Music Director Jiri Belohlavek Leads Czech Philharmonic, First United States Tour in Six Years to 11 Cities; Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Violinist Josef Spacek & Prague Philharmonic Choir and Soloists as Guests

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 18, 2014

Music Director Jiri Belohlavek Leads
First United States Tour in Six Years to 11 Cities


Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Violinist Josef Spacek &
Prague Philharmonic Choir and Soloists as Guests


New Documentary Film and Dvorak
Symphonies and Concertos on Decca Recently Released



Tour Information

NEW YORK, NY: Beginning November 4, 2014, the Czech Philharmonic tours Costa Mesa, San Diego, Berkeley, Annapolis, Purchase, Northridge, Davis, Santa Barbara, Fairfax, and New York. The philharmonic performs in renowned venues including Carnegie Hall, the National Cathedral, Segerstrom Concert Hall, and Copley Symphony Hall, among others. Guest artists include pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, violinist Josef Spacek, and the Prague Philharmonic Choir and soloists.

The focus will be Czech composers: Janacek, Smetana and, in particular, Dvorak, to coincide with the international recording release of the complete concertos and symphonies on Decca. The philharmonic’s touring repertoire alternates between Dvorak ’s ‘New World’ Symphony and his other moving masterwork, Stabat Mater. Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Josef Spacek join the philharmonic for concerts performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Suk’s Fantasy respectively.

25th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution

On November 17, 2014, and the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the Czech Philharmonic performs Dvorak’s ‘New World’ Symphony and Smetana’s Vltava at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.. This final U.S. performance is part of a larger celebration of the Czech Republic which also includes the unveiling of a bust of Vaclav Havel in the US Capitol Building, making Havel one of four foreign dignitaries to have a bust procured at the Capitol. This celebration is hosted by the Prague Freedom Foundation, an independent charitable foundation located in Prague.

The philharmonic possesses a unique sound, drawing its players from a strong national musical heritage, and is recognized as one of the finest orchestras on today’s international stage. In only the last few months they have toured China, Italy, Germany, Austria, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Croatia. The Czech Philharmonic’s 119th season begins October 2 in Prague with pianist Behzod Abduraimov performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

History of the Philharmonic

The Czech Philharmonic’s 119-­year history is filled with extraordinary musical achievements. The orchestra’s activities have also significantly tended to manifest the artistic, cultural, and political context reflective of the times. A timeline capturing the fascinating history of the orchestra can be found here.

In 2010 a new management group was appointed at the Czech Philharmonic, following which it was announced that Jiri Belohlavek would make a welcome return as Chief Conductor after a 20 year break from this position. The new team is united to sustain the Czech Philharmonic as one of the best orchestras in the world.  With improved salaries and working conditions for the players, the shared vision of Maestro Belohlavek and the musicians is to remain true to the roots of the Czech Phil, while expanding its repertoire and audience base.

Jiri Belohlavek, born in Prague in 1946, has conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Gewandhaus Leipzig and was Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 2006‐2012.

The Rudolfinum in Prague houses one of the world’s most beautiful concert halls and is home to the Czech Philharmonic. It was founded in 1885 as a multipurpose cultural facility with concert and exhibition halls. The building continues to remain the centre of artistic life in the Czech Republic, offering concerts, exhibitions and numerous education programmes which are vital to the heritage of the nation.  



Dvorák Symphony Box Set, Documentary Film

A new film ‘Sketches of Dvorak,’ directed by Barbara Willis Sweete, documents the work and process of Maestro Belohlavek and the Czech Philharmonic from 2012-2014 in recording the complete Dvorak symphonies and concertos. Slated for broadcast in the Czech Republic on October 18, the film captures the atmosphere of change at the philharmonic through live performance, studio work and interviews as experienced by the players, conductor, administration and surviving family members of Antonin Dvorak. More information on the complete Dvorak symphonies and concertos can be found here A trailer for the film is below:  



“If I were to sum up my impression from the whole project of recording Dvorak’s symphonies and concertos, I am happy to say these one and a half years of living with his music have been a truly wonderful period. We have enjoyed it tremendously, have learned a lot and our love for the Maestro has only increased.”

