Associate Artist & Concertmaster
Josef Špaček is the youngest violinist in the history of the Czech Philharmonic to serve as Concertmaster and in January 2016 was named “Associate Artist” in recognition of his importance to the Orchestra. Studying initially with Jaroslav Foltýn at the Prague Conservatory, Josef Špaček later moved to the US where he studied with Itzhak Perlman at The Juilliard School in New York, and Ida Kavafian and Jaime Laredo at Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
The title “Associate Artist” was awarded to Josef Špaček to enable him to develop his growing solo career, whilst continuing his relationship with the Orchestra both as concertmaster and soloist, at home and on tour. In recent seasons, in addition to his role as associate concertmaster, Josef Špaček was soloist in concerts with the late Jiří Bělohlávek, Semyon Bychkov and Valery Gergiev. His recording of the Dvořák and Janáček Violin Concertos paired with Suk’s Fantasy conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek was released by Supraphon and named “Recording of the week” by The Sunday Times in the UK, “Recording of the Month and of the Year” by MusicWeb International, and received a 5* review from France’s Diapason. Earlier discs include works for violin and piano by Smetana, Janáček and Prokofiev with pianist Miroslav Sekera (Supraphon); works by H.W. Ernst (Naxos); and the complete Sonatas for Solo Violin by Eugène Ysaÿe.
In addition to his commitment to the Czech Philharmonic, Josef Špaček is in much demand as a soloist around the world. Recent highlights include his debuts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Jiří Bělohlávek; his Berlin debut with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and Thomas Sanderling; his debut at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Thomas Søndergård; and his Tokyo debut with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Jakub Hrůša. Additionally, he has appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kansas City Symphony in the US; and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Essener Philharmonikerm Tonkünstlerorchester Niederösterreich, Orchestre National de Belgique and Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga in Europe.
Forthcoming engagements include the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Marc Albrecht as well as debuts with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and Tomáš Netopil, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Capitole de Toulouse and Thomas Søndergaard, the Bamberger Symphoniker and Manfred Honeck, the Helsinki Philharmonic and Michael Sanderling, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and Aziz Shokhakimov.
As a recitalist, Špaček is heard frequently in Europe, including at the Rudolfinum in Prague, the Konzerthaus in Vienna and at Schloß Elmau, as well as in Asia and the US, most recently at Washington’s Kennedy Center and La Jolla, San Diego. He was laureate of the International Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, and won top prizes at the Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand, the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition in Denmark and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York.
Josef Špaček plays on the ca. 1732 “LeBrun; Bouthillard” Guarneri del Gesù violin, generously on loan from Ingles & Hayday.