Symphony No. 96 in D Major (“The Miracle”)
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30
Symphony No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 10
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Czech Philharmonic
Principal Guest Conductor, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor Laureate, BBC Symphony (London)
Renowned Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek was appointed Music Director and Artistic Director of the Czech Philharmonic in 2012, following on from his successful tenure as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, of which he is now a Conductor Laureate. He was Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra (1977–89), Music Director of the Prague Philharmonia (1994–2004), was appointed President of the Prague Spring Festival in 2006. From 2013 to 2017, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
In opera, he has collaborated with the Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro Real Madrid, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Zurich Opera, and the National Theatre in Prague. He has also conducted and recorded several opera-in-concert presentations with the BBC Symphony, to great acclaim. Confirming his preeminence as the conductor of Janacek, this past season he conducted the Czech Phil in a concert presentation of Jenůfa at the London Royal Festival Hall, as well as in full production the San Francisco Opera. This was followed by a performance of Janacek The Makropulos Case with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms.
Under his leadership the Czech Philharmonic is enjoying unprecedented success both at home in Prague, and on extensive tours. Together they have toured in the past three seasons on three continents, including Europe, Asia and North America. Their recent residency in Vienna at the Musikverein was a great success, and has lead to similar events being planned in other world capitals. The Czech Philharmonic announced in January 2017 that their partnership with Maestro Bělohlávek is now officially extended to 2022!
In addition to his ongoing Prague seasons and touring engagements with the Czech, he continues to perform as a guest conductor with the world’s major orchestras, including recent appearances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (including at the London Proms), New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Washington National Symphony, and Deutsches Symphony Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Vienna Symphony Orchestra. In the coming season, in addition to major projects with Czech Phil, he looks forward to engagements with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra Munich, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, St Petersburg Philharmonic, and more.
With the Czech Philharmonic, he will conduct a major Asian tour in Autumn 2017 with concerts in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, in addition to appearances on tour in Europe, the highlight of which will be a performance of Janáček Glagolitic Mass at the Salzburg Festival in August 2018.
Jiří Bělohlávek has recorded extensively, with recent projects with the Czech Philharmonic including the complete symphonies and concertos of Dvořák. The series with Decca continues in the coming season, when a major disc of Suk will be recorded.
In 2012 he was awarded an honorary CBE for his services to British music.
Described by The Times as the “master of all he surveys” and with The Washington Post noting to “keep your ear on this one”, Behzod’s captivating performances continue to receive international praise.
Recent seasons have seen Behzod work with leading orchestras worldwide, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, NHK Symphony and prestigious conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Valery Gergiev, Manfred Honeck, Vasily Petrenko, James Gaffigan, Osmo Vänskä, Thomas Dausgaard and Vladimir Jurowski. He also toured China with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and performed at the Festival Piano aux Jacobins in recital and in concert with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse under Tugan Sokhiev.
Continuing his collaboration with The Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, last season Behzod performed in their Prokofiev Piano Concerto cycle at concerts in Stockholm, Vienna and Dortmund. This was followed by a major tour of the US with them, which included his impressive concerto debut at Carnegie Hall. Shortly afterwards he gave his recital debut in the Weill Hall as part of the “Distinctive Debuts” series which resulted in an immediate reinvitation to the Stern Auditorium.
Behzod’s upcoming European highlights include concert debuts with the Münchner Philharmoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Gothenburg Symphony. In recital Behzod is one of the featured artists for the Junge Wilde series at the Konzerthaus Dortmund for the next three years, and also gives recitals at Wigmore Hall, London; Salle Gaveau, Paris; MünchenMusik and AMG Konzerte Basel.
In the US, Behzod will make his debut with Seattle and Dallas Symphony orchestras and returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In recital he will appear as part of the People’s Symphony Concerts, New York; Tuesday Evening Concert Series, Virginia; Shriver Hall Concert Series, Baltimore; Spivey Hall, Atlanta and the Washington Performing Arts Series.
An award-winning recording artist – his debut recital CD won both the Choc de Classica and the Diapason Découverte – Behzod released his first concerto disc in 2014 on Decca Classics which features Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No. 1 with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai under Juraj Valčuha.
Born in Tashkent in 1990 Behzod began to play the piano at the age of five. He was a pupil of Tamara Popovich at the Uspensky State Central Lyceum in Tashkent, and studied with Stanislav Ioudenitch at the International Center for Music at Park University, Kansas City, where he is now Artist in Residence.
A graduate of the Moscow Conservatory, Sergey Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff created the bulk of his works in the 20th century, yet his music, largely influenced by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was still written in the late-Romantic style. Although he composed three operas, the same number of symphonies, several sacred pieces and numerous remarkable songs, he is best known for his piano oeuvre, encompassing four concertos and plenty of solo works.
One of the finest pianists of his time, Rachmaninoff performed to great acclaim not only in his homeland but also throughout Europe and in the USA. Furthermore, he served as a conductor, initially in Moscow, where at the Bolshoi Theatre he performed operas by Glinka and Tchaikovsky. From 1906 to 1909, he lived and worked in Dresden, and subsequently made his first great tour as a pianist of the United States, during which he premiered his 1909 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 in D minor Op. 30, which you will hear tonight. In the wake of his triumph, he received an offer to become permanent conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, yet he declined it and returned to Russia. Nevertheless, Rachmaninoff was disappointed by the regime installed after the 1917 Great October Revolution and soon left his country for good, first living in Western Europe.
In 1935, he settled in the USA, where he gave a large number of concerts and continued to compose music. Not entirely happy in exile and feeling homesick, Rachmaninoff remained an ardent patriot, which, following Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union, he even demonstrated by financially supporting the Red Army. He died in California four days before reaching 70 years of age.
Wed – Fri / 6:30 p.m. / Rudolfinum – Suk Hall or Western Lounge
Location is specified for each concert in the concert programme and navigation signs at the Rudolfinum.
Pre-concert talks are offered free of charge as a bonus before the evening concerts of the A and B subscription series. They are given by conductors, soloists and members of the Czech Philharmonic, as well as musicologists and music writers who take part in discussions or lectures which will prepare for the evening concert.
They are presented by Eva Hazdrová-Kopecká, Pavel Ryjáček or Petr Kadlec.
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