opening koncert
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Sunday, September 8, 8.00 pm
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Programme

Antonín Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88, B. 163, 'English'

It would be very difficult to decide whether the biggest attraction to the opening concert of this year’s Dvořák Prague Festival is the programming or the performers. Dvořák’s famous Cello Concerto and his popular Eighth Symphony are undoubtedly not only some of his greatest music, but also some of the finest music of late-nineteenth-century Europe in general. No less exceptional are the artists who will be communicating the music to us: the RAI National Symphony Orchestra from Italy, an ensemble with an outstanding reputation, will be conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, a true celebrity among conductors, and introducing himself in the Cello Concerto will be a very sought-after musician of the younger generation, Kian Soltani. The combination of Dvořák’s ravishing music with masterful performances will definitely be the right way to start off this year’s festival.

  • Dress code: black tie
  • Doors close: 19.45
  • End of concert: 21.45

Artists

Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai

The Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai (Italian Radio and Television National Symphony Orchestra) was established in 1931 in Turin as the very first Italian radio orchestra. During the nearly ninety years of its existence, it has earned a superb reputation in Italy and beyond. It has collaborated with many star conductors such as Arturo Toscanini, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Jeffrey Tate, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Eliahu Inbal, and Gianandrea Noseda. The orchestra’s current chief conductor is James Conlon. The ensemble appears regularly on its home stage in Turin and on many tours abroad. It also devotes itself to recording activities – it has several dozen albums to its credit, mostly of music by Italian composers. The orchestra also keeps extensive archives with valuable historical documents, including the last preserved letter of Johann Sebastian Bach dated 1749 and manuscripts by Franz Liszt.

Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai

Christoph Eschenbach

Christoph Eschenbach took an interest in the art of conducting at just eleven years of age, when he was deeply moved by attending a concert led by the legendary conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler. His actual studies were under the guidance of another outstanding conductor, George Szell, and one of his advisors for many years was Herbert von Karajan. Today, Eschenbach is one of the world’s most sought-after conductors. He collaborates regularly with the best orchestras and opera houses, including those in Vienna, Paris, London, New York, Boston, Chicago, Rome, Munich, Dresden, Madrid, and Tokyo. Beginning this concert season, he is serving as the chief conductor of the Konzerthausorchester in Berlin. He has also had a brilliant career as a pianist, having received a number of important international awards, including first prize at the Clara Haskil Competition in Switzerland in 1965. As of today’s date, he has already made a remarkable total of over eighty recordings, whether in the role of a conductor or a pianist. He has also long devoted himself to teaching and supporting young talents.

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

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.