An overture to the festival in a place linked to the life and work of Antonín Dvořák
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Saturday, August 31, 4.30 pm

Programme

Antonín Dvořák: Three male choruses to words of Slovak folk songs, Op. 43, B. 76Antonín Dvořák: The Wild Dove Op. 110, B. 198Leoš Janáček: Four male chorusesLeoš Janáček: Amarus, cantata for solo voices, mixed chorus, and orchestra to a poem by Jaroslav Vrchlický

On the Trail of Antonín Dvořák is the traditional prelude to our festival, and this year it will take us to Brno. Between 1878 and 1897, the composer made multiple visits to the Moravian metropolis. It was Leoš Janáček who played a pivotal role in shaping Dvořák’s connection with the city. The two composers first met during Janáček’s studies at the Prague Organ School and their friendship endured until Dvořák’s death. Janáček greatly admired the older master, and with unwavering persistence and dedication, introduced his instrumental and vocal works to the Brno audience, cultivating a genuine devotion for Dvořák in his hometown. Janáček even conducted the world premiere of The Wild Dove symphonic poem in Brno. At a time of heated national disputes, Dvořák’s visits to Brno were viewed by the local Czech minority not only as remarkable musical events, but also as expressions of patriotism, reflecting the maturity of Czech culture. Naturally, those visits where the composer himself performed his works elicited the most enthusiastic response. Engaging in dual roles as conductor and pianist, Dvořák presented his symphonies and symphonic poems, and he also actively participated in the interpretation of his own chamber pieces, including the famed Dumky piano trio. 

  • Dress code: smart casual
  • Doors close: 4.25 pm
  • End of concert: 6.15 pm

Artists

Brno Philharmonic

The roots of the Brno Philharmonic go back to the 1870s, when the young Leoš Janáček was advocating the creation of a Czech symphony orchestra in the city. Incidentally, the music of that great 20th-century composer is the most important item in the repertoire of the orchestra, which is still regarded to this day as the authentic interpreter of his music.

The present-day Brno Philharmonic was founded in 1956 by the merger of a radio orchestra and a regional orchestra, and since then it has been a top Czech orchestra in terms of its size and importance. On tour, it has given nearly a thousand concerts in Europe, the USA, Latin America, the Far East, and the Near East. The orchestra is a regular guest at foreign and domestic festivals, where it often joins artistic forces with the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno.


The orchestra makes recordings regularly for Czech Radio and Czech Television. Besides making recordings on various labels (Supraphon, Sony Music, IMG Records, BMG, Channel 4), in 2020 the Brno Philharmonic established its own recording label Filharmonie Brno. The orchestra’s activity of making custom recordings for global clientele has been growing dynamically through the agency Czech Orchestra Recordings.

Such prominent Czech and foreign conductors as Břetislav Bakala, František Jílek, Petr Altrichter, Jiří Bělohlávek, Sir Charles Mackerras, Jakub Hrůša, and Tomáš Netopil have been associated with the orchestra’s history. Since the 2018/2019 season, the Brno Philharmonic’s chief conductor and artistic director has been Dennis Russell Davies.

Since 2000, the Brno Philharmonic has been presenting a summer open-air festival at Brno’s Špilberk Castle, and in 2012 it became the presenter of the renowned festivals Moravian Autumn, the Easter Festival of Sacred Music, and the Exposition of New Music. It organises the internationally acclaimed children’s choir Kantiléna, since 2010 it has been taking part in Mozart’s Children, a festival of young musicians, and in 2014 it established its own Orchestral Academy.

Today, the Brno Philharmonic is not only a strong player in the field of symphonic music at home and abroad, but also a leading organiser of the musical season in the second-largest Czech city, an active festival presenter, and a creative leader in the field of orchestral dramaturgy. The orchestra’s home is the Neo-Renaissance Besední dům, “Brno’s Musikverein”, designed by Theophil von Hansen in 1873, and it is looking forward to a new, modern concert hall designed by the team of architects Tomasz Konior and Petr Hrůša and the acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota.

