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Saturday, September 23, 2023, 8.00 pm
Academic Series

Tickets for this concert can be purchased online, at the Rudolfinum Ticket Centre or at the Bethlehem Chapel (payment in cash only).

Ticket prices

790 – 590 Kč


Johann Sebastian Bach: Dance Suite for Strings (arr. for string orchestra Dmitry Sitkovetsky)Felix Mendelssohn–Bartholdy: Concerto for Piano, Violin and Strings in D Minor, MWV 04Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky / Jakov Jakoulov: The Seasons, Op. 37a & Four Cherubic Chants for String OrchestraErnő Dohnányi: Serenade in C Major, Op. 10 (arr. for string orchestra Dmitry Sitkovetsky)

Due to the sudden medical indisposition of pianist Jan Bartos, Ivo Kahánek will appear in Mendelssohn's Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Strings in D Minor.

This evening will feature a diverse range of musical traditions and contemporary music, vibrantly connecting the West and the East – all within a single concert performed by the New European Strings chamber orchestra. When he founded the orchestra, violinist and conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky perhaps felt that it was not enough to perform with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the London Philharmonic Orchestra – that he needed to work with his own ensemble too. The New European Strings nicely embody the musical skills and vision of their founder.

In the first part of their concert, the Dance Suite in G Major will transport the audience to the world of Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the pillars of European music. German composer Felix Mendelssohn, who was fond of lyrical melodies, will contribute too, with his Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Strings. From Mendelssohn’s work, it is clear why he was responsible for reviving Bach’s music, which, by the early 19th century, had nearly been forgotten. The second part of the concert will be a tribute to traditional church music, with modern award-winning composer Jakov Jakoulov’s Four Cherub Songs, and the performance will conclude with a witty and energetic Serenade from Romantic-era composer Ernö Dohnányi.

  • Dress code: dark suit
  • End of concert: 10:10 pm


New European Strings

The violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky founded the New European Strings Chamber Orchestra in 1990 at the Korsholm Festival in Finland, of which he founded and served for ten years as the Artistic Director. The NES brings together the most respected string players from top European ensembles. They have toured throughout Europe. Dmitry Sitkovetsky’s transcription for string orchestra of J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) was recorded by the New European Strings for Nonesuch Records and was released to tremendous critical acclaim in the summer of 1995. In February 1997, they made their first USA tour performing in 14 cities from Los Angeles to New York. The New Yorker, in a review of this recording, wrote: “[T]he New European Strings Chamber Orchestra combines interpretive insight with exemplary playing; even suspicious purists will hear contrapuntal felicities that keyboard players can only suggest.”

Dmitry Sitkovetsky

A renaissance man and a magnetic creative force, Dmitry Sitkovetsky is recognised throughout the world as having made a considerable impact on every aspect of musical life. A prolific recording artist, with a career spanning more than four decades, he is celebrated globally as a violinist, conductor, creator, transcriber, and facilitator – and holds an undisputed and venerable position in musical society as a giant personality and educator.

As violinist and/or guest conductor, the 2022–2023 season and beyond sees Sitkovetsky perform extensively throughout Europe and North America. He performs chamber music at the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival and conducts the Israel Jerusalem Camerata in Israel; plays at the Guadalajara Chamber Music Festival and conducts the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional in Mexico; and is featured in concerts in Berlin, Germany; Mexico City, Mexico; Bucharest, Romania; Havana, Cuba; Istanbul, Turkey; Baku, Azerbaijan; and Sofia, Bulgaria. Sitkovetsky is also the President of the jury of the George Enescu International Violin Competition in Romania and a member of jury at the International Fritz Kreisler Violin Competition in Austria and the Concours Musical International de Montréal in Canada. In summer 2023, he performs in the Verbier Festival’s 30th anniversary season.

Siktovetsky also leads his final and 20th season as Music Director of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra in North Carolina. Throughout the past two decades at the helm of the orchestra, Sitkovetsky curated more than 120 different orchestral programs from Bach to Brubeck with world-class soloists. Among his many accomplishments, he developed the Rice Toyota Presents “Sitkovetsky & Friends” chamber series, consulted on the biggest installation of the Meyer System in the U.S. in the new 3000-seat Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts, and commissioned important new works by composers such as such as Jakov Jakoulov and Mark Engebretson. The 2022–2023 GSO season features Sitkovetsky leading six Masterworks concerts with acclaimed soloists including Michelle Cann, Sergey Antonov, James Ehnes, Trio Zimbalist, and Branford Marsalis.

