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Sunday, September 15, 2019, 8.00 pm
World-Class Orchestras

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Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 3 in D minor

Without a doubt, one of the eagerly awaited highpoints of this year’s Dvořák Prague Festival is the concert of the Israel Philharmonic. Long regarded as one of the world’s best orchestras, it will be appearing under the baton of its artistic-director-for-life and chief conductor, the living conducting legend Zubin Mehta, who has been at the orchestra’s helm for an incredible fifty years. The programme they have chosen for their Prague concert can also be described as exceptionally fitting: Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, perhaps the most gigantic work of the standard symphonic repertoire. Also participating in the performance of this tremendous musical colossus will be the Japanese mezzo-soprano Mihoko Fujimura and two first-class vocal ensembles − the Prague Philharmonic Choir and the Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir. Mahler’s ingenious score in the hands of performers of the highest calibre promises to be a powerful listening experience.

Concert without any intermission.

Mihoko Fujimura is ill and will be replaced by mezzo-soprano Gerhild Romberger. We apologize for this change.

  • Dress code: dark suit
  • Doors close: 19.55
  • End of concert: 21.50


Prague Philharmonic Choir

The Prague Philharmonic Choir is one of Europe’s most important choral ensembles. Founded in 1934 by the legendary choral conductor Jan Kühn, the choir’s original focus of activity as a radio ensemble soon expanded with regular concerts, while its recording activity showcased the choir’s excellence and diversity, earning it wide respect. The choir’s international renown is documented by its collaborations with many of the world’s top conductors (Riccardo Muti, Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Manfred Honeck, Daniel Barenboim, Fabio Luisi, Sir Simon Rattle) and orchestras (Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic). The choir is a regular guest at prestigious music festivals abroad, and it has taken part in opera productions (La Scala, Bregenzer Festspiele). The choir also supports young talent: since 2012 it has been operating an Academy of Choral Singing with a two-year course of study for secondary-school and university students.

Prague Philharmonic Choir

Lukáš Vasilek

Lukáš Vasilek studied conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and musicology at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University. From 1998 he was the choirmaster of the Foerster Female Chamber Choir, with which he won a number of awards at prestigious international competitions. From 2005 to 2007 he was the second choirmaster of the opera chorus at Prague’s National Theatre, where he directed rehearsals for several opera productions. Since 2007 he has been the chief choirmaster of the Prague Philharmonic Choir. His highly acclaimed work with that choir includes rehearsing and conducting a broad repertoire from various stylistic periods as well as making several recordings, including an exceptionally successful CD of cantatas by Bohuslav Martinů. Vasilek also works as an orchestral conductor and is the founder of the Martinů Voices chamber choir, where he focuses mainly on interpreting music of the 20th and 21st centuries. He actively works to popularise choral music, having served as moderator in 2012 and 2016 for two programmes on Czech Radio on the art of choral singing.

Lukáš Vasilek - choirmaster

Gerhild Romberger

Gerhild Romberger was born in the Emsland. After studying music for schools at the Academy of Music in Detmold, she studied with Mitsuko Shirai and Hartmut Höll. As a passionate concert-singer her extremely extensive repertoire encompasses all the major contralto and mezzo-soprano parts in the oratorio and concert repertoire from the Baroque to the Classical and Romantic periods to the 20th century music. Significant steps in Gerhild Romberger´s career in recent years were concerts with Manfred Honeck, the Berlin Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Herbert Blomstedt and the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester under Riccardo Chailly. Furthermore, she performed with the Vienna and Bamberg Symphony Orchestras under Daniel Harding or at La Scala under Franz Welser-Möst. Highlights of the current season include a concert tour with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Beethoven´s 9th Symphony under the baton of Andris Nelsons as well as Mahler´s 3rd Symphony with Concertgebouworkest in Amsterdam. Furthermore, she can be heard with Mahler´s Kindertotenlieder and the Budapest Festival Orchestra and with Schumann´s Paradies und Peri at Hamburg´s Elbphilharmonie.

