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Tuesday, September 18, 2018, 8.00 pm
Great Soloists
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Programme

Antonín Dvořák: Psalm 149, Op. 79, B. 154Franz Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, S. 124Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88, B. 163

The wizard of the piano Evgeny Kissin is one of the most eagerly anticipated guests at this year’s Dvořák Prague Festival. Moreover, for his appearance he has chosen a piano concerto by Franz Liszt that is extraordinarily technically difficult, which he will undoubtedly carry off with all of the technical bravura and stirring musicality for which he is known. Naturally, the music of Antonín Dvořák will not be overlooked. His Psalm is being performed as part of the vast Dvořák Collection series by its ideal interpreters, the Czech Philharmonic and the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno under the baton of Petr Altrichter.

Aftertalk with Jevgenij Kissin moderated by Jiří Vejvoda will be held in the concert hall after the concert.

  • Dress code: dark suit
  • Doors close: 19.55
  • End of concert: 21.45
  • Signing: Dvořák Hall
  • Aftertalk

Artists

Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno

The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno has long ranked among the finest European ensembles in its field. It has already become—under the leadership of its founder, music director, and choirmaster Petr Fiala—one of the most sought-after choral ensembles. It has worked with many Czech and foreign conductors including Jiří Bělohlávek, Charles Dutoit, Roger Norrington, Zubin Mehta, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and Kurt Masur, and he is a frequent guest on concert stages in Vienna, London, Paris, Munich, Frankfurt, Lucerne, Basel, Rome, the Vatican, Nuremberg, Dresden, Prague, and elsewhere in Europe. The choir has made many acclaimed recordings for both Czech and foreign labels. For its recording of motets by Anton Bruckner it won a prestigious Echo Klassik award in 2007, and its recording of Liszt’s oratorio Christus was named ‘Recording of the Year 2007’ in Germany. The choir’s greatest successes in the 2019/20 season include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and a recital of Czech repertoire at the Sala Santa Cecilia in Rome.

Petr Fiala

Choirmaster Petr Fiala graduated from the Brno Conservatoire in piano, composition, and conducting. He has composed many dozens of work for voices, orchestra, and chamber ensembles, and for years served as a professor at the Brno Conservatoire. Apart from teaching and composing, for five decades now he has been known above all for his work as a choirmaster and conductor. In 1990 he founded the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, which under his leadership has earned a position among the best choral ensembles in Europe. He has won honours in many domestic and international competitions, and serves as an instructor in conducting courses as well as a member of international juries. He is often invited to conduct works for chorus and orchestra as a guest both at home and abroad. In 2009 he received the Order of Cyril and Methodius from the Czech Bishops’ Conference, and four years later he was honoured by the Prize of the City of Brno.

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 core international repertoire, it is sought out most often for its superb interpretations of the classics by the great Czech composers in a tradition built up by great conductors (Talich, Kubelík, Ančerl, Neumann, and Bělohlávek). In 2008 the prestigious magazine Gramophone ranked it among the twenty best orchestras of the world. One of the orchestra’s most important recent projects has recording Tchaikovsky’s complete orchestral works for the Decca Label with Semyon Bychkov conducting. Since the inception of the Dvořák Prague Festival, the Czech Philharmonic has been its resident orchestra, and since 2018 it has been a holder of the Antonín Dvořák Prize for promoting and popularising Czech classical music abroad and in the Czech Republic.

Czech Philharmonic

Jevgenij Kissin

The phenomenal Russian pianist Evengy Kissin began playing piano at the age of two, and at ten years of age he made his debut playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D Minor. A year later, he began giving solo recitals with sensational success. His reputation as a prodigy spread quickly around the world, so in his youth he collaborated with the most important conductors of the day, including Herbert von Karajan, Zubin Mehta, and Valery Gergiev. Today, he gives concerts regularly in most of the countries of Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Thanks to his supreme technical mastery, he is regarded as a representative of the great tradition of the Russian school of piano playing. Although he has an enormous repertoire, his chief domain is regarded as the music of Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Franz Liszt. His recordings have won countless awards, including multiple Grammy Awards, and he has received honorary memberships or honorary doctorates from a large number of institutions. Kissin already appeared at the Dvořák Prague Festival in 2013 in a recital with works by Schubert and Scriabin.

Petr Altrichter

For decades now Petr Altrichter has ranked among the foremost Czech conductors. After studies at the Ostrava Conservatoire and the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno he soon drew major attention at the international conducting competition in Besançon, where he won second prize and a special prize from the French composers’ union. He has led the majority of the most important Czech orchestras including the Czech Philharmonic, and from 1997 to 2001 served as chief conductor and artistic director of the Royal Philharmonic of Liverpool. While working in Great Britain he has promoted Czech music very intensively. He is regularly invited to conduct major orchestras of the world such as the London Philharmonic and the Berlin Symphony. His conducting style is distinguished by great vitality and spontaneous musicality.

Petr Altrichter - conductor

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.