Sitkovetsky also enjoys a flourishing career as a conductor, having worked with such orchestras as Academy of St-Martin-In-The-Fields, Dallas Symphony, London Philharmonic, Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Lucerne Symphony, Orchestra della Toscana, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, and Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Japan Century Symphony, amongst others. In 1990, he founded the New European Strings Chamber Orchestra (NES) – bringing together the most distinguished string players from the top European ensembles, from both Russian and Western musical backgrounds (reflecting Dmitry’s own life story). Since 2003, Sitkovetsky has served as the Music Director of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina, to whom he has brought such soloists as Emmanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Garrick Ohlsson, and Pinchas Zukerman. Previous positions of artistic leadership have included the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y Leon (Artist in Residence, 2006–2009), Russian State Symphony Orchestra ‘Evgeny Svetlanov’ (Principal Guest Conductor, 2002–2005), and the Ulster Orchestra (Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor, 1996–2001).

In 2019, he celebrated the release of a recital disc on the Melodia label, recorded with Tchaikovsky Competition-winner Lukas Geniušas – with a programme designed as an homage to the legendary duo of Fritz Kreisler and Sergei Rachmaninov. His celebrated career as a violinist is documented in an extensive discography of more than 40 recordings, reflecting the impressive breadth of his repertoire. His recording collaborators to date include such orchestras as the London Symphony, Philharmonia, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, working with such legendary maestros as Sir Colin Davis, Mariss Jansons, Sir Neville Marriner, and Yehudi Menuhin. As soloist, he has performed with the world’s leading orchestras – including the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland, LA Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, New York Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, and Philadelphia, amongst others.

Given his unmatched ability to turn any project into a highly anticipated artistic event, Sitkovetsky has also been invited to create, develop and lead a number of festivals, including the Korsholm Music Festival, Finland (1983–1993, and 2002), the Seattle International Music Festival (1992–1997), the Silk Route of Music, Azerbaijan (1999), and the Festival del Sole, Tuscany (2003–2006). During his tenure at the Korsholm Festival, he hosted Alfred Schnittke, Krszystof Penderecki & Rodion Shchedrin as composer-in-residence, performed with such luminaries as Martha Argerich, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Evgeny Kissin, Mischa Maisky to name but a few.

Sitkovetsky is also in high demand as a jury member, musical expert and educator. Recent jury roles have included the Indianapolis International Violin Competition, Concours Musical International de Montréal, International Tchaikovsky Competition, and the Enescu Violin Competition. Additional highlights include Sitkovetsky’s debut TEDx talk, The Power of Curiosity; the launch of his first book, Dmitry Sitkovetsky: Dialogues; and his interview series on, It Ain’t Necessarily So.

Dmitry Sitkovetsky’s name has also become synonymous with the art of transcription. His iconic orchestral and string trio versions of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations have taken on a life of their own – enjoying regular performances and acclaimed recordings by many of the leading performers of today. Following this unprecedented success, Sitkovetsky has gone on to arrange over six60ty works of major repertoire by such composers as Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, Schnittke, and Shostakovich. In 2015, he unveiled his transcription of Stravinsky’s Le baiser de la fée, commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and premiered by Augustin Hadelich at Carnegie Hall. The 2017/2018 season saw the successful premieres of a new multi-genre/multimedia work, Devil, Soldier & Violin (inspired by Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale), with sold-out performances across Russia. Summer 2018 saw the world premiere of Sitkovetsky’s transcription of Sarasate’s Navarra Fantasy, commissioned by the Verbier Festival. This performance – marking the festival’s 25th anniversary – was broadcast live worldwide on, with an all-star lineup of musicians, including Lisa Batiashvili, Leonidas Kavakos, Mischa Maisky, Vadim Repin, Maxim Vengerov, Tabea Zimmermann, and Pinchas Zukerman – as well as Dmitry Sitkovetsky himself. The latest transcription, Bukovina Songs/Preludes by Leonid Desyatnikov, was recorded online by the NES during the Pandemic, and reached an audience of more than 250,000, is now much in demand and has been performed in Bucharest, Oviedo, Ljubljana, Baku, Korsholm, and Jerusalem.

