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Friday, September 11, 10.00 pm

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Programme

Ludwig van Beethoven: String Trio in G major, Op. 9, No. 1Alfred Schnittke: String trioAntonín Dvořák: Piano Quartet Mo. 0 in Eflat major, Op. 87, B. 162

A second contribution to the exclusive Dvořák Collection series at this year's festival will again be a piano quartet - the second and final work that Antonín Dvořák created for this combination of instruments. While the First Piano Quartet showed Dvořák on the path towards a style of his own, the Piano Quartet No. 2 in E Flat Major (1889) shows him at the absolute height of his creative powers. That same year, the composer finished his Eighth Symphony, in two years he became a professor at the Prague Conservatoire, and after two more years he departed for the USA to serve as director of a conservatoire in New York. For this performance of Dvořák's chamber music masterpiece at the St Agnes Convent, the pianist Lukáš Vondráček, curator of the festival's Chamber Series, will again joining with violinist Josef Špaček, the violist Jakub Fišer, and the cellist Tomáš Jamník. Preceding their performance of Dvořák's quartet will be the String Trio in G Major by Ludwig van Beethoven and the String Trio by Alfred Schnittke. Beethoven's trio represents the period when the twenty-eight-year-old composer was creating a style of his own and preparing the way for his first six string quartets and the First Symphony. Schnittke dedicated his String Trio (1985) to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alban Berg, and in it he graphically demonstrates his ability to combine several different styles and mould them into a single style of his own. In this case, he mixes Berg's harmonies with the rhythm of the tune Happy Birthday as if it were absolutely natural.

  • Dress code: dark suit
  • Doors close: 21.55
  • End of concert: 23.50

Artists

Josef Špaček

The violinist Josef Špaček is one of the most prominent performers of his generation. He began his violin studies at the Prague Conservatoire, and at age 18 he was admitted to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. From 2009 he continued his studies at the Juilliard School in New York in the studio of Itzhak Perlman. Since 2011 he has held the post of concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic. He has appeared as a soloist in many important concert halls of Europe, the USA, Japan, and New Zealand, and he has collaborated with a number of illustrious conductors (Christoph Eschenbach, Manfred Honeck, Jiří Bělohlávek). He has appeared as a soloist with top orchestras around the world, including the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Konzerthausorchester in Berlin, and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. He has won a number of international awards, including the title of laureate at the famed Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 2012. He has also made a highly esteemed recording of works for violin and orchestra by Dvořák, Janáček, and Suk on the Supraphon label. The violin he plays is the “LeBrun, Bouthillard” Guarneri del Gesù (1732).

Jakub Fišer

Jakub Fišer is a graduate of the Prague Conservatoire as well as Prague's Academy of Performing Arts, having studied violin with Eva Bublová, Hana Metelková, Jaroslav Foltýn, and Leoš Čepický. He has achieved numerous successes in international competitions, including the Čírenie talentov Competition in Slovakia, the Kocián Violin Competition, and the Beethoven Competition in Hradec nad Moravicí. In 2011 he won an award from the Josef Hlávka Foundation. Several times he appeared as soloist in the series 'Josef Suk Presents Young Talents', and he has performed solos in concerts of the Prague Philharmonia, the Hradec Králové Philharmonic, and the Plzeň Philharmonic. He has participated in master classes of Shlomo Mintz, Semyon Yaroshevich, and Stephen Shipps, and served as concertmaster of the Prague Philharmonia as well as guest concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic and the German Radio Philharmonic of Saarbrücken and Kaiserslautern. Currently he is first violinist in the Bennewitz Quartet.

Tomáš Jamník

Tomáš Jamník is one of the most successful Czech performers of the younger generation. He began devoting himself systematically to playing cello at the age of five, and after graduating from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague under the guidance of Prof. Josef Chuchro, he furthered his studies in Leipzig and Berlin. At the age of twenty-one, he won the 2006 Prague Spring International Competition, where he also was awarded several other special prizes. In 2010 he won an audition earning him a place in the renowned Karajan Academy in Berlin. In that context, he performed as a member of the Berlin Philharmonic and in various chamber music ensembles with members of that orchestra. Since 2011 he has been collaborating with a number of top artists including Simon Rattle, Reinhard Goebel, and Leif Ove Andsnes. Together with the violinist Jan Fišer and the pianist Ivo Kahánek, he is a founding member of the Dvořák Trio. For the Supraphon label, he has recorded the complete works of Antonín Dvořák for cello and orchestra, including the virtually unknown Cello Concerto in A Major in a special arrangement based on an orchestration by Jarmil Burghauser.

Lukáš Vondráček

The pianist Lukáš Vondráček, who turns 34 this year, is one of the most successful and distinctive Czech performers in recent times on an international scale. He is followed by his reputation of as a prodigy: he began playing piano at age two, and a year later he gave his first public performance. At age eleven he issued his first CD, and two years after that he gave his first concert tour of the USA. At thirteen he began his university studies, and at fifteen he made his debut with the Czech Philharmonic under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy. A highpoint of his artistic career so far was his triumph at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 2016, where he became the first Czech winner in history. He has appeared in solo recitals at a number of famed concert halls including Carnegie Hall v New York, the Elbephilharmonie in Hamburg, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. His appearances in the Czech Republic include this past January at the Municipal House in Prague with the Piano Concerto in F Minor by Frédéric Chopin. He is a long-time resident of Boston.

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.