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Wednesday, September 13, 2023, 8.00 pm
World-Class Orchestras Brahms 190

Ticket prices

3990 – 2590 Kč


Johannes Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat Major, Op. 83Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88, B. 163, ‘English’

The Vienna Philharmonic is renowned as an outstanding orchestra that is partial to traditional, more conservative methods, including the use of a particular type of French horn, which will be heard at the start of the evening’s performance. Its alluring sounds, opening Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2, are an invitation for everyone to listen to the latest news from near and far. This is perfectly justified, as the Rudolfinum will see the Vienna Philharmonic performing under the baton of conductor Jakub Hrůša, with Igor Levit, a pianist now more German than Russian, joining them as a soloist.

The programme also features Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major, sometimes called ‘English’. This is a reference to its premiere in London, the current home of Jakub Hrůša, the most successful contemporary Czech conductor, who has also been appointed Music Director of the prestigious Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

Johannes Brahms, one of the greatest composers among the many Viennese masters, will have a welcome presence here in Prague, albeit for a short while. As a citizen of the world, Levit serves as a reminder that music transcends national boundaries. Ultimately, music cannot be stifled by other limitations either: during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Levit streamed 50 “house concerts” from his home in Berlin.

The concert will be broadcasted live on ČT Art and ČRo Vltava. TV and radio coverage of the concert will be provided by EBU member organisations.

  • Dress code: dark suit
  • Doors close: 7:50 pm
  • End of concert: 9:55 pm


Wiener Philharmoniker

There is perhaps no other musical ensemble more closely associated with the history and tradition of European classical music than the Vienna Philharmonic. In the course of the past 180 years, this orchestra has experienced and influenced the course of musical history around the world. Even to this day, prominent soloists and conductors refer to the unique "Viennese Sound" as the outstanding quality that sets it apart from other orchestras.


This success story had its origins in the desire to found a symphony orchestra dedicated to the ideal of performing at the highest level the symphonies of the Viennese classical composers, particularly Ludwig van Beethoven. This artistic goal could only be implemented through the enthusiastic affirmation of the musicians of the Vienna Court Opera Orchestra, who in 1842 made the decision to present "Philharmonic Concerts", independently of their duties at the opera theater and within a framework of complete artistic and entrepreneurial autonomy. This produced a structure based on democratic principles in which all aspects of the decision-making process rest in the hands of the musicians themselves.

One of the founding fathers was composer and conductor Otto Nicolai, to whom the maxim is attributed, "to perform the best repertoire, with the best personnel, in the best possible manner." The high quality standards implied in this statement, to which the orchestra remains obligated to this day, serves to explain the fascination that the orchestra has held from the beginning for prominent composers and conductors, as well as for audiences all over the world. The orchestra's conscious maintenance of a homogenous musical style, carefully bequeathed from one generation to the next, is an expression of its striving to uphold tradition in an innovative manner.

The inimitability of the orchestra's sound is also based on the singular relationship between the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. One of the orchestra's founding principles is that only a musician from the opera orchestra can become a member of the Vienna Philharmonic. The musicians are required to perform in both orchestras, and to this day, every future Philharmonic musician begins his or her career with an audition for the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and only after a three-year waiting period becomes eligible for full membership in the Vienna Philharmonic.

Another unique feature of this democratic structure is that the orchestra itself is solely responsible for the organization of concerts and the selection of repertoire, as well as the engaging of conductors and soloists. In 1860, the Subscription Concert Series was introduced, for which one conductor was engaged for an entire season. These concerts formed a solid artistic and economic basis that remains in place to this day. Beginning in 1933, the orchestra adapted a system of guest conductors, which promotes a wide spectrum of artistic encounters with the most prominent conductors of each generation.

Since 1870, the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna, with its unique aesthetic and acoustical characteristics, has proven to be the ideal venue for Vienna Philharmonic concerts. The orchestra's first foreign tour took place in 1900 with a concert tour to Paris under the baton of Gustav Mahler. Another memorable year was 1922, which saw not only the orchestra's first participation at the Salzburg Festival, but also the first overseas tour to South America. This marked the beginning of an active touring schedule which has taken the orchestra to all continents on the globe and in recent years has included regularly scheduled concerts in Germany, Japan, the USA and China.

