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The 124th season is coming
Led by its chief conductor and music director Semyon Bychkov, the Czech Philharmonic will complete the Tchaikovsky project with the release of a CD box comprising all of its Tchaikovsky recordings and with residencies in Prague, Tokyo, Vienna and Paris. The orchestra with Semyon Bychkov will also appear at the BBC Proms in London, and it will perform Janáček's Káťa Kabanová in Prague and Hamburg under the baton of Jakub Hrůša. The audiences can look forward to Czech premieres of works by Detlev Glanert or Luciano Berio, and world premieres of compositions by Jiří Teml, Jaroslav Krček and other authors. The 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth will be commemorated with the performance of the complete cycle of his symphonies and piano concertos. The leading Czech orchestra will also begin its collaboration with new artistic partners: the Royal Academy of Music and the Chinese city of Nanjing.
The beginning of the 124th season will be dedicated to the Tchaikovsky project, the outcome of the first major collaboration of the Czech Philharmonic with Semyon Bychkov, begun in 2015. As early as in August, Decca Classics will release a box comprising seven CDs: six Tchaikovsky symphonies, three piano concertos with Kirill Gerstein, and another three works – Overture-Fantasy Romeo and Juliet, Serenade for Strings and the symphonic poem Francesca da Rimini. The orchestra will also perform Tchaikovsky's works during its residencies at the Dvořákova Praha International Music Festival, in Tokyo, Vienna and Paris. In addition to these destinations, Semyon Bychkov will also take the Czech Philharmonic to London for a performance at the BBC Proms, on a tour of China, and to Moscow, where the orchestra returns after nine years and only for a second time since 1990.
In Prague Semyon Bychkov will be presenting Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch by Detlev Glanert, Luciano Berio's Rendering and Second Symphony by Henri Dutilleux. Other performances of world repertoire will include Symphonies no. 5 and 8 by Dmitri Shostakovich, Concerto in A Minor for Violin, Cello and Orchestra by Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler's Fourth Symphony. The recording of Mahler's symphonies is, in fact, a new major project of the Czech Philharmonic under Semyon Bychkov, already begun during this season. After performing Smetana's Má vlast (My Homeland) or some of its parts with various orchestras in Cologne, Hamburg, Lübeck, Madrid, Cleveland, Munich and Amsterdam in the first half of 2019, Semyon Bychkov will also for the first time conduct the whole cycle with the Czech Philharmonic at the beginning of the 124th season.
Semyon Bychkov is studying the score of Mahler's 9th Symphony | Photo by Petr Kadlec
Jakub Hrůša as the orchestra's Principal Guest Conductor will prepare the New Year's Eve and New Year Concerts, consisting of works by Czech composers, and a concert rendering of Janáček's Káťa Kabanová, whose Prague performance will be followed by one in Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie. This, moreover, will not be the only time in the 124th season when Jakub Hrůša will take the Czech Philharmonic to German concert halls: on an earlier concert tour of Germany, the orchestra will accompany the cellist Sol Gabetta.
Apart from Bychkov and Hrůša, the subscription cycles A, B and C of the Czech Philharmonic will also feature the orchestra's other Principal Guest Conductor, Tomáš Netopil, who will conduct two Beethoven pieces and a suite by Jean-Philippe Rameau. Other conductors scheduled to appear with the orchestra include Petr Altrichter, Giovanni Antonini, David Robertson, Peter Eötvös, James Gaffigan and, in his conducting debut with the Czech Philharmonic, Pablo Heras-Casado. Audiences may look forward to performances by Katia and Marielle Labèque, Rudolf Buchbinder, Francesco Piemontesi, Piotr Anderszewski and Ivo Kahánek, violinists Leonidas Kavakos, Lisa Batiashvili, Josef Špaček and Jan Mráček, violist Antoine Tamestit, cellist Gautier Capuçon, trumpet player Tamás Pálfalvi, timpanist Michael Kroutil, and soprano Chen Reiss.
Sale of subscription tickets and tickets to special, educational and Advent concerts began 23 April 2019. Sale of individual tickets to subscription concerts started 10 June 2019.
