Photo illustrating page  Czech Philharmonic Frank Peter Zimmermann

Czech Philharmonic

Frank Peter Zimmermann

Czech Philharmonic

Concert is a part of the Bohuslav Martinů Days Festival.

Subscription series B
Duration of the programme 1 hod 45 min

Antonín Dvořák
Te Deum, Op. 103

Jiří Gemrot
The Resurrection of Hope and Light, Cantata for Choir and Orchestra (world premiere)

Bohuslav Martinů
Violin Concerto No. 1, H 232

Arthur Honegger
A Christmast Cantata, for baritone, children’s choir, mixed choir, organ, and orchestra


Frank Peter Zimmermann

Kateřina Kněžíková

Svatopluk Sem

Prague Philharmonic Choir

Lukáš Vasilek

Severáček, Liberec Children’s Choir

Silvie Pálková

Jakub Hrůša

Czech Philharmonic

Photo illustrating the event Czech Philharmonic Frank Peter Zimmermann
Rudolfinum — Dvorak Hall
19 Dec 2018  Wednesday — 7.30pm
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20 Dec 2018  Thursday — 7.30pm
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21 Dec 2018  Friday — 7.30pm
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Jakub Hrůša  conductor
Jakub Hrůša

Born in the Czech Republic, Jakub Hrůša is Chief Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony, Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic.

He is a frequent guest with many of the world’s greatest orchestras, and in the 2018/19 season made debuts with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Orchestre de Paris and NHK Symphony, to all of which he was immediately re-invited. In addition to his titled positions he also enjoys close relationships with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the New York Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Vienna Radio Symphony, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The 2019/20 season will see him return to the Berlin Philharmonic and make debuts with The Pittsburgh Symphony, Zurich Opera (a new production of the The Makropulos Case) and the Dutch National Opera (a new production for the Holland Festival of Rusalka with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra). In summer 2020, he will also return to The Glyndebourne Festival to conduct The Rake’s Progress.

His relationships with leading vocal and instrumental soloists have included collaborations in recent seasons with Behzod Abduraimov, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piotr Anderszewski, Leif Ove Andsnes, Emanuel Ax, Lisa Batiashvili, Joshua Bell, Jonathan Biss, Yefim Bronfman, Rudolf Buchbinder, Renaud Capuçon, Isabelle Faust, Bernarda Fink, Martin Fröst, Julia Fischer, Vilde Frang, Sol Gabetta, Véronique Gens, Christian Gerhaher, Kirill Gerstein, Vadim Gluzman, Karen Gomyo, Augustin Hadelich, Hilary Hahn, Barbara Hannigan, Alina Ibragimova, Janine Jansen, Karita Mattila, Leonidas Kavakos, Sergey Khachatryan, Denis Kozhukhin, Lang Lang, Igor Levit, Jan Lisiecki, Albrecht Mayer, Johannes Moser, Viktoria Mullova, Anne Sofie Mutter, Kristine Opolais, Stephanie d’Oustrac, Emmanuel Pahud, Olga Peretyatko, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Josef Špaček, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Daniil Trifonov, Simon Trpčeski, Mitsuko Uchida, Klaus Florian Vogt, Yuja Wang, Frank Peter Zimmermann and Nikolaj Znaider.

As a conductor of opera, he has been a regular guest with Glyndebourne Festival, conducting Vanessa, The Cunning Little Vixen, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Carmen, The Turn of the Screw, Don Giovanni and La bohème, and serving as Music Director of Glyndebourne On Tour for three years. Elsewhere he has led productions for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Carmen), Vienna State Opera (a new production of The Makropulos Case), Opéra National de Paris (Rusalka and The Merry Widow), Frankfurt Opera (Il trittico) and Zurich Opera (Makropulos Case), among others.

As a recording artist, his most recent releases are the first two instalments of a new cycle of Dvořák and Brahms Symphonies, and Smetana’s Má vlast with Bamberg Symphony (Tudor). Other releases have included Concertos for Orchestra by Bartók and Kodály with RSB Berlin (Pentatone). He has also recorded Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie and Suk’s Asrael Symphony with Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra (Octavia Records); the Tchaikovsky and Bruch violin concertos with Nicola Benedetti and the Czech Philharmonic (Universal); and nine discs (with Pentatone and Supraphon) of Czech repertoire with PKF-Prague Philharmonia, where he was Music Director from 2009 until 2015.