The Vienna Philharmonic has made it its mission to communicate the humanitarian message of music into the daily lives and consciousness of its listeners. From the beginning, the orchestra has displayed a strong social consciousness, characterized by a commitment to individuals in need and the fostering of young musicians. Since 1999, an annual donation from the proceeds from the New Year's Concert has gone to diverse humanitarian organizations. In response to the Tsunami catastrophe in 2011, the Vienna Philharmonic and Suntory Music Aid Fund was founded.

The relationship to Japan and the Japanese audiences is so close that even in the pandemic years 2020 and 2021 the orchestra's tour to Japan took place after the implementation of extensive security measures and a tour-long quarantine. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Vienna Philharmonic has taken a leading role through testing and studies and became the first orchestra in the world to play concerts for live audiences after the first lockdown in June 2020.

The Vienna Philharmonic serves as cultural messengers who in their performances express the ideals of peace, humanity and reconciliation. This includes performing concerts in locations of historical significance as well as controversial and painful flashpoints in political history. These include such events as the memorial concert at the former concentration camp at Mauthausen in 2000 as well as the Concert in Sarajevo in 2014 in commemoration of the outbreak of World War I and the Concert for Peace in Versailles in 2018 in remembrance of the end of World War I.

In 2018, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Academy was founded. The academy students are selected in accordance with a strict, internationally oriented audition process and trained at the highest level during a two-year course of study. The 12 participants will learn not only instrumental perfection but also passion and enthusiasm through their interaction with the Vienna Philharmonic. The students will not only through private lessons learn the subtleties of the Viennese sound and style, but will also be trained in the audition process for not only the Vienna Philharmonic itself, but other orchestras as well. The members of the first academy class of 2019-2021 have successfully completed the program.

The orchestra has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards. Since 2008, it has been supported by its exclusive sponsor ROLEX.

The Vienna Philharmonic performs approximately 40 concerts in Vienna annually, among them the New Year's Concert and the Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn, which are broadcast in numerous countries around the world. The orchestra also has an annual summer residency at the Salzburg Festival and performs more than 50 concerts a year on its international tours. All of these activities underscore the reputation of the Vienna Philharmonic as one of the world's finest orchestras.

Wiener Philharmoniker

Jakub Hrůša

Born in the Czech Republic, Jakub Hrůša is Chief Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony, Music Director Designate of The Royal Opera, Covent Garden (Music Director from 2025), Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. He was also formerly Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra.

He is a frequent guest with many of the world’s greatest orchestras, enjoying close relationships and performing regularly with the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, NHK Symphony and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra – and in the US with The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Boston Symphony Orchestra.

As a conductor of opera, he has led productions for the Salzburg Festival (Kát’a Kabanová with the Vienna Philharmonic), Vienna State Opera (The Makropulos Case), Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Carmen and Lohengrin), Opéra National de Paris (Rusalka), and Zurich Opera (The Makropulos Case). He has also been a regular guest with Glyndebourne Festival, conducting Vanessa, The Cunning Little Vixen, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Carmen, The Turn of the Screw, Don Giovanni and La bohème, and served as Music Director of Glyndebourne On Tour for three years.

His relationships with leading vocal and instrumental soloists have included collaborations in recent seasons with Behzod Abduraimov, Piotr Anderszewski, Leif Ove Andsnes, Emanuel Ax, Lisa Batiashvili, Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, Rudolf Buchbinder, Renaud Capuçon, Gautier Capuçon, Isabelle Faust, Bernarda Fink, Julia Fischer, Sol Gabetta, Véronique Gens, Christian Gerhaher, Kirill Gerstein, Karen Gomyo, Hélène Grimaud, Augustin Hadelich, Hilary Hahn, Barbara Hannigan, Alina Ibragimova, Janine Jansen, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Karita Mattila, Leonidas Kavakos, Lang Lang, Igor Levit, Albrecht Mayer, Anne Sofie Mutter, Stephanie d’Oustrac, Emmanuel Pahud, Kian Soltani, Josef Špaček, Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Daniil Trifonov, Mitsuko Uchida, Klaus Florian Vogt, Lukáš Vondráček, Yuja Wang, Alisa Weilerstein, and Frank Peter Zimmermann.