Jirí Belohlávek, Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic



U.S. Tour Schedule

November 4, 8:00PM
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Costa Mesa
JANACEK: Taras Bulba
LISZT: Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major
DVORAK: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “New World”
Jiri Belohlavek, conductor
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
For more info, click here

November 5, 7:30PM
Great Hall – Valley Performing Arts Center, Northridge
DVORAK: Stabat Mater
Prague Philharmonic Choir
Lukas Vasilek, choirmaster
For more info, click here

November 6, 8:00PM
Copley Symphony Hall, San Diego
JANACEK: Taras Bulba
LISZT: Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major
DVORK: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “New World”
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
For more info, click here

November 8, 8:00PM
Barbara K. and W. Turrentine Jackson Hall, Davis
JANACEK: Taras Bulba
LISZT: Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major
DVORAK: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “New World”
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
For more info, click here

November 9, 3:00PM
Cal Performances – Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley
DVORAK: Stabat Mater
Prague Philharmonic Choir
Lukas Vasilek, choirmaster
For more info, click here

November 10, 8:00PM
The Granada, Santa Barbara
JANACEK: Taras Bulba
LISZT: Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major
DVORAK: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “New World”
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
For more info, click here

November 13, 7:30PM
Alumni Hall, Annapolis
JANACEK: Taras Bulba
SUK: Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 24
DVORAK: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “New World”
Josef Spacek Jr., violin
For more info, click here

November 14, 8:00PM
Concert Hall, Fairfax
JANACEK: Taras Bulba
LISZT: Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major
DVORAK: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “New World”
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
For more info, click here

November 15, 8:00PM
The Concert Hall – The Performing Arts Center, Purchase
JANACEK: Taras Bulba
LISZT: Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major
DVORAK: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “New World”
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
For more info, click here

November 16, 2:00PM
Carnegie Hall – Isaac Stern Auditorium, New York
JANACEK: Taras Bulba
LISZT: Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major
DVORAK: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “New World”
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
For more info, click here

November 17, 7:00PM
National Cathedral, Washington DC
SMETANA: Vltava, symphonic poem from “My Country”
DVORAK: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “New World”
For more info, click here



ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Czech Philharmonic
For over a century, the Czech Philharmonic has represented the pinnacle of Czech cultural achievement. In 1896, Dvorak conducted the orchestra’s debut performance at the Rudolfinum in Prague, still home to the orchestra’s Prague concerts, and the centre for its new Orchestral Academy. In 1908, Mahler conducted the Czech Philharmonic for the world premiere of his Symphony No.7. In 2012, Jiri Belohlavek returns as the orchestra’s Chief Conductor. Under the baton of the inimitable Jiri Belohlavek, the Czech Philharmonic looks forward to entering a new era, combining tradition with innovation as an orchestra at the height of its powers.

The partnership between Jiri Belohlavek and the Czech Philharmonic is among the most celebrated in the orchestra’s history. Together they have given significant world-premieres, including works by Jan Klusak and Milan Slavicky, as well as critically-acclaimed performances of
famous Czech works and the mainstream orchestral repertoire.

The Czech Philharmonic has received numerous awards and nominations, including ten Grands Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles-Cros, five Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie française, several Cannes Classical Awards, a position in Gramophone’s Top 20 Best Orchestras in the World (2008), as well as nominations for Grammy and Gramophone Awards.

Jiří Bělohlávek
Jiri Belohlavek was born in Prague in 1946. His love of music became apparent at an early age, and following studies in cello and conducting, he was invited to become assistant conductor to Sergiu Celibidache in 1968. Belohlavek won the Czech Young Conductors’ Competition in 1970 and reached the final of the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Competition in 1971.
After serving as its Principal Guest Conductor between 1995 and 2000, Jiri Belohlavek was appointed Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2006. He conducted the orchestra at the Last Night of the Proms in 2007, becoming the first artist whose principal language is not English to undertake this important role. He performed at the Last Night of the Proms again in 2010 and 2012.

