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Opening concert
Monday, September 7, 2015, 8.00 pm
Dvořák Collection II


  • Zahájení


Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 4Antonín Dvořák: Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 104

The official opening concert of this year’s Dvořák Prague Festival promises a unique experience: the solo part in the most celebrated work in cello literature, Dvořák's famous Concerto in B minor, rendered by the legendary American cellist Yo-Yo Ma in collaboration with supreme interpreters of Dvořák’s music – the Czech Philharmonic under conductor Jiří Bělohlávek. And as a contrast to this work ranking among Dvořák’s most renowned we'll hear his rarely-performed Second Symphony. 

  • Dress code: black tie
  • Doors close: 7.45 pm
  • End of concert: 10.00 pm


Czech Philharmonic

The Czech Philharmonic is the foremost Czech orchestra and has long held a place among the most esteemed representatives of Czech culture on the international scene. The beginning of its rich history is linked to the name of Antonín Dvořák, who on 4 January 1896 conducted the ensemble’s inaugural concert. Although the orchestra performs a broad range of the basic international repertoire, it is sought out most often for its superb interpretations of works by the Czech classics, in a tradition built by excellent conductors like Václav Talich, Rafael Kubelík, Karel Ančerl, and Václav Neumann. The ensemble has won many international honours for its recordings, the first of which it made already in 1929: Smetana’s My Country with Talich. In 2008 the prestigious magazine Gramophone ranked it among the twenty best orchestras of the world. Since the inception of the Dvořák Prague Festival the Czech Philharmonic has been its resident orchestra.

Czech Philharmonic

Yo-Yo Ma

Turning sixty years old this year, Yo-Yo Ma stands among the very highest elite of solo performers and is often called the greatest cellist of the present day. Born in Paris to a musical family of Chinese origin, at the age of five he moved with his parents to New York. He was a true child prodigy, playing the violin and viola from his early childhood before switching definitively to cello at the age of four. When only five he gave his first public performance, and when seven he played for President John F. Kennedy. He is renowned for his diverse repertoire, ranging from the unaccompanied cello suites of Johann Sebastian Bach through film music by John Williams to Chinese folk melodies. He collaborates with numerous first-class conductors, orchestras, and soloists, and has received many prestigious awards including the National Medal of Arts, the Glenn Gould Prize, and multiple Grammy Awards. Most often he plays a precious instrument from 1733 by the Italian master Domenico Montagnana.

Rudolfinum, Dvořák Hall

The Rudolfinum is one of the most important Neo-Renaissance edifices in the Czech Republic. In its conception as a multi-purpose cultural centre it was quite unique in Europe at the time of its construction. Based on a joint design by two outstanding Czech architects, Josef Zítek and Josef Schultz, a magnificent building was erected serving for concerts, as a gallery, and as a museum. The grand opening on 7 February 1885 was attended by Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, in whose honour the structure was named. In 1896 the very first concert of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra took place in the Rudolfinum's main concert hall, under the baton of the composer Antonín Dvořák whose name was later bestowed on the hall.