As a recording artist, Jakub Hrusa has received numerous awards and nominations for his discography.Most recently, he received the Opus Klassik Conductor of the Year nomination and the ICMA prize for Symphonic Music for his recording of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, and the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik for his recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, both with Bamberg Symphony. In 2021, his disc of Martinů and Bartók violin concertos with Bamberg Symphony and Frank Peter Zimmermann (BIS) was nominated for BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone awards, and his recording of the Dvořák Violin Concerto with the Bavarian Radio Symphony and Augustin Hadelich was nominated for a Grammy ® Award. His recordings of Dvořák and Martinů Piano Concertos with Ivo Kahánek and the Bamberg Symphony (Supraphon), and Vanessa from Glyndebourne (Opus Arte) both won BBC Music Magazine Awards in 2020. Other recent releases include Dvořák and Brahms Symphonies with Bamberg Symphony (Tudor), Suk’s Asrael Symphony with the Bavarian Radio Symphony (BR Klassik), and Dvořák’s Requiem and Te Deum with the Czech Philharmonic (Decca).

Jakub Hrůša studied conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where his teachers included Jiří Bělohlávek. He is currently President of the International Martinů Circle and The Dvořák Society. He was the inaugural recipient of the Sir Charles Mackerras Prize, and in 2020 was awarded both the Antonín Dvořák Prize by the Czech Republic’s Academy of Classical Music, and – together with Bamberg Symphony – the Bavarian State Prize for Music.

Jakub Hrůša - conductor

Igor Levit

With an alert and critical mind, Igor Levit places his art in the context of social events and understands it as inseparably linked to them. The New York Times describes him as one of the “most important artists of his generation”. Igor Levit is Musical America’s “Recording Artist of the Year 2020” and the 2018 Gilmore Artist. In June 2022 his Album “On DSCH” has been awarded the “Recording of the Year” Award as well as the Instrumental Award of the BBC Music Magazine.

As a recitalist Igor Levit regularly performs at the world’s most renowned concert halls and festivals. He is regular soloist with the world’s leading orchestras such as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic. Igor Levit opened the 2022 Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival together with Alan Gilbert and the NDR Elbphilharmonieorchester followed by recitals at the Salzburger Festspiele and the Lucerne Festival as well as concerts with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Sir Antonio Pappano at the Musikfest Berlin and at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.

In the 2022–23 season Igor Levit presents his new recital program featuring works by Brahms, Hersch, Liszt and Wagner among others in Berlin, Hamburg, London, Madrid, Milano, New York, Paris, Prague and Rome. Igor Levit is one of Vienna’s Musikverein’s portrait artists of the 2022–23 season. In June 2023 he joins the San Francisco Symphony and Esa-Pekka Salonen for a multi-week residency. In spring 2021 Igor Levit and the Lucerne Festival announced a multi-year collaboration for a new piano festival curated by Igor Levit, its first edition to take place in May 2023. With the 2022–23 season, Igor Levit joins the Festival Heidelberger Frühling music festival as its Co-Artistic Director.

Igor Levit’s 2019 highly-acclaimed first recording of the 32 Beethoven-Sonatas was awarded the Gramophone “Artist of the Year” Award as well as the Opus Klassik in autumn 2020. In spring 2021 Hanser published Igor Levit’s first book “House Concert”, co-authored by Florian Zinnecker. Fall 2022 will see the release of Igor Levit’s new solo album for Sony Classical “Tristan” – featuring his first orchestral recording Henze’s “Tristan” with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and Franz Welser-Möst – as well as the release of the feature documentary “Igor Levit – No Fear” in cinemas in Germany.

Born in Nizhni Novgorod, Igor Levit moved to Germany with his family at the age of eight. He completed his piano studies in Hannover with the highest score in the history of the institute. His teachers included Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Matti Raekallio, Bernd Goetzke, Lajos Rovatkay and Hans Leygraf. Igor Levit was the youngest participant in the 2005 International Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv, where he won silver, the special prize for chamber music, the audience prize and the special prize for the best performance of contemporary pieces. In spring 2019 he was appointed professor for piano at his alma mater, the University of Music, Theatre and Media Hanover.

For his political commitment Igor Levit has been awarded the 5th International Beethoven Prize in 2019 followed by the award of the "Statue B" of the International Auschwitz Committee in January 2020. His 53 Twitter-streamed live house concerts during the lockdown in spring 2020 garnered a worldwide audience, offering a sense of community and hope in a time of isolation and desperation. In October 2020 Igor Levit was recognized with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In Berlin, where he makes his home, Igor Levit is playing on a Steinway D Grand Piano kindly given to him by the Trustees of Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells.

Igor Levit - 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.