In August 2014, the Czech Philharmonic orchestra will appear at the Grafenegg Music Festival in Austria. The orchestra will perform under the baton of Chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek and will be joined by the Argentinian mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink.
<p><a href="https://www.grafenegg.com/programm/16604" target="_blank"><strong>16 / 8 / 2014 GRAFENEGG</strong></a></p> <ul> <li>B. SMETANA (arr. G. SZELL): <em>From My Life (String Quartet No. 1 in E minor, orchestral version)</em></li> <li>A. DVOŘÁK: <em>Biblical Songs (selection)</em></li> <li>A. DVOŘÁK: <em>Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 „From the New World“</em></li> </ul>
Bernarda Fink, daughter of Slovenian parents, was born in Buenos Aires and received her vocal and musical education at the Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colón where she performed frequently.
Bernarda Fink is one of the most sought-after singers in concerts and recitals. She has been acclaimed for her musical versatility and invited by the leading orchestras and conductors in Europe and America. Her repertoire ranges from ancient music up to music of the 20th century. She frequently appears with such well-known orchestras as the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin and Dresden, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as with the best-known Baroque orchestras under such famous conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Chailly, Sir Colin Davis, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, René Jacobs, Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Muti, Sir Roger Norrington, Trevor Pinnock, Georges Prêtre, Sir Simon Rattle and Franz Welser-Möst.
Bernarda Fink has appeared to widespread critical acclaim in Argentina and at the most important opera houses in Europe. Recent highlights were the roles of Cecilio (Lucio Silla) at the Theater an der Wien, Idamante (Idomeneo) at the Teatro Real in Madrid, and Irene (Theodora) at the Salzburg Festival. She also sang Sesto (La clemenza di Tito) and Idamante in concert versions, both of which were recorded and highly praised.
Bernarda Fink regularly appears in recital at the Wiener Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, Berlin Philharmonie, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Edinburgh Festival, Carnegie and Alice Tully Hall in New York. Furthermore, Bernarda Fink performed Dvořák and Janáček songs together with the Pavel Haas Quartett at Londons Wigmore Hall, at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, in Den Haag and in Madrid.
Highlights of the 2015/2016 season included Schmidtʼs Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln with Manfred Honeck, Debussyʼs Pelleas et Mélisande / Geneviève with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic in a semi-staged version by Peter Sellars in Berlin and with the LSO in London, Mahlerʼs Third Symphony with the Philharmonia Orchestra as well as Mahlerʼs Second Symphony with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Daniel Harding.
Bernarda Fink regularly holds master classes at the Wiener Meisterkurse, the Young Singers Project (YSP) in Salzburg, the Academy of the Festival in Aix-en-Provence, and the Schubert-Institute in Baden (near Vienna). She was also on the jury of the International Song Competition of London Wigmore Hall, Das Lied Song Competition in Berlin and the Bach Wettbewerb Leipzig and as expert at the BBC Cardiff Singers of the World.
Bernarda Fink has made numerous highly acclaimed recordings. Her discography comprises more than 50 releases, ranging from Monteverdi and Rameau to Schubert and Bruckner and Schumann. Many of them have been awarded coveted prizes such as the Diapason d’Or or the Grammy. Bernarda Fink has a close collaboration with Harmonia Mundi. In 2006, Bernarda Fink was awarded the Austrian Honorary Medal for Art and Science by the Austrian Chancellor and in 2013, together with her brother Marcos Fink, the most prestigious cultural award of Slovenia sponsored by the Prešeren-foundation for their recording Slovenija! and the related concerts. In September 2014 she received the title of Österreichische Kammersängerin.
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.
In 1892 Dvořák accepted an invitation to the United States for three years and became the director of the National Conservatory in New York. After a short stay overseas, in the winter of 1893 he started working on his new Symphony No. 9 in E minor ‘From the New World’. This composition was conceived in order to prove Dvořák’s theory regarding the use of the characteristic elements of African-American and Native-American music for the emergence of the ‘American national school’, which did not exist at the time of Dvořák’s sojourn in the United States. Experts have debated for more than one hundred years about whether Dvořák used in his symphony specific tunes of Negro songs or not. Dvořák himself gave an ambiguous answer to this question. Once he said, “I’m just finishing a new Sinfonia in E minor. Well, everyone who has instincts must feel the influence of America.” At another time he made a seemingly contradictory statement: “It has been and always will be Czech music.” Another question is to what extent Dvořák could really get to know American music during such a short period of his stay in America, and how much he actually wished to create something for America, which in the beginning treated him so generously and which was certainly very fascinating for him. Structurally, the Ninth Symphony has a very precise, almost textbook form of individual movements. Subconsciously, however, Dvořák must have “quoted” at least one of the familiar tunes since the theme of the first movement is noticeably reminiscent of the Negro spiritual Swing Low Sweet Chariot. The second movement, Largo, might have been inspired by The Song of Hiawatha, while the third movement of the symphony has, according to Dvořák, “something of the Indian character”. In the final fourth movement Dvořák has combined all the themes of the symphony. This perfect management of form in connection with imaginative melodies, harmonies and instrumentation mastery form together a truly unique work of genius. Finally, let us quote from The New York Times in 1893: “We Americans should thank and honor the Bohemian master who has shown us how to build our national school of music.”
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