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Thursday, September 12, 2019, 8.00 pm
Chamber Series

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Johannes Brahms: Sonata Movement in C minor, Op. Posth., ʻFAE Sonataʹ, WoO 2, ʻScherzoʹSergej Prokofiev: Sonata for Cello, and Piano in C Major, Op. 119Antonín Dvořák: Piano Trio No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 65, B. 130

The violinist and curator of the festival’s Chamber Music Series Gil Shaham, the cellist Kian Soltani who has recently begun appearing with increasing frequency on the world’s most prestigious stages, and the pianist Gerhard Oppitz, a matador of the concert stage, will play together on the lovely premises of the Convent of St Agnes, where some of the festival’s chamber music concerts are taking place again this year. The players are joining forces here to play one of Dvořák’s chamber music masterpieces − the Piano Trio in F Minor. In the spirit of Dvořák as the festival’s theme, they have also chosen music by Dvořák’s contemporary Johannes Brahms and the inventive, richly modern musical language of Sergei Prokofiev.

  • Dress code: dark suit
  • Doors close: 19.55
  • End of concert: 21.40
  • Aftertalk


Gerhard Oppitz

The famed German pianist Gerhard Oppitz has been a fixture on the world’s concert stages for over 40 years since his triumph at the 1977 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition. The fame he won there earned him invitations for more concerts in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The very next year, he was offered a position at the Musikhochschule in Munich, where he later became the youngest professor. His repertoire is exceptionally broad, from Bach’s keyboard music to the sonatas of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert and music of the 20th century. The music of the latter half of the nineteenth century holds a place of exceptional importance in his repertoire – for example, he has recorded the complete piano works of Johannes Brahms and Edvard Grieg. Oppitz is truly a Renaissance man: besides his busy schedule of concert, recording, and teaching activities, his interests include the study of foreign languages (he is a speaker of seven languages) and piloting aircraft – he often transports himself to his concerts around Europe.

Gerhard Oppitz - piano

Kian Soltani

Kian Soltani is often called one of the world’s most promising cellists of the younger generation. This twenty-seven-year-old Austrian native of Persian origin comes from a musical family. He began playing cello at the age of four, and at age twelve he began studying at the Academy of Music in Basel, Switzerland. He first attracted major attention in 2011 when he debuted at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. Two years later, he won the prestigious Paulo Cello Competition in Helsinki. In 2015, Daniel Barenboim invited him to give repeated performances of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto on a tour of the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra, an international youth orchestra. Soltani has also collaborated with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zürich, the Oslo Philharmonic, and other important ensembles. In 2017 he signed an exclusive recording contract with the Deutsche Grammophon label, for which he made an award-winning recording of the music of Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann last year. He plays on a rare Italian instrument, the “London ex Boccherini 1694” Stradivarius.

Kian Soltani - violoncello

Gil Shaham

The American violinist Gil Shaham belongs to the absolute elite of the world in his field, having won his outstanding renown thanks to a combination of flawless technique and ardent, intelligent expression. He began studying violin at the age of seven and only three years later debuted as soloist under the baton of Zubin Mehta with the Israel Philharmonic. His formal training included study at several music schools in succession, including the famous Juilliard School in New York. He has performed with practically all the world's most important orchestras and recorded more than thirty albums, among them the most important violin concertos (including Vivaldi's The Four Seasons) and Bach's sonatas and partitas for unaccompanied violin. Many prestigious international honours have been bestowed on him, including a Grammy Award. Shaham performed for Prague audiences with great success already in 2009 and 2015 in concerts of the Strings of Autumn Festival. He plays one of the most precious instruments by Antonio Stradivari, the 'Comtesse de Polignac' from 1699.

Gil Shaham - violin

St. Agnes Convent

The Convent of St. Agnes in the 'Na Františku' neighbourhood of Prague's Old Town is considered the first Gothic structure not only in Prague but in all of Bohemia. It was founded by King Wenceslas I in 1233–34 at the instigation of his sister, the Přemyslid princess Agnes of Bohemia, for the Order of Saint Clare which Agnes introduced into Bohemia and of which she was the first abbess. The convent was preceded by a hospital. The 'Poor Clares' originated as an offshoot of the Order of St. Francis of Assisi, and the convent was at one time known as the Prague Assisi. Agnes was an outstanding figure in religious life of the thirteenth century. Besides this Clarist convent she also founded the only Czech religious order – the Hospital Order of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star. She was canonized in 1989.