Saturday, September 14, 8.00 pm
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Programme

Josef Suk: Meditation on the Old Czech Chorale „St. Wenceslas“, Op. 35aAntonín Dvořák: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 53, B. 108Camille Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78, „Organ Symphony“

In the Dvořák Collection programming series, which focuses on the composer’s instrumental concertos this year, a performance of his popular Violin Concerto in A Minor could not be overlooked. It will be heard in a performance by one of today’s most admired violinists, Gil Shaham, whose Dvořák creations are always of the highest calibre – the violinist’s heartfelt playing is an ideal match for the character of the composer’s musical language. His partner will be the Prague Philharmonia with its chief conductor Emmanuel Villaume, who will open the concert with Suk’s Meditation on the Old Czech Chorale “St. Wenceslas”. The highpoint of the evening will be the Organ Symphony, an impressive work by Dvořák’s French contemporary Camille Saint-Saëns.

  • Dress code: dark suit
  • Doors close: 19.55
  • End of concert: 21.50

Artists

PKF Prague Philharmonia

The Prague Philharmonia was founded in 1994 by Jiří Bělohlávek as an ensemble comprising fresh graduates of music schools. Bělohlávek led the orchestra until 2005, when for three seasons his place was taken by the Swiss conductor Kaspar Zehnder. From 2008 to 2016 its chief conductor and artistic director was Jakub Hrůša, and since the 2015-16 season it has been led by the French conductor Emmanuel Villaume. From the outset its core repertoire has been music by the Viennese classics, supplemented by works from the Romantic period and a special concert series of music from the twentieth century. During the twenty-three years of its existence the orchestra has established a position as one of the most esteemed ensembles on the domestic scene, and it performs regularly abroad as well. Its discography includes more than eighty albums recorded for leading labels of the world (among them Deutsche Grammophon, Harmonia Mundi, and Decca), for which it has received numerous prestigious awards.

PKF Prague Philharmonia

Emmanuel Villaume

French conductor Emmanuel Villaume was born in Strasbourg where he graduated from the conservatoire. He then continued his education in Paris, earning diplomas in literature, philosophy, and musicology. For several seasons he served as artistic director and chief conductor of the Slovenian Philharmonic and chief conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic. He conducts in many opera houses of the world including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Milan’s La Scala, La Fenice in Venice, and the Royal Opera (Covent Garden) in London. He has also led such prestigious orchestras as the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, L’Orchestre de Paris, L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and the Danish National Symphony among many others. For nine seasons he held the post of music director for the opera and orchestra of the Spoleto Festival in the USA. He records for prestigious labels: Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, and EMI. Since the 2015-16 season he has been chief conductor and artistic director of the Prague Philharmonia.

Emmanuel Villaume - conductor

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

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.