Subscription series K, a cycle of four concerts by the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble of variable composition, will continue in the same vein in the 124th season after this year's success. Three concert masters of the Czech Philharmonic – Josef Špaček, Jiří Vodička and Jan Mráček – will each take responsibility for rehearsing and conducting one of the concerts. The fourth will be prepared by Jaroslav Krček, who will himself premiere his work dedicated to four women players od the Czech Philharmonic: Jana Boušková, Jana Brožková, Kateřina Javůrková and Andrea Rysová. The K series will also feature foreign soloists, cellist Sebastian Bru and pianist Zoltán Fejérvári.
The 124th season will offer a rare symbiosis of famous masterpieces and new works. Dvořák, Janáček, Bruckner, Brahms, Mahler, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky and Beethoven, whose 250th anniversary will be celebrated by the performance of all his symphonies and piano concertos in the next two seasons, will be combined with Dutilleux, Berio, Glanert, Eötvös and Reich. In addition to works by foreign composers, the Czech Philharmonic will also give world premieres of Czech and Slovak works. Apart from Jaroslav Krček's composition for four Philharmonic players, the orchestra will perform a specially commissioned work Labyrint paměti (The Labyrinth of Memory) by Jiří Teml and two recent works by Miroslav Srnka. A special concert, conducted by Keith Lockhart, will present works by finalists of the second Czech Philharmonic Composition Competition, Jana Vöröšová, Adrián Demoč and Matouš Hejl. Performances of works commissioned by the Czech Philharmonic from both Czech and foreign composers will continue until 2023, supported by the Bohemian Heritage Fund. The publication of sheet music for most Czech compositions is made easier thanks to our partnership with Czech Radio Publishing.
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Petr Altrichter | Photo by Petra Hajská
After the appointment of Semyon Bychkov as Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic, the orchestra concluded two long-term artistic partnerships in this season. The first of these is with the Royal Academy of Music in London which, as early as October 2018, hosted a series of master classes and concerts celebrating the centenary since the foundation of Czechoslovakia. The second partnership, supported by Home Credit, has been negotiated with the Chinese city of Nanjing. Both partnerships involve cultural and artistic exchanges and regular guest appearances that will include a broad range of educational activities as well as chamber and symphonic concerts. The new cooperation with Nanjing will commence with the planned tour of China in May of this year. The students of the Royal Academy of Music will get the chance to hear and meet Czech Philharmonic players again in March 2020.
Educational programmes targeting all age groups remain an integral part of the orchestra's activities. The popular music workshops and concerts for schools (Little Rudolfinum, Penguins at the Rudolfinum or Czech Philharmonic: A Serial) will continue in the upcoming season; teachers' education (Music for Schools; Teachers, Let's Play; Music in the Life of Children Aged 3 to 8 Years) and collaboration with pupils from elementary music schools (ZUŠ) in the form of a joint Czech Philharmonic/ZUŠ orchestra have also shown promising development. New inspiration keeps coming from the Čhavorenge choir and its choirmaster Ida Kelarová, who have been collaborating with the Czech Philharmonic for the past seven years. After its appearances in Romania and Ireland, Čhavorenge has been invited to London to take part in this autumn's celebrations of the reopening of Fairfield Halls.
The Czech Philharmonic is directly subordinate to the Ministry of Culture as its founder; its general partner is Česká spořitelna. It also continues its cooperation with its traditional partner ŠKODA AUTO and with “Beautiful Sound Partners”, PPF Group and J&T Bank, which enable the borrowing of rare string instruments. Creative projects are being implemented in collaboration with FINEP Holding and Arcona Capital Czech Republic. Educational projects are funded by Agrofert Foundation. The development of the Czech Philharmonic is also significantly aided by the partners and sponsors of individual musicians – J&T Bank, Arthouse Hejtmánek and Hodinářství Bechyně – and by the members of the Dynamic Club, an association of the orchestra's private patrons, which has been expanding considerably. The Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra has found a partner in Mucha Museum. Classical Futures, funded by the Creative Europe programme, supports the concerts of young artists.
Czech Television remains the General Media Partner of the Czech Philharmonic and the Mafra company its Chief Media Partner. The orchestra also continues its collaboration with Czech Radio, with Harmonie and Hudební rozhledy magazines, and with music webs Klasika Plus and Opera Plus.