Jakub Hrůša studied conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where his teachers included Jiří Bělohlávek. He is currently President of the International Martinů Circle and The Dvořák Society, and in was the inaugural recipient of the Sir Charles Mackerras Prize.

Silvie Pálková  choirmaster

Svatopluk Sem  baritone
Svatopluk Sem

Svatopluk Sem studied voice under the guidance of D. Volfová at the Conservatory in České Budějovice. He became a soloist in the South Bohemian Theatre in České Budějovice after finishing his studies. Here he portrayed many main characters such as Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Germonte (La traviata), Valentin (Faust), Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Guglielmo (Cosí fan tutte) or Belcore (L´elisir d´amore).

He regularly performs in many opera houses in the Czech Republic such as the National Theatre in Prague, The State Opera in Prague, the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen, the South Bohemian Theatre in České Budějovice, the National Theatre Brno or the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava. His repertoire includes several dozen roles of different nature.

Svatopluk Sem has been performing in productions of various directors – O. Havelka, J. Heřman, M. Forman, The Theatre Group SKUTR (M. Kukučka & L. Trpišovský) and cooperated with many famous conductors. Among others we can name G. Albrecht, A. Allemandi, J. Bělohlávek, T. Brauner, E. Dovico, P. Feranec, E. Fiore, H. M. Förster, J. Hrůša, R. Jindra, J. Keenen, O. Lenárd, T. Netopil, L. Pešek, Mario De Rose or D. Savic.

He has made his appearance not only in the Czech Republic but also abroad. Japan, Denmark, South Korea, Austria, Spain, Germany, Russia, Italy or England are examples of countries where we could see Svatopluk Sem on stage. He cooperates with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, PKF – Prague Philharmonia etc.

He cooperated with London BBC Orchestra under the baton of J. Bělohlávek on a recording of Smetana's Bartered Bride for the label Harmonia Mundi. He recorded a document "Rolando meets Don Giovanni" for BBC, where he performed together with Rolando Villazón in the role of Don Giovanni.

He is a frequent guest of prestigious international music festivals such as the Dvořákova Praha International Music Festival, Opern Air Gars am Kampf in Austria, The Prague Spring International Music Festival, International Opera Festival Smetana’s Litomyšl or the IMF Český Krumlov.

In his field he has received three times the prestigious Karel Roden Award.

Lukáš Vasilek  choirmaster
Lukáš Vasilek

Lukáš Vasilek, principal conductor of the Prague Philharmonic Choir, studied conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, and musicology at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague. For eleven seasons from 1998 he was conductor of the Foerster Female Chamber Choir, and between 2005 and 2007 was also second choirmaster of the Prague National Theatreʼs opera chorus. He took up his post at the helm of the Prague Philharmonic Choir in 2007. Apart from preparing and conducting the choirʼs a cappella concert productions, he has been building up the Prague Philharmonic Choirʼs repertoire set for participation in large-scale cantata, oratorio and opera projects, working with leading international conductors (such as Barenboim, Bělohlávek, Eschenbach, Honeck, Hrůša, Jordan, Luisi, Mehta, Noseda and Rattle) and orchestras (including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Czech Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden or Wiener Symphoniker). Since 2010, the Prague Philharmonic Choir under Vasilekʼs direction has guest appeared regularly at the opera festival in Bregenz, Austria.

Lukáš Vasilek has made numerous recordings with the Prague Philharmonic Choir for various major labels, including Decca Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical and Supraphon. In 2016, the last mentioned of these issued an album of Bohuslav Martinů’s cantatas which was nominated for the BBC Music Magazine’s annual award in the choral category, among other plaudits.

Prague Philharmonic Choir  choir
Prague Philharmonic Choir

The Prague Philharmonic Choir (PPC) is a leading European vocal ensemble, and as one of the Czech Republic’s foremost artistic institutions operates under the trusteeship of the Czech Ministry of Culture. In the course of the choir’s long history since its foundation in 1935, it has been directed by a succession of some of the most distinguished Czech choirmasters (including among others Jan Kühn, Josef Veselka and Pavel Kühn). Since 2007 its principal choirmaster has been Lukáš Vasilek.

