"The American violinist with movie-star good looks has emerged as one of the finest musicians of his generation, whose interpretations can be seriously set beside and favorably compared to players twice his age. Dead players too."
The Washington Post
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Das Lied von der Erde
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.
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.
Born in Brno, Czech Republic, Pavel Černoch has in recent seasons made important debuts at leading opera houses around the world and has established himself as one of the leading tenors of his generation.
After his debut at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich in 2009 as Števa in Jenůfa he is regularly invited to leading European opera houses, like Teatro alla Scala in Milan,Teatro San Carlo Napoli, Berlin State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Hamburg State Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Cologne Opera, Opernhaus Zurich, Théatre La Monnaie in Brussels, Opéra National in Paris, Opéra de Lyon, Teatro Real Madrid, Bolshoi Theatre Moscow, the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki and the Glyndebourne Festival appearing in roles of the Italian, French and Slavic repertoire. He was heard as Alfredo (La Traviata), Gabriele Adorno (Simon Boccanegra), Don Carlos (title), Rodolfo (La Boheme), Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Faust (Gounod and Berlioz), Lenski (Eugene Onegin), Vaudémont (Iolante), Lykow (The Tsar’s Bride), Stewa and Laca (Jenůfa), Albert Gregor (Vec Makropulos), Boris (Katá Kabanova), Prince (Rusalka) and Jenik (The bartered bride).
Future appearances will bring him to the Bregenz Festival, Bavarian State Opera Munich, Opéra National Paris, Royal Opera House London, Hamburg State Opera and Opera Amsterdam in roles like Don Carlos, Don José, Lenski, Amleto (title), Boris and Vladimir (Prince Igor).
Pavel Černoch frequently appears as concert soloist with leading orchestras like the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Proms, Bergen Festival and Verbier Festival. He has collaborated with eminent conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Kirill Petrenko, Simon Rattle, Andris Nelsons, John Eliot Gardiner, Charles Dutoit, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Vassily Sinaisky, Jiří Bělohlávek, Tomáš Hanus und Jakub Hrůša and many others.
Černoch made his professional debut in his native city in The Magic Flute, followed by appearances in Prague, Riga, Cagliari, Athens, Graz and Wiener Volksoper.
Pavel Černoch began singing as a child when he became a member of the famed Cantilena Chamber Choir. He studied at the Janacek Academy Brno and went on to continue his vocal studies in Italy with Paolo de Napoli, who remains his mentor today.
With a career spanning more than thirty years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, conductor and director, Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. His curiosity and clarity of insight are a testament to his belief in the power of music as a unifying cultural force. An artist of precision and passion, Bell is committed to the violin as an instrument of expression and a vehicle for realizing the new and unexplored.
Having performed with every major orchestra in the world on six continents, Bell continues to maintain engagements as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Since 2011, Bell has served as Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, succeeding Sir Neville Marriner, who formed the orchestra in 1958. Bell’s multifaceted interests range from performing the repertoire’s hallmarks to recording commissioned works, including Nicholas Maw’s Violin Concerto, for which Bell received a Grammy® award. He has also premiered works of John Corigliano, Edgar Meyer, Jay Greenberg, and Behzad Ranjbaran, continually exploring the boundaries of the repertoire and the instrument.
As an exclusive Sony Classical artist, Bell has recorded more than 40 albums garnering Grammy®, Mercury®, Gramophone and ECHO Klassik awards. Sony Classical’s most recent release in June 2018, with Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, features Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy and G minor Violin Concerto. Bell’s previous release, For the Love of Brahms in 2016, includes 19th-century repertoire with the Academy, Steven Isserlis, and Jeremy Denk. Bell’s 2013 release with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, featured him conducting Beethoven’s Fourth and Seventh symphonies and debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts.
In 2007, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post story, centered on Bell performing incognito in a Washington, D.C. metro station, sparked an ongoing conversation regarding artistic reception and context. The feature inspired Kathy Stinson’s 2013 children’s book, The Man With The Violin, and a newly-commissioned animated film, with music by Academy Award-winning composer Anne Dudley. Stinson’s subsequent 2017 book, Dance With The Violin, illustrated by Dušan Petričić, offers a glimpse into one of Bell’s competition experiences at age 12. Bell debuted The Man With The Violin festival at the Kennedy Center in 2017, and, in March 2019, presents a Man With The Violin festival and family concert with the Seattle Symphony.
