Thursday, September 12, 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. 3 in D Major, B. 18Leoš Janáček: Youth, suite for wind sextet (arr. for string quartet Kryštof Mařatka)Antonín Dvořák: String Quintet No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 1, B. 7

Youth, youth, and even more youth. While Antonín Dvořák had written three string quartets and his first string quintet before reaching the age of 30, Leoš Janáček finally got around to writing his chamber work titled Mládí (Youth) when he was 70 years old. He was at work on the opera The Makropulos Affair, in which he touched upon the nearness of death, but also the immortality that he ultimately won for himself through his music. By diverting his attention to a smaller-scale chamber work, he proved (like many times before) that youth really is not a question of age. Janáček’s spontaneous, sometimes mischievous original is written for wind instruments; the work has been arranged for string quartet by the Czech-French contemporary composer Kryštof Mařatka. Janáček was capable of reaching the greatest depths of human feeling, but in Youth he chose that which is most positive. Janáček admired Dvořák as a model, and they later became friends. When Dvořák was first taking flight as a composer, he followed classical models, but his early works exhibit an increasingly seductive wealth of ideas and moods as well as emerging compositional mastery. For the performance of his early quintet, the Zemlinsky Quartet has invited the young Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing. 

Youth, suite for wind sextet (L. Janáček)Play
  • Dress code: dark suit
  • Doors close: 7.55 pm
  • End of concert: 9.45 pm


Zemlinsky Quartet

Founded in 1994 while the members were still students, the ZEMLINSKY QUARTET has become a much-lauded example of the Czech string quartet tradition. The Zemlinsky Quartet won the First Grand Prize at the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition in 2010. They have also been awarded top prizes at the Banff International String Quartet Competition (2007), Prague Spring International Music Competition (2005) and London International String Quartet Competition (2006), where they also received the Audience Prize. The Quartet was the recipient of the Alexander Zemlinsky Advancement Award in 2008. Other notable prizes include Beethoven International Competition (1999), New Talent Bratislava (2003), Martinů Foundation String Quartet Competition (2004), and the Prize of Czech Chamber Music Society (2005). In the season 2016/17, the Zemlinsky Quartet was appointed as the residential ensemble of the Czech Chamber Music Society.

The Zemlinsky Quartet performs regularly in the Czech Republic and abroad (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Monaco, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Canada, the USA, Brazil, Japan, South Korea). Recent major appearances of the Zemlinsky Quartet include London’s Wigmore Hall, Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Library of Congress, Place des Arts in Montreal, Prague Spring Festival, and their New York debut at the Schneider/New School Concerts Series. Their vast repertoire contains more than 350 works ranging from Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Dvořák to works by contemporary composers. The Zemlinsky Quartet often cooperates with other renowned Czech and foreign artists (N. Mndoyants, F. Klieser, J. Brown, M. Collins, K. Zehnder, M. Kasík, I. Kahánek, M. Kaňka, K. Untermüller, the Pražák Quartet, the Prague Chamber Ballet, and others). The ensemble also regularly records for Czech Radio. The members of the quartet are also individual prize winners of several competitions (Concertino Praga, Spohr International Competition Weimar, Tribune of Young Artists UNESCO, Rotary Music Competition Nürnberg, the Beethoven International Competition, the Kocian International Competition).

Between 2007 and 2018, the Zemlinsky Quartet recorded exclusively under the French record label Praga Digitals. Their first 4-CD set of Dvořák’s early works for string quartet received the coveted French award, “Diapason d´Or“ prize in March 2007. In 2014, the Zemlinsky Quartet became only the fourth quartet in history to record the complete string quartets by Antonín Dvořák. Other Praga Digitals releases include all the string quartets and early chamber music of Alexander Zemlinsky, a 4-CD set of Schubert’s early quartets, a rare disc of Spanish music for strings, the famous quartets by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, five Mendelssohn-Bartholdy string quartets, works by A. Glazunov, and a relatively unknown but excellent piano quintet by M. Weinberg (in cooperation with the young Russian pianist Nikita Mndoyants). The ensemble has produced two CDs in cooperation with the Pražák Quartet (Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Strauss, Brahms, Martinů). In cooperation with the Kocian Quartet, the ensemble has recorded the complete string quartets by Czech contemporary composer V. Kalabis. Many recordings of the Zemlinsky Quartet have received universal critical acclaim in various publications such as The Strad, Gramophone, Diapason, and Fanfare magazines.