Dmitry Sitkovetsky - conductor, violin

Ivo Kahánek

As a performer of unusual emotional power and depth, Ivo Kahánek has earned a reputation as one of the most impressive artists of his generation. He takes ample advantage of his talent to establish instant emotional ties with the public in works ranging from the Baroque to the modern eras, with the Romantic era representing the bulk of his repertoire. Abroad, he is also regarded as a specialist in the interpretation of Czech music.

In 2004, he was the overall winner of the Prague Spring International Music Competition, and before that he had already won many important competition prizes at both home and abroad (the Maria Canals Piano Competition in Barcelona, the Vendome Prize in Vienna, the Stiftung Tomassoni Wettbewerb in Cologne, the Fryderyk Chopin International Competition in Mariánské Lázně, Concertino Praga etc.).

Following successful debuts at the Beethovenfest in Bonn and at the Prague Spring Festival, he received an invitation from the BBC Symphony Orchestra to appear at London’s BBC Proms in Royal Albert Hall, where in August 2007 he played Bohuslav Martinů’s Fourth Piano Concerto (“Incantation”) under the baton of Jiří Bělohlávek, which was broadcast live by BBC television and radio and by Czech Radio Vltava. That critically acclaimed debut is available from the German label Deutsche Grammophon as a digital download. It is no wonder that Sir Simon Rattle chose Ivo Kahánek for two appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic in November 2014, which were enthusiastically received by music critics and the general public. The young pianist became just the second Czech pianist (after Rudolf Firkušný) to appear with that world-famous orchestra in its history. Ivo Kahánek also performs regularly with the Czech Philharmonic, and he has made successful appearances with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow, the Essener Philharmoniker, the WDR Orchestra in Cologne, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonia, the Brno Philharmonic, and many other orchestras. Just a few of the other artists with whom he has collaborated include conductors Semyon Bychkov, John Eliot Gardiner, Jakub Hrůša, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Rafael Payare, Pinchas Steinberg, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Tomáš Netopil, Andrey Boreyko, Libor Pešek, and Zdeněk Mácal, violinist Daniel Hope, cellist Alissu Weilerstein, violist Paul Neubauer, the Pavel Haas Quartet, the Tetzlaff Quartet, soprano Martina Janková, and tenor Pavel Černoch. In 2018, he won the Classic Prague Award for solo performance of the year.

In 2007, Ivo Kahánek signed an exclusive contract with the label Supraphon Music, and since then he has recorded 15 CDs of music by such composers as Frédéric Chopin, Antonín Dvořák, Leoš Janáček, Bohuslav Martinů, Gideon Klein, Miloslav Kabeláč, Jean Francaix, and Jacques Ibert. For his recording of piano concertos by Antonín Dvořák and Bohuslav Martinů accompanied by the Bamberg Symphony under the baton of Jakub Hrůša, he earned the prestigious BBC Music Magazine Award. That CD also won other important honours: recording of the month of the BBC Music Magazine, Choix de Classique HD, recording of the week on BBC Radio 3, an Angel Award in the Classical category, and a nomination from the International Classical Music Awards. For his album of songs by Bohuslav Martinů with Martina Janková and Tomáš Král, Ivo Kahánek also won a coveted Diapason d’Or from the French music journal Diapason and was named the choice of the month by the journals Opernwelt and Opera News. His latest important recording is the complete piano works of Antonín Dvořák on 4 CDs, which also received an International Classical Music Awards nomination in late 2021, earned the highest rating in the journals Gramophone and Diapason, and like his previous CD, won an Angel Award in the Classical category. He also makes recordings for Czech Radio, Czech Television, and the television station Mezzo.

Ivo Kahánek is a graduate of the Janáček Conservatoire in Ostrava and of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He also made a study visit to London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has taken part in masterclasses led by Karl-Heinze Kämmerling, Christian Zacharias, Alicia de Larrocha, Imogen Cooper, Peter Frankl, and other instructors. At present he is teaching at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and is leading piano masterclasses at the Summer Music Academy in Kroměříž and at the Prague Conservatoire Piano Courses.

Ivo Kahánek - piano

Bethlehem Chapel

The Bethlehem Chapel is one of the most important landmarks in Prague. The original building, dating from 1391 and closely associated with the reform movement of Master Jan Hus, was torn down. A modern replica was built at the same site in the 1850s based on a design by the important architect Jaroslav Fragner. At present, the Bethlehem Chapel serves as ceremony hall for the Czech Technical University. It is the site of not only graduation ceremonies for the schools students, but also various cultural and social events.