Programme

Dvořák Collection Dvořák Collection

Last year saw the climax of a two-year project of the Dvořák Collection series, presenting all of the master’s works for choir and orchestra. This year’s Dvořák Collection will feature his complete concertos with Kian Soltani playing the great Cello Concerto in B Minor, while Gil Shaham, the curator of the Chamber Series, will play the Violin Concerto in A Minor, and Ivo Kahánek will be heard in the Piano Concerto in G Minor. Of special interest will be two performances of the Concerto for Cello and Piano in A Major. Jiří Bárta will play the original with piano, and Tomáš Jamník will play a version orchestrated by Jarmil Burghauser.

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Opera in Concert Opera in Concert

After the successful performance of Dvořák’s opera Alfred in 2014, the festival is continuing with its plans to perform the composer’s lesser-known works. The Academy of Classical Music secured the digitisation of the manuscript material of Dvořák’s opera Král a uhlíř (King and Collier), making possible a concert performance of the work’s first musical setting (1871), which was played for the fi rst and last time in 1929 at the National Theatre. This challenging task has been accepted by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the conductor Tomáš Brauner, the Prague Philharmonic Choir, and a stellar cast of vocalists led by Kateřina Kněžíková, Richard Samek, Jozef Benci, and Lucie Hilscherová among others. Czech Radio will document this historic event with a recording.

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Czech Philharmonic Czech Philharmonic

After years devoted to the works of Antonín Dvořák, the festival’s Orchestra in Residence is turning its attention to one of Dvořák’s closest artistic friends – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The music of the two composers has in common a remarkable wealth of invention, compositional mastery, inspiration from folk melodies, and incredible creative productivity. Kirill Gerstein will play the famous Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor, Renaud Capuçon will perform the Violin Concerto in D Major, and Gautier Capuçon will play the solo part in the Variations on a Rococo Theme. This will allow for a comparison of the two composers’ concertos in the course of a few days. They will also play Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, No. 6 in B Minor (“Pathétique”), and the rarely heard Manfred Symphony. The orchestra’s chief conductor Semyon Bychkov will lead all of these performances.

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World-class Orchestras World-class Orchestras

For this year’s World-Class Orchestras series, the Israel Philharmonic is returning under the baton of the phenomenal maestro Zubin Mehta in Mahler’s 3rd Symphony with the Prague Philharmonic Choir and the Kühn Children’s Choir. The Essen Philharmonic and its chief conductor Tomáš Netopil return after two years to join the pianist Ivo Kahánek in an all-Dvořák programme with the Piano Concerto in G Minor and the 7th Symphony. Christoph Eschenbach will open the festival with the Rai National Symphony Orchestra from Turin. The festival will also close with a foreign ensemble, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, with the conducting legend Neeme Järvi and the wonderful violin soloist Nicola Benedetti in Sibelius’s Violin Concerto.

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Chamber Series Chamber Series

The festival’s Chamber Series curator not only helps plan the programming, but also performs. This year’s curator is the phenomenal violinist Gil Shaham. He has invited wonderful partners for the series: the pianists Gerhard Oppitz and Michail Lifits, the cellist Kian Soltani, and the Czech violinist Josef Špaček and violist Pavel Nikl. The Chamber Series will conclude with a joint appearance by the Wihan Quartet, Michail Lifits, and other guests in a programme devoted to a historical survey of Czech chamber music based on the works of Antonín Dvořák. The concert will also indicate the future direction of the Chamber Series as a logical continuation of the Dvořák Collection.

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Debut Day Debut Day

The festival’s Debut Day is reserved for young artists who have achieved extraordinary success in spite of their age and who have a secure place alongside their more established colleagues on the world’s prestigious stages. This year, on the festival’s main stage we are presenting Boris Giltburg, a young Israeli pianist of Russian origin, who is a laureate of the most prestigious competitions including the Arthur Rubinstein Competition and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. For his debut, Giltburg has chosen works that represent major artistic undertakings. A pianistic field day in the form of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes, each of which is a “miniature” tone poem, and Rachmaninoff’s 13 Preludes will pose a beautiful but challenging task for the performer.

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Recital Recital

Each year, the festival presents big recitals featuring today’s most prominent performers. Audience members have indelible memories of wonderful performances at the Dvořák Hall by such artists as the singers Joseph Calleja and Adam Plachetka or the pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the unforgettable Evgeny Kissin. Last year, it was perhaps the greatest Czech proponent of Chopin, Ivan Klánský. This year, following her successes at London’s Albert Hall and the Lincoln Center in New York, the series will be presenting another Decca Artist, the Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa. Among the works we can look forward to is Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

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On the Trail of Dvořák On the Trail of Dvořák

In accordance with tradition, on the last Sunday before the opening of the Dvořák Prague Festival, festival guests will set out on the trail of Antonín Dvořák. The series of “On the Trail” excursions takes audience members to authentic but, unfortunately, little-known places associated with the life of the greatest Czech composer. These places are brought to life by music and the enthusiastic commentary of the festival musicologist Dr. David Beveridge. So far, “On the Trail of Antonín Dvořák” excursions have gone to Lužany (2013), the central-Bohemian village Zlonice (2014), Vysoká u Příbramě (2015), Nelahozevs (2016), and Kroměříž (2017). This year’s wanderings will follow Dvořák’s footsteps in Prague: there will be visits to places that are not usually open to the public and authentic musical performances.

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Family Day Family Day

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.

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