Brno Philharmonic

Robert Kružík

Robert Kružík belongs to the youngest generation of Czech conductors. He currently works as the chief conductor of the Zlín Philharmonic (from the 2021/22 season), the permanent conductor of the Janáček Opera NdB (from the 2015/2016 season) and the permanent guest conductor of the Brno Philharmonic (from the 2018/19 season). From the 2025/2026 season, he will become the new chief conductor of the Janáček Opera in Brno. He also worked as a conductor of the Moravian-Silesian National Theater in Ostrava. He is the laureate of the Jiří Bělohlávek prize, which is awarded to young Czech artists under the age of thirty who have achieved extraordinary success in their field and are taking care of the tradition of Czech music at home and abroad.


In March 2023, he made his debut with the Czech Philharmonic in Rudolfinum, Prague. With the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra he made his debut in 2020 at Prague Spring Festival. Robert collaborated with leading soloists such as violinists Esther Yoo, Josef Špaček, Jan Mráček and Jiří Vodička, cellists Raphael Wallfisch and Andrei Ionițǎ or Grammy winner Sumi Jo, Kateřina Kněžíková, Sung Kiu Park, phenomenal trumpeter Reinhold Friedrich and others. As a conductor, he performed at leading national and international festivals: Prague Spring, Smetanova Litomyšl, St. Wenceslas Music Festival, MHF Leoš Janáček, Festiwal Eufonie in Warsaw.

He cooperates with many symphony orchestras, such as the MDR-Sinfonieorchester, Czech Philharmonic, Sinfonia Varsovia, Brno Philharmonic, PKF – Prague Philharmonia, Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK, Czech Radio SOČR Symphony Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic, Košice State Philharmonic, Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava , Moravian Philharmonic Olomouc, Pardubice Chamber Philharmonic, South Bohemian Chamber Philharmonic.

At the National Theater in Brno, he staged Rossini's opera Count Ora, Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades and Eugene Onegin, Smetana's Libuša, which was performed on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Czechoslovak Republic, Richard Strauss's Pink Cavalier and Verdi's Otello. His wide range of operas includes works by composers Mozart, Smetana, Dvořák, Martinů, Janáček, Donizetti, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Bizet, Verdi, Puccini, etc.

This Brno native started out as a cellist. He graduated from the Brno Conservatory, where in addition to playing the cello (with Miroslav Zichy) he also devoted himself to conducting (with Stanislav Kummer). He successfully participated in a number of cello competitions, such as the Prague Spring, the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation Competition, the Leoš Janáček International Competition in Brno. He completed a study internship at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in Switzerland. He expanded his knowledge and experience at master courses in conducting with Norbert Baxa, Johannes Schlaefli and David Zinman. 

Robert Kružík - conductor

Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno

The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno choir represents the absolute pinnacle of choral artistry not only domestically, but also in a worldwide context. The conductors, orchestras, and soloists the orchestra has collaborated with speak of the choir in superlatives. Music critics primarily acclaim the compactness of sound and the wide range of expressive resources at their disposal. The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno (founded in 1990) appears at all prestigious European festivals and at important concerts, and the ensemble is always able to thrill audiences with its extraordinary musical feeling.


The man behind the choir’s successes is its founder, choirmaster and director Petr Fiala (1943). A graduate of the Brno Conservatoire and of the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno (piano, composition, conducting), he has written 200 compositions. He has been active as a choirmaster and conductor for nearly 60 years.

The second choirmaster of the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno is Joel Hána.

The choir focuses on performing the oratorio, cantata, and opera repertoire. Thanks to its excellence, the choir gives more than 90 concerts each year at home and abroad, collaborating with the world’s top orchestras and conductors.

The choir has an extensive discography and has won numerous awards. In 2007 it received two important European prizes – Echo Klassik for Ensemble of the Year 2007 (performances of Bruckner’s motets) and Recording of the Year 2007 for Liszt’s oratorio Christus. The choir has also won prizes on other continents. In September 2011, the Japanese music criticism journal Geijutsu Disc Review awarded the choir the prestigious Tokusen Award for their live recording of Dvořák’s Requiem. The Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno won a prestigious 2019 Classic Prague Award in the Vocal Performance category.

The activity of the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno is supported financially by the South Moravia Region, the City of Brno, and the Czech Ministry of Culture. The General Partner of the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno is the company TESCAN ORSAY HOLDING, a.s.

Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno

Petr Fiala

The choirmaster and conductor Petr Fiala (*1943) graduated from the Brno Conservatoire (piano, composition, conducting), and in 1971 he completed his studies at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in the studio of Prof. Jan Kapr. Besides teaching (he was a professor at the Brno Conservatoire) and composing (he has written nearly 200 works), he has been working intensively for over 50 years as a choirmaster and conductor. As a composer and conductor, Petr Fiala is a laureate of several national and international competitions, and he works as an instructor at conducting courses and as a member of international competition juries.


He is invited to guest conduct Czech and foreign orchestras and choirs for performances of works for voices and orchestra. In 1990 he founded the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno, and under his leadership the choir has earned a place among Europe’s finest choral ensembles. In 2009 he received the Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius from the Czech Bishops’ Conference for his outstanding achievements as a conductor and composer. In 2013 Petr Fiala received the Brno City Prize in the field of music for his many years of artistic activity and representation of the city of Brno, and in 2016 he received the South Moravian Region Award for significant representation of the South Moravian Region in the realm of culture.

Petr Fiala - choirmaster

Pavlína Švestková

Pavlína Švestková built her singing foundations with Anna Mikšátková, under whose guidance she won many singing competitions. In 2006, she won the Bohuslav Martinů National Competition in Prague. In the same year, she graduated from the Pedagogical Lyceum in Brno with a specialisation in musical arts. She graduated from the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno under the guidance of Associate Professor Jaroslava Janská. She also studied singing with Professor Tatiana Teslia. In 2012, she was a visiting student at The University of Malta in a singing class taught by Professor Claire Massi and Dr. John Galea.


Among her notable achievements is her performing in St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, under the baton of Professor Dr. Dion Buhagiar. In 2011, she made her debut as a soloist of the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno at the Prague Proms International Festival, performing in a concert featuring film music by composer Ennio Morricone, who conducted the concert personally. She has also performed under the baton of various world-renowned conductors such as Steven Sloane, John Axelrod, Andreas Sebastian Weiser, Leoš Svárovský, Petr Altrichter, and others.

She has collaborated with many prominent Czech and foreign ensembles, such as the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Barocco sempre giovane, Bochumer symphoniker, and others. Pavlína Švestková enjoys performing baroque, classical, and sacred music. 

Pavlína Švestková - soprano

Jaroslav Březina

After completing his studies at the Prague Conservatoire with Zdeněk Jankovský, he continued private instruction with Václav Zítek. During his studies, he became a member of the vocal group Dobrý večer kvintet. His concert activity has been extensive, particularly in projects featuring a Baroque and classical repertoire, with performances on concert stages in Japan, Austria, Norway, Italy (including renditions of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater in Rome and Pisa), Germany, France, and Spain. He has collaborated with renowned conductors such as J. Bělohlávek, Ch. Mackerras, O. Dohnányi, S. Baud, G. Albrecht, and T. Netopil, among others.


Since 1993, he has been a soloist at the National Theatre Opera in Prague, where he has brought to life many roles in both a domestic and international repertoire, including Mozart’s Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Tito (La clemenza di Tito), Tamino (The Magic Flute), Pedrillo (The Abduction from the Seraglio), and Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Count Almaviva (Rossini: The Barber of Seville), Dancairo (Bizet: Carmen), Verdi’s Fenton (Falstaff), Alfredo (La traviata) and Macduff (Macbeth), Beppe (Leoncavallo: Pagliacci), Zinoviy Borisovich (Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District), Smetana’s Vašek and Jeník (The Bartered Bride), Vítek (Dalibor), Šťáhlav (Libuše), Skřivánek and Vít (The Secret) and Michálek (The Devil‘s Wall), Dvořák’s Jiří and Benda (The Jacobin) and Jirka (The Devil and Kate), Janáček’s Laca (Jenůfa), Kudrjáš and Tichon (Káťa Kabanová), Schoolmaster and Mosquito (The Cunning Little Vixen), and Brouček (The Excursions of Mr. Brouček), Martinů’s Yannakos and Panait (The Greek Passion) and Maškaron (The Plays of Mary), Nemorino (Donizetti: The Elixir of Love), Spirit of the Mask (Britten: Gloriana), and others. He has sung in recordings of Ryba’s Czech Christmas Mass (Deutsche Grammophon), Zelenka’s coronation opera Sub olea pacis et palma virtutis, which won the Cannes Classical Awards in 2002, Janáček’s opera Šárka, and Dvořák’s opera The Stubborn Lovers (the latter three were released by Supraphon).

