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opening concert
Monday, September 5, 2016, 8.00 pm
World-Class Orchestras

Programme

Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61Max Reger: Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart, Op. 132Richard Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel´s Merry Pranks, Op. 28 

This year's Dvořák Prague Festival will open in truly grand style: in the Rudolfinum's Dvořák Hall one of the most famous European orchestras, the Sächsische Staatskapelle of Dresden, and one of the most sought-after conductors of the present time, Christian Thielemann, will present a showcase programme of works by German composers whose music these performers have in their blood.

This concert is presented under the patronage of Daniel Herman, Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic.

  • Dress code: black tie
  • Doors close: 19.45
  • End of concert: 22.00

Artists

Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden

Founded in 1548, the Staatskapelle of Dresden is one of the oldest orchestras in the world and has been headed by a host of outstanding conductors including Carl Maria von Weber, Richard Wagner, Fritz Reiner, and Karl Böhm. Richard Strauss worked closely with the ensemble for more than sixty years as both conductor and composer: he led the orchestra in the world premieres of many of his works. Its permanent home is the Semper Opera in Dresden, where it plays in performances of about 260 opera and ballet presentations and fifty orchestral and chamber concerts each year. It has also made numerous recordings, many of them reviewed with great enthusiasm. In 2007 the orchestra won a prestigious award from the European Cultural Foundation for merits in 'preservation of the world's musical heritage'.

Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden

Christian Thielemann

The German conductor Christian Thielemann graduated from Berlin's College of Music in viola and piano and at the same time studied conducting and composition privately. He became a répétiteur for the Deutsche Oper in Berlin when only nineteen years old, then later also assistant to Herbert von Karajan and Daniel Barenboim. From 2004 to 2011 he served as music director of the Munich Philharmonic, and since the 2012-13 season he has been chief conductor of the Staatskapelle of Dresden. He often appears in the Bayreuth Festival, where he has conducted more than a hundred performances to date. Thielemann is highly acclaimed especially for his outstanding interpretations of music by German composers, in which he is considered an heir to the tradition of Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan. His complete recording of the symphonies of Beethoven with the Vienna Philharmonic reaped glowing reviews from international critics.

Christian Thielemann - conductor

Nikolaj Znaider

Turning forty-one this year, the Danish violinist Nikolaj Znaider studied his instrument with the famous Austrian pedagogue Boris Kuschnir. At the age of sixteen he received first prize in the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition, and in 1997 he won the most important violin competition in the world, the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. The Chicago Tribune wrote: 'perhaps not since the young Gidon Kremer burst upon the violin world in 1970 has a violinist caused quite the stir of Nikolaj Znaider.' He engages in other aspects of musical life as well, serving since 2010 as conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, devoting himself to promising young talents, and having made numerous recordings of which we might mention at least the violin concertos of Johannes Brahms and Erich Wolfgang Korngold with the Vienna Philharmonic under Valery Gergiev. Znaider plays a precious instrument by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù from 1741 once owned by the legendary violinist Fritz Kreisler.

Nikolaj Znaider - violin

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.