Jakub Hrůša is Chief Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
He is a frequent guest with the world’s greatest orchestras, including the Vienna, Berlin, Munich and New York Philharmonics; Bavarian Radio, NHK, Chicago and Boston Symphonies; Leipzig Gewandhaus, Lucerne Festival, Royal Concertgebouw, Mahler Chamber and The Cleveland Orchestras; Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and Tonhalle Orchester Zürich. He has led opera productions for the Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Opéra National de Paris, and Zurich Opera. He has also been a regular guest with Glyndebourne Festival and served as Music Director of Glyndebourne On Tour for three years.
His recording of Martinů and Bartók violin concertos with Bamberg Symphony was nominated for a Gramophone Award, and his Dvořák Violin Concerto CD with the Bavarian Radio Symphony was nominated for a Grammy Award. In 2020, his recordings of Dvořák and Martinů Piano Concertos with Bamberg Symphony, and Vanessa from Glyndebourne, won BBC Music Magazine Awards. Other releases include Dvořák and Brahms Symphonies with Bamberg Symphony, Suk’s Asrael with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, and Dvořák’s Requiem and Te Deum with the Czech Philharmonic.
Hrůša studied at Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts, where his teachers included Jiří Bělohlávek. He is President of the International Martinů Circle and The Dvořák Society. He was the inaugural recipient of the Sir Charles Mackerras Prize, and in 2020 was awarded the Antonín Dvořák Prize by the Czech Republic’s Academy of Classical Music, and – with Bamberg Symphony – the Bavarian State Prize for Music.
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 studied conducting and musicology. Since 2007 he has been the chief choirmaster of the Prague Philharmonic Choir. Most of his artistic activity with the choir involves rehearsing and performing a cappella repertoire along with preparing the choir to perform in large-scale cantata, oratorio, and opera projects in collaboration with world-famous conductors and orchestras (Berlin Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic etc.).
Besides his work with the Prague Philharmonic Choir, he also engages in other performing activities mainly in cooperation with the Martinů Voices, which he founded in 2010. He is credited as a conductor or choirmaster on a large number of Prague Philharmonic Choir recordings made for important international labels (Decca Classics, Supraphon). In recent years, he has been devoting himself systematically to recording the choral music of Bohuslav Martinů. His recordings have won exceptional acclaim abroad, earning honours including awards from the prestigious journals Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, and Diapason.
The Prague Philharmonic Choir is the most important and oldest professional mixed choir in the Czech Republic. During its long history, there has been a succession of the most important Czech choirmasters at its helm; since 2007, the chief choirmaster has been Lukáš Vasilek, and the second choirmaster is currently Lukáš Kozubík.
The Prague Philharmonic Choir performs mainly the oratorio and cantata repertoire in collaboration with the world most famous orchestras (the Berliner Philharmoniker, Czech Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden or Wiener Symphoniker, among others) led by such illustrious conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta, Fabio Luisi, Semyon Bychkov, Jiří Bělohlávek, and Jakub Hrůša. It also performs in opera as an ensemble-in-residence at the opera festival in Bregenz, Austria.
The choir is realising several projects of its own. Since 2011 it has been presenting an independent series of choral concerts in Prague, with its programming focused mainly on challenging, lesser-known works of the choral repertoire. Music education for young people is an integral part of the choir’s activities, with a Choral Academy for vocal students and a series of educational concerts for younger children.
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“.
Frank Peter Zimmermann is widely regarded as one of the foremost violinists of his generation. He has been performing with all major orchestras in the world, among which the Berlin Philharmonic with whom he made his debut in 1985 with Daniel Barenboim; the Vienna Philharmonic with whom he played for the first time in 1983 with Lorin Maazel in Salzburg; the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, all London orchestras, as well as all big American orchestras. He is a regular guest at all major music festivals, such as Salzburg, Edinburgh and Lucerne. Together with Antoine Tamestit (viola) and Christian Poltéra (cello) he founded the Trio Zimmermann. In recent years he has been giving recitals with pianist Martin Helmchen and during the 2021/22 season they are performing the complete or partial Beethoven sonata cycle in various major cities in Europe. BIS Records has meanwhile released the complete cycle on 3 CDs.
Over the years Frank Peter Zimmermann has built up an impressive discography for EMI Classics, Sony Classical, BIS, Ondine, Hänssler, Decca, Teldec and ECM. He has recorded virtually all major concerto repertoire, ranging from Bach to Ligeti, Dean and Pintscher; the six solo sonatas of Ysaÿe; the 24 Caprices of Paganini and the complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano by J.S. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. Many of these highly acclaimed recordings have received prestigious awards and prizes worldwide. Most recent releases include the two violin concertos of Martinů with the Bamberger Symphoniker and Jakub Hrůša, coupled with the solo sonata of Bartók (BIS); the two violin concertos of Shostakovich with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and Alan Gilbert (BIS; nominated for a Grammy Award.
Born in 1965 in Duisburg, Germany, he started learning playing the violin with his mother when he was 5 years old. He studied with Valery Gradov, Saschko Gawriloff and Herman Krebbers. He plays on the 1711 Antonius Stradivari violin "Lady Inchiquin”, which is kindly provided by the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, "Kunst im Landesbesitz".
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.