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Sunday, September 13, 2015, 8.00 pm
Chamber Series


Ralph Vaughan Williams: Selection of songs for bass and pianoJohannes Brahms: Four Serious SongsAntonín Dvořák: Biblical Songs

This recital in the festival's 'Chamber Music Society' series will offer its audience a unique encounter of two great musicians: the acclaimed singer Jan Martiník will be accompanied at the piano by the equally distinguished musician Ivo Kahánek. Together they will perform selections from Dvořák’s Biblical Songs and a selection from the songs of an English composer from the first half of the twentieth century, Ralph Vaughan Williams. We'll also hear the Four Serious Songs by a great admirer of Dvořák’s, Johannes Brahms. Without a doubt this will be an unusually rewarding recital. 

  • Dress code: dark suit
  • Doors close: 7.55 pm
  • End of concert: 9.30 pm


Ivo Kahánek

The pianist Ivo Kahánek is one of today’s most successful Czech performers. After graduating from the Janáček Conservatoire in Ostrava and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, he furthered his education at London’s famed Guildhall School and at a number of masterclasses. At the age of 25, he became the overall winner of the Prague Spring International Music Competition. Besides giving solo recitals, he appears with renowned orchestras (Czech Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra in Cologne) and conductors (Vladimir Ashkenazy, Pinchas Steinberg, Jiří Bělohlávek). In 2007 at London’s famed BBC Proms, he performed the Piano Concerto No. 4 (“Incantation”) by Bohuslav Martinů. In November 2014 he became just the second Czech pianist in history (after Rudolf Firkušný) to appear with the Berlin Philharmonic. Sir Simon Rattle conducted the performance. He has a number of acclaimed recordings to his credit with the music of Frédéric Chopin and Leoš Janáček among other composers. His CD from last year with piano concertos by Dvořák and Martinů has been awarded this year by the prestigious British music journal BBC Music Magazine as the Recording of the Year in the Concerto category.

Jan Martiník

Born in Ostrava in 1983, Jan Martiník studied at the conservatoire and the university there, and it was also in Ostrava that he obtained his first theatrical engagement, with the Moravian-Silesian National Theatre. In 2007 he advanced to the finals in Placido Domingo's ‘Operalia’ competition, and in 2009 he won first place in the category of Song in the BBC 'Singer of the World' contest in Cardiff. From 2008 to 2011 he was a regular soloist with the Comic Opera in Berlin. He is a frequent guest of the National Theatre in Prague, and has also appeared as a guest on opera stages in Košice and Erfurt among other venues. Since the 2012-13 season he has been a regular soloist with State Opera in Berlin. He has sung in concerts with the Czech Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the BBC Proms Orchestra, and the Czech ensemble Collegium 1704.

St. Agnes Convent

The Convent of St. Agnes in the 'Na Františku' neighbourhood of Prague's Old Town is considered the first Gothic structure not only in Prague but in all of Bohemia. It was founded by King Wenceslas I in 1233–34 at the instigation of his sister, the Přemyslid princess Agnes of Bohemia, for the Order of Saint Clare which Agnes introduced into Bohemia and of which she was the first abbess. The convent was preceded by a hospital. The 'Poor Clares' originated as an offshoot of the Order of St. Francis of Assisi, and the convent was at one time known as the Prague Assisi. Agnes was an outstanding figure in religious life of the thirteenth century. Besides this Clarist convent she also founded the only Czech religious order – the Hospital Order of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star. She was canonized in 1989.