Jiri Belohlavek has worked in the world of opera throughout his career, with regular appearances at the world’s main opera houses including Berlin, Covent Garden, Glyndebourne, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Opéra Bastille and Teatro Real. Recent and forthcoming highlights include new productions of Dvorak’s Rusalka at the Vienna Staatsoper (2014), Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades at the Zürich Opera House (2014), and Janacek’s Jenufa at the San Francisco Opera (2016).

He has an extensive discography, including a complete Dvorak Symphonies cycle recently released by Decca, and is the first conductor since Herbert von Karajan to receive the Gramophone Award for Orchestral Recording two years running. In 2012, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Jiri Belohlavek an honorary CBE for services to music.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet
One of today’s most sought-after soloists, Jean-Yves Thibaudet has the rare ability to combine poetic musical sensibilities and dazzling technical prowess. His talent at coaxing subtle and surprising colors and textures from each work he plays led The New York Times to write that “every note he fashions is a pearl…the joy, brilliance and musicality of his performance could not be missed.” Thibaudet, who brings natural charisma and remarkable musical depth to his career, has performed around the world for more than 30 years and recorded more than 50 albums.
A distinguished recording artist, Jean-Yves Thibaudet has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and won the Schallplattenpreis, the Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, a Gramophone Award, two Echo awards, and the Edison Prize.

Known for his style and elegance on and off the traditional concert stage, Thibaudet has had an impact on the world of fashion, film and philanthropy. His concert wardrobe is by celebrated London designer Vivienne Westwood. In 2004 he served as president of the prestigious Hospices de Beaune, an annual charity auction in Burgundy, France. He had an onscreen cameo in the Bruce Beresford feature film on Alma Mahler, Bride of the Wind, and his playing is showcased throughout the soundtrack. Thibaudet was the soloist on Dario Marianelli’s Oscar- and Golden Globe-award winning score for the film Atonement and his Oscar-nominated score for Pride and Prejudice. He recorded the soundtrack of the 2012 film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, composed by Alexandre Desplat. He was also featured in the 2000 PBS/Smithsonian special Piano Grand!, a piano performance program hosted by Billy Joel to pay tribute to the 300th anniversary of the piano.

Josef  Špacek
Czech violinist Josef  Spacek is fast emerging as one of the most talented virtuosos of his generation. He studied with Ida Kavafian and Jaime Laredo at the Curtis Institute of Music and Itzhak Perlman at the Juilliard School. He was laureate of the International Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels (2012); he won the Michael Hill International Violin Competition (2009) and received Third Prize at the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition (2008).

Josef combines a flourishing solo career with the position of concert master of the Czech Philharmonic. As soloist he makes guest appearances with orchestras in Europe, the US and Asia, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Prague Philharmonia, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony and Queensland Symphony Orchestra. He has soloed under conductors such as Jiri Belohlavek, Christoph Eschenbach, Manfred Honeck, James DePreist, Asher Fisch, Roy Goodman, Jakub Hrusa, Eliahu Inbal and Rossen Milanov.  As recitalist he regularly performs at music festivals around the world.

Prague Philharmonic Choir
The Prague Philharmonic Choir, led by principal conductor Lukas Vasilek, is a professional choral ensemble of almost 70 members which has been performing and recording all over the world for 80 years. It collaborates with renowned orchestras and conductors of the international music scene, and is considered one of the most popular choirs in Europe.

In the last two seasons, the choir has performed educational concerts in collaboration with primary schools, and concerts for parents with children. It has also organized the Choral Singing Academy for three years, which focuses on students of singing attending conservatories and music colleges. Students who successfully complete the demanding audition will have the opportunity to become acquainted with the repertoire and work of a professional choir during the season.



PHOTO CREDITS:

CD cover of the Dvorak Cycle by Decca Classics
Velvet Revolution Protest Courtesy of prague-life.com
Czech Philharmonic Black & White Courtesy of frantisekslama.com


Kirshbaum Demler & Associates
www.kirshdem.com 

© 2014 Kirshbaum Demler & Associates

 

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