The PPC’s repertoire is centered primarily around oratorio and cantata works. In their presentation, the choir has worked with eminent international orchestras (e.g., Czech Philharmonic, the Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Symphoniker, among others), and conductors (including Daniel Barenboim, Jakub Hrůša, Tomáš Netopil, Zubin Mehta or Sir Simon Rattle). Beyond its standard choral repertoire, the PPC is likewise active in the domain of opera, working regularly with the National Theater in Prague, and since 2010 holding the status of choir in residence at the opera festival of Bregenz, Austria.

Apart from these commitments, the PPC engages in a number of its own projects. Since 2011 it has organized its own choral concert series in Prague, with a program focused notably on presentations of less well known choral works, either a cappella or with chamber-scale instrumental accompaniment. The choir regards as an inseparable part of its activity educational endeavours targeting the young generations. In this context, it has been involved in organizing a Choral Academy for students of singing, a project aimed at enabling young artists to acquire practical skills through work with a professional vocal ensemble.

The PPCʼs many commitments in the 2019/2020 season include among others concert appearances at the Dvořák Prague and Prague Spring festivals, a tour in Hong Kong, a performance in Moscowʼs new concert hall, Zaryadye, as well as debut appearances at the Salzburg Easter Festival, with Staatskapelle Dresden and Christian Thielemann, or at the Elbphilharmonie hall, with the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Jakub Hrůša, and with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra under the baton of Alan Gilbert. The PPC will bring its 85th season to a close by appearances at several festivals, including Smetana Litomyšl, St. Gallen Festival in Switzerland, and the opera festival in Bregenz, Austria. The Prague Philharmonic Choir is the recipient of the 2018 Classic Prague Award for Best Vocal Concert, and Czech Televisionʼs Classical Music of the Year Award.

Kateřina Kněžíková  soprano
Kateřina Kněžíková

Kateřina Kněžíková, born 1982 in Bohumín, graduated from Prague Conservatory in 2007 and in 2010 she completed her university degree at Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague as a student of Jiřina Přívratská. She has been the prize-winner of numerous competitions, for example Antonín Dvořák’s International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary.

In 2005, Kateřina Kněžíková made her debut in the National Theatre in Prague in the role of Zerlina and she has been a permanent cast member thereof since 2006. This is where her operatic engagements over recent years include roles such as Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Serpetta (La Finta giardiniera), Servilia (La Clemenza di Tito), Blonde (Entführung aus dem Serail), Despina (Cosí fan tutte), Ilja (Idomeneo), Almirena (Rinaldo), Adina (Elisir d’amore), Barče (Hubička), Terinka (Jakobín), Nannetta (Falstaff), Aristea (L’Olimpiade) and many others.

She made her guest appearance in F. X. Šalda Theatre Liberec, J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen, National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava, Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava, Theatre de Caen, Opéra Royal de Versailles, Theatre Royal de La Monnaie in Brussels and Opéra de Dijon.

She has been performing in productions of various directors - D. Beneš, Karl-Ernst and Ursel Herrmann, J. Heřman, L. Keprtová, L. Moaty, J. Nekvasil, V. Věžník etc.

Her professional concert and operatic engagements have involved work with conductors such as S. Baudo, J. Bělohlávek, A. Fisch, J. Gaffigan, M. Honeck, H. M. Förster, J. Hrůša, R. Jindra, V. Luks, E. Mazzola, J. Nelson, T. Netopil and outstanding orchestras including BBC Symphony orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Collegium 1704, Czech Philharmonic, Hessischer Rundfunk Frankfurt am Main, PKF - Prague Philharmonia, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and many others.

She regularly makes her appearance at prestigious international festivals in the Czech Republic and abroad (Dvořákova Praha International Music Festival, International Music Festival Janáček Máj, Prague Spring International Music Festival, International Opera Festival Smetana’s Litomyšl, St. Venceslav Music Festival, Strings of Autumn, Festival de La Chaise-Dieu, Festival Rencontres Musicales de Vétzelay, Festival Baroque de Pontoise, Music Bridge Prague – Dresden, Uckermärkische Musikwochen, Tage Alte Musik Regensburg etc.).

She made recordings for Czech Radio, television channel MEZZO and Belgian radio station RTFB International. She recorded Bartered Bride by Bedřich Smetana for HARMONIA MUNDI and her recording of Dove é amore é gelosia produced for OPUS ARTE DVD was awarded “Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik“.

