Tuesday, September 17, 8.00 pm

Tickets for this concert can be purchased online or from 30 August 2024 at the Rudolfinum Ticket Centre. Tickets cannot be purchased at the St Agnes Convent.

Ticket prices

490 – 390 Kč


Antonín Dvořák: String Quartet No. 7 in A Minor, Op. 16, B. 45Erwin Schulhoff: String Quartet No. 1, Op. 8Antonín Dvořák: String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 77, B. 49

If Antonín Dvořák could come to the St Agnes Convent to attend a performance of his Seventh String Quartet, he would probably be surprised to see that the same ensemble that played it as its world premiere is here today. The first public performance was given by a quartet led by Antonín Bennewitz, a professor at the Prague Conservatoire, who would later become its director. Appearing at the Dvořák Prague Festival is a leading Czech string quartet that takes its name from him, lovingly fostering the legacy of a musician who was a cofounder of the Bohemian Quartet, placing him at the roots of today’s Czech chamber music tradition. Besides the String Quartet No. 7, in which Dvořák solidified his style, the Bennewitz Quartet will also perform the String Quintet No. 2, which dates from the same period and amounted to another milestone on the composer’s path to fame. Between works by Dvořák, Ervín Schulhoff, another composer being celebrated during this Year of Czech Music with an anniversary ending with the numeral “4”, will get to have his say. His music is every bit as inventive as Dvořák’s and is marked by the flamboyance of the inter-war period and by the composer’s personality. The First String Quartet is a work from a happy period when the world was recuperating from the First World War and the Spanish flu, when Europe had no idea that the Great Depression was looming, and when Europeans were first discovering jazz. It is in the third movement (alla Slovacca) that Schulhoff explicitly lays claim to the vitality of his country’s folk heritage.

Wies de Boevé & Josef Špaček at the Ševčík AcademyPlay
  • Dress code: dark suit
  • Doors close: 7.55 pm
  • End of concert: 9.45 pm


Bennewitz Quartet

The Bennewitz Quartet is one of the top international chamber ensembles, a status confirmed not only by their victories in two prestigious competitions – Osaka in 2005 and Prémio Paolo Borciani, Italy in 2008, but also by the critical acclaim it receives. As early as 2006, the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote: “... the music was remarkable not just for its clarity of structure, but for the beautiful tonal palette and purity of intonation in its execution. Only very rarely does one experience such skilfully crafted and powerful harmonies... Great art.” The ensemble has received various awards on the Czech music scene as well. In 2004, the quartet was awarded The Prize of the Czech Chamber Music Society, and in 2019, the four musicians won the Classic Prague Award for the Best Chamber Music Performance of the year.

The quartet currently performs at major venues both in the Czech Republic and abroad (Wigmore Hall London, Musikverein Wien, Konzerthaus Berlin, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées Paris, The Frick Collection New York, Seoul Art Center, Rudolfinum, and others), and is regularly invited to festivals such as the Salzburger Festspiele, Luzerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus, and Prague Spring. The group has had the privilege of working with various outstanding artists: Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Alexander Melnikov, Vadim Gluzman, Isabel Charisius, Pietro de Maria, Reto Bieri, Danjulo Ishizaka, and others.

The Bennewitz Quartet especially enjoys playing and performing on the Czech domestic music scene. Particular highlights have included their cooperation with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and its conductor Jiří Bělohlávek for a performance of Bohuslav Martinů’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra. The group has made a recording of both quartets by Leoš Janáček for Czech Television in the unique space of Villa Tugendhat in Brno. Czech Radio regularly records major concerts performed by the quartet.

The members of the quartet place a lot of emphasis on the inspiring and sometimes challenging choice of their concert repertoire. In 2012 and 2015, the ensemble performed in one evening the complete set of Bartók’s six string quartets in Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and in Swedish Upsala. In 2014, the four presented a premiere of The Songs of Immigrants by Slavomír Hořínka in Konzerthaus Berlin. In 2019, the quartet added a new CD to its discography featuring the music of the persecuted Jewish composers H. Krása, V. Ullmann, E. Schulhoff and P. Haas under the Supraphon label.

In the 2023/24 season, the Bennewitz Quartet will return to a number of European venues (Stuttgart, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Linz, Bilbao) and will make their debuts in Klagenfurt, Darmstadt, and Duisburg. The quartet will again perform in the United States and Canada, and will continue its various concert projects in the Czech Republic, including its collaboration on an integral performance of Dvořák's string quartets as part of the Dvořák Festival Prague. The ensemble is currently preparing to release a new CD featuring string quartets by "those who used to play together" - Haydn, Mozart, Vaňhal and Dittersdorf.

Since 1998, the quartet has borne the name of the violinist and director of a music conservatory in Prague, Antonín Bennewitz (1833–1926), who greatly contributed to the establishment of the Czech violin school. The most significant musicians who can be counted among his disciples are Otakar Ševčík and František Ondříček, and above all Karel Hoffman, Josef Suk, and Oskar Nedbal who, under Bennewitz’s influence, formed the famous Bohemian Quartet.

source: www.bennewitzquartet.com

Bennewitz Quartet

Wies de Boevé

Winner of six international music competitions, Wies de Boevé is widely regarded as one of the foremost contemporary double bass players. In 2015, he became the first double bass player to win the German Music Competition in its 40-year history. The following year, he won an award at the 65th ARD International Music Competition, and in 2017, he won first prize at the renowned Bottesini Competition.

As principal double bass of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, he has had the opportunity to collaborate with some of today’s foremost conductors. He has also performed with other prestigious orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Wies de Boevé takes pleasure in presenting lesser-known solo double bass repertoire to his audiences. Whether in double bass concerts accompanied by an orchestra or in solo piano recitals, his performances never fail to captivate. His first CD featuring original compositions from the 19th and 20th centuries was released by GENUIN in 2016. In January 2020, Warner Classics released his second CD titled Via Bottesini, which contains concertos by Italian double bass virtuoso Giovanni Bottesini. He collaborated with musicians such as Isabelle Faust, Lorenzo Coppola, and Reinhold Friedrich to record Stravinsky’s “A Soldier’s Tale” for the Harmonia Mundi record label. As a chamber musician, he is often invited to prestigious festivals and has shared the stage with notable artists including Janine Jansen, Bruno Giuranna, Christoph Coin, Christian Poltéra and Pascal Moraguès.

Wies de Boevé holds teaching positions at both the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in Switzerland and as a professor at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid. He teaches at the Orchestral Academy of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and conducts masterclasses all over the world, including an annual masterclass at the Tibor Varga Academy in Sion. Since 2013, he has also served as a double bass instructor for the European Union Youth Orchestra. 

Wies de Boevé - double bass

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.