Gerhild Romberger - mezzosoprano

Zubin Mehta

Zubin Mehta is one of the most famous conductors of the last several decades. A native of India who turns eighty-three this year, he studied piano, composition, and contrabass. After winning a conducting competition in Liverpool in 1958, he launched his brilliant artistic career, conducting practically all of the world’s important orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Vienna Philharmonic, just to name a few, and he was engaged successively at leading opera houses including La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and the Vienna State Opera. For over fifty years, his musical career has been associated primarily with the Israel Philharmonic, where he has been serving as a musical advisor since 1968 and as chief conductor since 1977. Four years later, he was appointed as its chief conductor for life. This year, however, he is planning to step down from the post, yielding to a younger successor. Maestro Mehta first introduced himself to the Prague public in 1962 and most recently at the Dvořák Prague Festival in 2014. He has been honoured with a number of important awards, including France’s Legion of Honour and the UN Lifetime Achievement Peace and Tolerance Award.

Zubin Mehta - conductor

Israel Philharmonic

The Israel Philharmonic has long been regarded as one of the world’s best orchestras. It was established in 1936, when Arturo Toscanini conducted its inaugural concert in Tel Aviv. Over the years, the orchestra has collaborated with most of the most important conductors from around the world, including Leonard Bernstein, Serge Koussevitzky, Sergiu Celibidache, Carlo Maria Giulini, Istvan Ketesz, George Solti, Lorin Maazel, Daniel Barenboim, Rafael Kubelík, and Valery Gergiev. Zubin Mehta has been at the helm of the orchestra since 1977. Over the years of its existence, the orchestra has given several thousand concerts on five continents. The ensemble’s repertoire is extraordinary broad, covering the vast majority of the worldwide Classical and Romantic repertoire and music of the 20th century. Among those to have appeared as concerto partners with the orchestra have been such legendary performers as Arthur Rubinstein, Mstislav Rostropovich, David Oistrakh, Jascha Heifetz, Glenn Gould, and Plácido Domingo. The orchestra has made dozens of recordings for the Sony, EMI, Deutsche Gramophone, Teldec, and Decca labels.

Israel Philharmonic

Petr Louženský

Petr Louženský is a graduate of the Prague Conservatoire, where he studied flute and conducting, then at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague he earned a doctorate in the field of conducting. He regularly collaborates with a number of important Czech orchestras, including the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra in Pardubice, the Prague Philharmonia, the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic in Zlín, the South Bohemia Chamber Philharmonic, and the Moravian Philharmonic in Olomouc. For the last ten years, he has been the choirmaster of the Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir. Under his leadership, in September 2010 the choir won the Grand Prix at one of the world’s biggest choral competitions in Arezzo, Italy. At the same time, Petr Louženský also won a special prize as the best conductor. In 2013, he led the Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir to victory at the prestigious competition in Tolosa, Spain. In 2015 he took the choir on a successful tour of Australia and New Zealand – the only continent where the Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir had not yet given concerts.

Petr Louženský - choirmaster

Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir

The traditions of the Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir date back to 1932, when the choirmaster Jan Kühn established the ensemble for the needs of the former state broadcasting company Czechoslovak Radio. From the very beginning, the choir’s main assets were the purity, refinement, and naturalness of the children’s voices; the choir has preserved theses qualities to this day. At present, the choir has more than nine hundred members 3 years of age and older, making it the largest choir in the Czech Republic. Over the years, it has performed in dozens of countries on five continents, and it has won a number of important prizes, including the 1998 European Grand Prix and three victories in 1998, 2008, and 2013 at the prestigious competition in Tolosa, Spain. Among the choir’s greatest successes have been performances at La Scala in Milan, New York’s Carnegie Hall, and the Bregenzer Festspiele. The choir has also devoted itself to making recordings, with over fifty albums to its credit featuring Czech and foreign music as well as a number of tapings for radio and television broadcasts. Its traditions and the breadth of its artistic scope have made it a unique artistic institution of its kind within a European context.

Prague Philharmonic Children’s Choir

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.