with Frank Peter Zimmermann. 

Hrůša studied at Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts, where his teachers included Jiří Bělohlávek. He is President of the International Martinů Circle and The Dvořák Society. He was the inaugural recipient of the Sir Charles Mackerras Prize, and in 2020 was awarded the Antonín Dvořák Prize by the Czech Republic’s Academy of Classical Music, and – with the Bamberg Symphony – the Bavarian State Prize for Music. In 2023, Jakub Hrůša was awarded Honorary Membership to the Royal Academy of Music in London.

source: Bamberger Symphoniker

Jakub Hrůša - conductor

The Prague Exhibition Grounds (Výstaviště Praha) in Holešovice

The Prague Exhibition Grounds (Výstaviště Praha), located in Prague 7, is a historic leisure complex. This area was created by separating a section of the Royal Game Park during the Jubilee Exhibition in 1891 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Industrial Exhibition of 1791. It was here that prefabricated iron architecture was used for the first time in the Czech lands. The palace was completed in ten months in 1891 despite the exhibition grounds being affected by floods and severe frosts at the time. The building is an important artistic and technical monument and is used for exhibitions, festivals, and other cultural and entertainment events. Since February 2022, the site has been undergoing renovation and reconstruction work on part of the complex that had previously burnt down.