Bell advocates for music as an essential educational tool, as both a way for classical music to find diverse audiences, and also to deepen his audience’s connection to the art. He maintains active involvement with Education Through Music and Turnaround Arts, which provide instruments and arts education to children who may not otherwise be able to experience classical music firsthand. In 2014, Bell mentored and performed alongside National YoungArts Foundation string musicians in an HBO Family Documentary special, “Joshua Bell: A YoungArts Masterclass.” Bell continues to work alongside young talent to foster the next generation of classical music ambassadors, and currently serves as senior lecturer at his alma mater, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Bell began the violin at the age of four, and at age twelve, began studies with his mentor, Josef Gingold. At age 14, Bell debuted with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and made his Carnegie Hall debut at age 17 with the St. Louis Symphony. At age 18, Bell signed with his first label, London Decca, and received the Avery Fisher Career Grant. In the years following, Bell has been named 2010 “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Musical America, a 2007 “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum, nominated for five Grammy® awards, and received the 2007 Avery Fisher Prize. He has also received the 2003 Indiana Governorʼs Arts Award and a Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 1991 from the Jacobs School of Music. In 2000, he was named an “Indiana Living Legend” and one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful.”
Bell performs on the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius violin, with a François Tourte 18th-Century bow.
The composition of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s (1840–1893) only Violin Concertowas preceded by the break-up of his marriage to a beloved pupil; marrying had been the composer’s means of coping with his sexuality. A stay in Clarens, Switzerland was to help him to overcome his deep personal crisis, but solace only came with the arrival of the young violinist Iosif Kotek, whom Tchaikovsky had found to be a very likeable pupil: within a month he had composed the score of the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. However, it was only three years later that the work began its ascent to the pinnacle of the world concert repertory.
It is also worth mentioning that back in Clarens Tchaikovsky replaced the original second movement with a new composition. Its idyllic designationof Canzonetta cannot disguise its deeply personal message: the plaintive theme with which the soloist responds to the gracious orchestral introduction is an expression of a deep depression, which is temporarily dispelled by the warm emotional surge of the middle section, but its real resolution is left to the finale. It is thanks to the Canzonetta that the concerto has become part of the series of great compositions that reflect the composer’s inner life.
In May 1908, Gustav Mahler returned to Europe after his first season in New York. He spent the summer holiday in Toblach, South Tyrol, where he began composing Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) to texts from the collection Die chinesische Flöte (The Chinese Flute), adaptations of Chinese poetry by Hans Bethge (1876–1946). Mahler finished the fair copy of the score the following autumn while staying in the Moravian town Hodonín. The solo parts had originally been intended for tenor and baritone, but for the sake of contrast Mahler revised the work for a male and a female voice (tenor and alto). The motif that Mahler introduces at the beginning in the French horns is present throughout the work, and it undergoes constant transformations; it is said to prefigure the tone rows that would become a compositional principle of Arnold Schoenberg. Mahler never abandoned tonality, but his harmonies use all of the degrees of the chromatic scale, and he typically employs a mixture of the major and minor modes. The declamatory vocal line does not carry the melody. The principles of sonata form are discernible in the first movement, The Drinking Song of Earthly Woe (the second strophe can be interpreted as a sonata development section). The Solitary One in Autumn represents the slow movement of the cycle, Youth takes the place of a symphonic scherzo, and the fourth movement, Beauty, can be understood as a second scherzo. The fifth movement, The Drunkard in Spring, conceals irony. Its hints of resignation form the transition to the last movement, The Farewell, where one actually finds the symphony’s centre of gravity. The fading repetitions of the word “ewig” (forever) create a sort of invisible transition into the unknown, into the afterlife.
Gustav Mahler did not live to see a performance of Das Lied von der Erde. The premiere took place half a year after his death on 20 November 1911 in Munich with Bruno Walter conducting. The soloists were the tenor William Miller and the American alto Mme Charles Cahier (whose real name was Sarah Jane Walker). Das Lied von der Erde was first performed in Bohemia on 3 April 1913 at the third subscription concert of the New German Theatre under the baton of Alexander Zemlinsky. The soloists were Maria Philippi and, once again, William Miller. The last pre-war performance there took place in Prague at a Philharmonic Concert of the Orchestra of the New German Theatre on 12 February 1934 with George Szell conducting. During the years of worldwide catastrophe that followed, Mahler’s name and music had to disappear from programmes. After the war, Das Lied von der Erde was first heard on 21 March 1947 under Rafael Kubelík’s baton at a concert of the Czech Philharmonic.
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