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Friday, September 13, 2019, 8.00 pm
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Programme

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor,Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Manfred, Symphony in B minor, Op. 58

This year’s Dvořák Prague Festival is highlighting the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who shared with Antonín Dvořák not only a proximity of musical language, but also a personal friendship. Playing perhaps the most famous work by the Russian master and one of the most popular concertos in the worldwide piano literature, the Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor, will be the tremendously gifted soloist Kirill Gerstein, who just won the prestigious ECHO Klassik Award for his recording of this work. On the second half of the programme, the Czech Philharmonic and its chief conductor Semyon Bychkov will perform Tchaikovsky’s impressive but relatively seldom-heard Manfred Symphony. In the context of Tchaikovsky’s oeuvre, a performance of this work is a major event.

  • Dress code: dark suit
  • Doors close: 19.55
  • End of concert: 22.00
  • Signing: 22.10
  • Aftertalk

Artists

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

Semyon Bychkov

The Russian conductor Semyon Bychkov is one of today’s most sought-after conductors because of his clear opinions on interpretation and his emphasis on beauty of sound. He was born in 1952 in what was then called Leningrad, and he graduated from the conservatoire there. After emigrating from the Soviet Union to the United States in the 1970s, he soon earned an outstanding international reputation. He has been a long-term collaborator with the world’s best orchestras, including the philharmonic orchestras in Vienna, Berlin, and Munich, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. He also devotes himself intensively to opera, conducting at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna State Opera, the Teatro Real Madrid, La Scala in Milan, and the Opéra national de Paris, where he has conducted productions of operas ranging from Mozart’s Don Giovanni to Strauss’s Elektra.

Kirill Gerstein

Kirill Gerstein, who turns forty this year, is a pianist of Russian origin living in the United States of America and Germany, where he teaches at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart. As a child, he was inclined primarily towards jazz, which he taught himself to play by listening to his parents’ extensive collection of recordings. Thanks to his extraordinary talent, he was admitted to the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston at the age of just fourteen to study jazz, making him the youngest student in the institution’s history. At age fifteen, however, he decided definitively for the classical piano, which he then studied at the Manhattan School of Music under Prof. Solomon Mikowsky. Thanks to his technical mastery and his wide range of styles, Gerstein is today one of the world’s most sought-after pianists. He appears regularly in solo recitals and in collaboration with renowned orchestras around the world on the most prestigious stages (Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Zurich Tonhalle, the Salzburg Festival). For his recording of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, he won the prestigious ECHO Klassik award in 2015.

Kirill Gerstein - piano

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.