Severáček, Liberec Children’s Choir  choir

Frank Peter Zimmermann  violin
Frank Peter Zimmermann

Frank Peter Zimmermann is widely regarded as one of the foremost violinists of his generation. Praised for his selfless musicality, his brilliance and keen intelligence he has been performing with all major orchestras in the world for well over three decades, collaborating on these occasions with the world’s most renowned conductors. His many concert engagements take him to all important concert venues and international music festivals in Europe, the United States, Japan, South America and Australia.

Frank Peter Zimmermann gives numerous concerts, which are received with great critical acclaim from press and public alike. His regular recital partners are pianists Enrico Pace, Emanuel Ax, Christian Zacharias and Piotr Anderzewski.

Frank Peter Zimmermann has given world premieres of three violin concertos: Matthias Pintscher’s En Sourdine with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Peter Eötvös (2003), Brett Dean’s The Lost Art of Letter Writing with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by the composer himself (2007) and Augusta Read Thomas’s Juggler in Paradise with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Andrey Boreyko (2009).

He received a number of prizes and honors including the Premio del Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena (1990), the Rheinischer Kulturpreis (1994), the Musikpreis of the city of Duisburg (2002), the Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse (2008) and the Paul-Hindemith-Preis der Stadt Hanau (2010).

His impressive discography of award-winning recordings for EMI Classics, Sony Classical, BIS, Ondine, Teldec Classics and ECM Records ranges from Bach to Ligeti and also comprises many works from the recital repertoire. In 2014 his second recording of Dvořák’s Violin Concerto was released by Decca as part of Dvořák complete symphonies and concertos with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Jiří Bělohlávek. In February 2015 Hänssler Classic released his new recording of Mozart’s Violin Concertos Nos. 1, 3 and 4 with the Kammerorchester des Symphonieorchesters des Bayerischen Rundfunks.

Born in 1965 in Duisburg, Germany, he started playing the violin when he was 5 years old, giving his first concert with orchestra at the age of 10. He studied with Valery Gradov, Saschko Gawriloff and Herman Krebbers. He plays on the “Général Dupont, Grumiaux” Stradivari (1727) lent to him by Mr Yu.


Arthur Honegger — Vánoční kantáta pro baryton, dětský a smíšený sbor, varhany a orchestr

Antonín Dvořák — Te Deum, pro sóla, sbor a orchestr op. 103

Chvalozpěv Te Deum laudamus, te Dominum confitemur (Tebe Bože chválíme, Tobě Pane vzdáváme díky) napsal na přelomu 4. a 5. století biskup Nicetas z Remesiany (dnešní srbská Bela Palanka). Hojně zhudebňovaný text nacházel své společenské použití nejčastěji při těch příležitostech, kdy bylo na místě děkovat Bohu za mimořádnou milost, jakou byla například skončená bitva, přestálá morová nákaza nebo narození následníka trůnu.

Právě tento univerzálně srozumitelný podtext slavnostního díku vedl Antonína Dvořáka k volbě slov této modlitby pro objednanou kantátu k čtyřstému výročí objevení Ameriky v roce 1892 – tím spíše, že to byla volba „nouzová“. Kompozice spadá do období příprav na skladatelovo působení ve Spojených státech. Dvořákova nastávající zaměstnavatelka, intendantka newyorské konzervatoře Jeanette Thurberová, plánovala pro svého českého profesora kompoziční entrée v rámci plánovaných oslav. Zamýšlený domácí, tedy americký, básnický text nicméně nestihla do Evropy dodat s dostatečným předstihem před datem Dvořákova vyplutí ze starého kontinentu. Ke slovu tedy jako náhradník přišlo Te Deum a opožděný text Josepha Rodmana Drakea později Dvořák zhudebnil v kantátě Americký prapor.

Slova modlitby dělí Dvořák do čtyř vět v podstatě o symfonickém půdorysu. Slavnostní hřmotná úvodní věta (Te deum laudamus) má ve svém středu jako kontrast oslavu zcela intimní (sólo Sanctus Dominus Deus sabaoth). Druhá, volnější věta se od slavnostních fanfár (Tu Rex gloriae) přesouvá opět do niternějšího tónu a kontrast přináší opět hybná věta třetí (Aeterna fac). Finální část začíná z osamocené prosby Dignare Domine a roste do závěrečného mohutného Alleluja.

Jiří Gemrot — Vzkříšení světla a naděje

Bohuslav Martinů — Koncert pro housle a orchestr č. 1 H 232