SEMYON BYCHKOV NAMED CHIEF CONDUCTOR AND
MUSIC DIRECTOR OF THE CZECH PHILHARMONIC
STARTING IN THE 2018-19 SEASON
Mr. Bychkov to serve as Chief Conductor and
Music Director Designate during the 2017-18 season
NEW YORK, NEW YORK (October 16, 2017) — The Czech Philharmonic today announced the appointment of Semyon Bychkov as Chief Conductor and Music Director starting in the 2018-19 season. Mr. Bychkov has been a frequent guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic since first appearing with the Orchestra in 2013, and he is also currently the Artistic Director of The Tchaikovsky Project, which he launched with the Orchestra last October and which encompasses concerts and a Decca recording cycle.
Mr. Bychkov says:
“The Czech Philharmonic is among the very few orchestras that have managed to preserve a unique identity. In a music world that is increasingly globalized and uniform, the Orchestra’s noble tradition has retained authenticity of expression and sound, making it one of the world’s artistic treasures. When the orchestra and Czech government asked me to succeed beloved Jiří Bělohlávek, I felt deeply honoured by the trust they were ready to place in me. There is no greater privilege for an artist than to become part of and lead an institution that shares the same values, the same commitment, and the same devotion to the art of music.”
In addition to conducting the opening concerts of the 2018-19 season, six subscription weeks, and two weeks of studio recordings, Mr. Bychkov will lead the Orchestra on tour and at the major Czech festivals and concerts that are an integral part of the Orchestra’s presence, including Prague Spring, Dvořák’s Prague, and Smetana’s Litomyšl. He will also lead the Orchestra’s Tchaikovsky residencies in Prague, Vienna, and Paris in 2019, when The Tchaikovsky Project concludes with Decca’s release of the composer’s complete symphonies, three piano concertos, Romeo & Juliet, Serenade for Strings, and Francesca da Rimini.
Reviewing a recent Czech Philharmonic performance of Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini at Smetana’s Litomyšl Festival 2017, Hospodářské noviny wrote: “The Czech Philharmonic is currently in excellent form and trusts Semyon Bychkov. And, being battle-hardened from working around the world with the best orchestras on the planet, he gives the Philharmonic players the room to develop their musical potential. The result is a unique musical creation.”
Czech Philharmonic Chief Executive Officer David Mareček and General Manager Robert Hanč welcomed Mr. Bychkov, with whom they have worked closely since he first conducted the Orchestra:
“We are thrilled and delighted that Maestro Semyon Bychkov will be taking up the position of Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic. Maestro Bychkov brings out the very best in our musicians, as did his much-loved predecessor Jiří Bělohlávek, and he also shares many of the same values: uncompromising musical excellence, respect for tradition, and a rare gift for communicating great music to the world. The Czech Philharmonic already enjoys a particularly warm and harmonious relationship with Maestro Bychkov and with his appointment we look forward to building further on that work and to taking our music to ever wider audiences. With Maestro Bychkov at the helm of the orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic’s future continues to look very bright indeed.”
Josef Špaček, the youngest concertmaster in the Czech Philharmonic’s history and an “Associate Artist” of the Orchestra, says:
“Maestro Bychkov is a charismatic artist who is artistically uncompromising. He is never superficial and is a true master of his craft. For him, music is everything, his entire existence. He is able to work wonderfully and effectively with the orchestra. Rehearsals with him are often very strenuous, in part because of his relentless pursuit of perfection, but the artistic result under his leadership is always a unique experience. His international perspective and activities will bring inestimable added value to the orchestra. I hold him in the deepest respect.”
Czech Republic Minister of Culture Daniel Herman says:
“I am enormously pleased that one of the world’s leading conductors, Maestro Semyon Bychkov, has accepted the offer made by me and by the Orchestra’s CEO, Mr. Mareček, and will become the next Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. I am personally acquainted with Mr. Bychkov, and I have great respect for him, not only because of professional excellence and extraordinary artistic talent, but also because of his stances on humanitarian and civic issues.”
One of the world’s most esteemed conductors, Semyon Bychkov has achieved international recognition for an approach to music making that combines innate musicality with the rigors of Russian music pedagogy. He has conducted virtually all of the major orchestras in the U.S. and Europe and previously served as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, and Orchestre de Paris, and Chief Conductor of both the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and the Dresden Semperoper. Mr. Bychkov currently holds the honorary Klemperer Chair of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music and the Günter Wand Conducting Chair with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with which he appears annually at the BBC Proms. In 2015, the International Opera Awards named him “Conductor of the Year.” For more information, visit semyonbychkov.com.
The Czech Philharmonic, which in 1896 gave its first concert in its current form under Antonín Dvořák, is composed entirely of Czech musicians and has an extraordinary history which both reflects its place in the center of Europe and the country’s turbulent political history. Acknowledged for its definitive performances of the Czech repertoire—its première recording dates back to 1929 when Chief Conductor Václav Talich conducted Smetana’s Má vlast for release on 10 discs—the Czech Philharmonic has always had a special relationship with the music of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler. Born in what is now part of the Czech Republic, Mahler conducted the Orchestra in the 1908 première of his Symphony No. 7. For more information, visit ceskafilharmonie.cz.
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