Jaroslav has performed Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared at the Teatro Real in Madrid, the National Theatre, the Moravian Autumn and the Janáček’s Hukvaldy festivals as part of the Czech Philharmonic concert season and, in 1998–2001, at regular performances of this cycle at the National Theatre in Prague. In 2016, he portrayed Rechtor in The Cunning Little Vixen in Jan Latham-Koenig and Robert Carsen’s production at the Teatro Reggio in Turin, as well as Števa Buryja in concert performances of Jenůfa in Prague and London with Jiří Bělohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic. In 2022, he performed as Tichon (Káťa Kabanová) in a production directed by Jakub Hrůša and Barrie Kosky at the Salzburg Festival. He has also collaborated with Czech Television (e.g. the production of B. Martinů’s opera The Voice of the Forest). Jaroslav won the Thalia Award in both 2015 and 2023. 

Jaroslav Březina - tenor

Roman Hoza

Baritone Roman Hoza studied in Brno and Vienna. He is a graduate of the prestigious Young Singers Project at the Salzburger Festspiele and completed his opera studies at the Opera National de Lyon and Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf.

In 2015, he made his debut at the National Theatre in Prague as Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, and has been a regular guest there (Don Giovanni, Dandini, Mamma Agata, Harlequin) ever since. Since September 2016, he has been a member of the solo ensemble of the National Theatre Brno, where he has performed many key roles in the baritone repertoire (Don Giovanni, Guglielmo, Rossini’s Figaro, Belcore, Escamillo, Danilo, etc.).


In the 2019/20 season, Roman Hoza returned to Deutsche Oper am Rhein, initially as a guest performer (Dandini in Rossini’s Cinderella), and one year later as a member of the permanent ensemble. On the local stage, you might have seen him as Papageno, the Count in The Marriage of Figaro, or Belcore. In the 2023/24 season, he will make his debut as Taddeo in The Italian Girl in Algiers as well as Motel in Fiddler on the Roof.

Roman Hoza is also widely recognized as an exceptional performer of concert repertoire, frequently presenting works such as Carmina Burana, Dvořák’s Te Deum, and Haydn’s Creation and The Seasons. In October 2023, he will join the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome for a performance of Dvořák’s The Spectre’s Bride, under the direction of conductor Jakub Hrůša.

Thanks to his extensive collaboration with Václav Luks and the Collegium 1704 and other baroque ensembles (Ensemble Inégal, Musica Florea, Czech Ensemble Baroque), he has appeared many times as a soloist in Händel’s Messiah, as well as in roles such as Jesus in St. John’s Passion, among others. Songs hold a special place in Roman’s singing career. He is a laureate of the Song category of the International Antonín Dvořák Competition in Karlovy Vary. Accompanied by Ahmad Hedar, he delivered Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe song cycle in Dvořák Hall in the Rudolfinum, and in 2022, he performed Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer under the baton of Robert Kružík with the Brno Philharmonic. His performances of French songs (Ravel, Ibert, and Poulenc) captivated audiences in Düsseldorf during the summer of 2023.

Roman Hoza is a frequent guest in both Czech and international opera houses, philharmonics, and festivals. He has worked alongside various accomplished conductors such as Axel Kober, Jakub Hrůša, Marc Piollet, David Crescenzi, Daniele Rustioni, Tomáš Netopil, and Vassily Sinaisky. Additionally, he has sung in productions by several directors including David Radok, Andriy Zholdak, Tatjana Gürbaca, Michael Hampe, Jiří Heřman, and many others.

Roman Hoza - baritone

Miriam Zuziaková

Miriam Zuziaková comes from a musical family. She began devoting herself to playing the piano at age five. At the Brno Conservatoire, she studied piano in the studio of Hana Pelikánová, and after graduating she continued her studies at Brno’s Janáček Academy of Performing Arts under Prof. Inessa Janíčková. Since 1990, she has been employed by the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno as a répétiteur, singer, and pianist. Since 1993, she has also been teaching at the Brno Conservatoire.

Miriam Zuziaková - piano

Besední dům Brno

Besední dům is one of the most important buildings in Brno’s historic center. This cultural shrine was, among other things, the workplace of an extraordinary composer and conductor Leoš Janáček. Janáček´s name draws to Brno his music admirers from around the world.