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festival overture
Sunday, September 4, 2016, 11.30 am
On the Trail of Dvořák


Antonín Dvořák: Slavonic Rhapsody No. 1 in D major, Op. 45 (B. 86); Slavonic Dance No. 8 in G minor, Op. 46 (B. 78); Waltz No. 1 in A major, Op. 54 (B. 101 ); My Home (overture to Josef Kajetán Tyl), Op. 62 (B. 125a)*The concert is part of a comprehensive program9.45 - train departs from Prague Masaryk railway station (train arrives at 9.30)The festival ticket will also serve as a train ticket.11.00 - commemoration act at the statue of A. Dvořák in Nelahozeves11.30 - concert, Nelahozeves castle13.00 - visit to the Museum of A. Dvorak with commentary by musicologist David BeveridgeAfter visiting the Museum there will be space for visiting the Church of st. Andrew, where the liturgy of the word will take place from 15.30. You can also pass the so-called Dvořák trail along the Vltava river. If you have kids with you, then in the local culture house dance workshops take place from 13.00 for children 5-8 years, from 14.15 for 8 years and older.16.50 - train departs from Nelahozeves-castle station (train arrives at 16.40) Besides the train, which ensures the Dvorak Prague Festival, you can use at your own expenses also joint trains by Czech Railways, the name of the station is Nelahozeves-zamek (zamek=castle).

This year the traditional 'festival overture' On the Trail of Dvořák takes us to the composer's birthplace, Nelahozeves, where he spent the first twelve years of his life and received his first musical stimuli for his future dizzying compositional career. He also returned there as an adult, and his visit in 1889 inspired our festival concert in Nelahozeves Castle with a programme of music performed on that occasion––several of Dvořák's works for four-hands piano, rendered by the renowned pianists Ivo Kahánek and David Mareček. As usual we'll have well-informed live commentary by the festival musicologist David Beveridge.

  • Dress code: casual
  • Doors close: 11.25
  • End of concert: 12.30


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.

David Mareček

David Mareček graduated in piano and conducting from the Brno Conservatoire, then continued his education at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in piano and, as the focus of doctoral studies, in performance and theory of performance. While still a student he also taught at the Pavel Křížkovský Elementary Arts School and Gymnasium. At the Brno Conservatory he served as assistant director and as professor of piano. He became programming director of the Brno Philharmonic in 2005, and two years later that ensemble's general director. Already during that time he strove to recruit new, mainly young, listeners of classical music, which he endeavoured to make more 'visible' to the broad public. Since 2011 he has been continuing in those same pursuits in his current position as general director of the Czech Philharmonic, where he regularly achieves splendid results in arranging for prestigious opportunities to present the art of our foremost orchestra on the international scene.


The name of Nelahozeves, a village near Kralupy nad Vltavou, would certainly never have penetrated beyond the bounds of the Czech lands had it not witnessed, on 8 September 1841, the birth of one of the most important composers of the world, Antonín Dvořák. Nelahozeves was also the site of the first great drama in Dvořák's life: in July 1842 the house where his family lived was gutted by fire, and family tradition says his father saved the future genius by carrying him in his cradle to safety. Critical for the composer's later stellar career were the first musical stimuli he acquired in Nelahozeves. Performances by village bands in the tavern run by his parents, his father playing the zither, railroad construction workers from Italy singing their favourite songs, music heard in the church of St. Andrew, and the inspiring elementary school teacher and musician Josef Spitz all created the soil from which Dvořák's rich artistic bequest later sprouted.