While students at the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts Prague, the ensemble was coached by members of renowned Czech string quartets including the Talich, Prague, Kocian and Pražák Quartets. The ensemble also took part in several master classes including ProQuartet, in France and Sommerakademie in Reichenau, Austria, where they were awarded First Prize for the best interpretation of a work by Janáček. From 2005 to 2008, the quartet studied with Walter Levin, the first violinist of the LaSalle Quartet. Their recent mentor has been Josef Klusoň, violist of the Pražák Quartet.

Between 2006-2011, the Zemlinsky Quartet were Assistant Quartet-in-Residence at Musik-Akademie Basel in Switzerland. Music education is an important part of their professional life and during their tours, the quartet is often invited to give master classes to students of all ages. They also perform educational concerts for students. František Souček and Petr Holman were recently appointed Professors at the Prague Conservatory.

The Zemlinsky Quartet is named after the Austrian composer, conductor, and teacher Alexander Zemlinsky (1871–1942), whose enormous contribution to Czech, German and Jewish culture during his 16-year residence in Prague had been underrated until recently. His four string quartets (the second one being dedicated to his student and brother-in-law Arnold Schönberg) are part of the basic repertoire of the ensemble. Since 2005, the quartet has maintained a special relationship with the Alexander Zemlinsky Foundation in Vienna.

source: zemlinskyquartet.cz

Zemlinsky Quartet

Eldbjørg Hemsing

One of the most charismatic and leading young violinists on the international scene today, Eldbjørg Hemsing, is acclaimed for her “…radiant and sophisticated performances” (BBC Music Magazine) and is a musician committed to bringing her art form to new and emerging audiences across the globe. Her international career took off quickly, leading to four award-winning albums and world premieres of numerous compositions in many of the greatest halls of the world. 

The 2023/24 season sees her appearing with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra under Yan Pascal Tortelier and returning to Trondheim Symfoniorkester, alongside engagements with the Den Norske Opera and the Xi'an Symphony Orchestra. In addition to her classical repertoire, Eldbjørg Hemsing is strongly dedicated to contemporary Nordic music, and will perform Anders Hillborg's Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, a project that follows last season's recording of Rolf Wallin's Whirld Violin Concerto with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra under Andris Poga. Duo recitals and chamber music programmes in trio with Daniel Müller-Schott and Martin Stadtfeld will take her to Germany for the Dresden Music Festival and the Heidelberger Frühling Festival, to Bærum in Norway, and to the US.

Recent highlights include performances of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 with the Orchestre National d’Île de France, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Oslo Philharmonic and Bruch’s Violin Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Santtu-Mathias Rouvali. Eldbjørg Hemsing regularly collaborates with orchestras such as the Bergen Philharmonic, the Belgian National Orchestra, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, the Shanghai and Hong Kong philharmonic orchestras, and is a welcome guest at prestigious venues such as the Lincoln Center New York, the Kennedy Center Washington, Wigmore Hall, the Verbier Festival, and the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing. 

She has also performed at numerous major global events and venues such as the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, the United Nations, the Shanghai Expo, and the UN Security Council. She has developed close collaboration with composer Tan Dun with whom she has premiered, toured, and recorded several award-winning works. She is a passionate speaker on the power of classical music beyond its traditional borders.

Eldbjørg Hemsing’s first album on Sony Classical with the Arctic Philharmonic and Christian Kluxen, Arctic, was released in February 2023 and is devoted to the rich natural soundscapes of the Arctic. After an astonishing five nominations, the album gained her an Opus Klassik Award in the category Classic without Limits. Her current discography of critically acclaimed recordings includes an album of Grieg's violin sonatas on BIS, which won the Spellemann Prize in Norway as Recording of the Year 2020. Her second album, Fire Ritual, centers around Tan Dun’s Violin Concerto, composed for and premiered by Eldbjørg Hemsing, and her debut album in 2018 featuring Hjalmar Borgström’s Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No.1, recorded with the Wiener Symphoniker and Olari Elts.

A musical entrepreneur, Hemsing is actively involved in a multitude of projects, all rooted in her passionate interest to bring classical music to a more mainstream audience. As Senior Artistic Advisor of the prestigious global research firm Advisory Board for the Arts, she spearheads ventures to bring transformative thinking to arts organisations and artists. She co-founded the Hemsing Festival and is the Artistic Director of the SPIRE, an innovative annual competition to promote and nurture young artists in their artistic and personal self-development in the world of classical music.

Born in Valdres, Norway, Eldbjørg Hemsing studied at the prestigious Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo and with Professor Boris Kuschnir in Vienna. She plays a 1707 Antonio Stradivari 'Rivaz, Baron Gutmann' violin, on loan from the Dextra Musica Foundation. 

source: Harrison Parrot

Eldbjørg Hemsing - violin

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.