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Please note that pianist Martin Helmchen will replace the indisposed Behzod Abduraimov. Programme of the concerts remains unchanged.
Háry János, suite from the opera
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15
War and Peace, suite from the opera
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.
Ludwig van Beethoven began his professional career in music as a pianist who also composed. Beethoven’s legacy for piano is monumental, and standing at its pinnacle are the 32 piano sonatas, which follow Bach’s earlier Well-Tempered Clavier as the New Testament of piano playing, and the five piano concertos. That is, the five numbered and finished piano concertos! Before having made Vienna his permanent home, Beethoven also composed a Piano Concerto in E Flat Major (1784). Dating from the late 1780s is the Piano Concerto in B Flat Major, which the composer did not have published until 1801; he numbered it as his 2nd Piano Concerto. His Piano Concerto in C Major, Op. 15, is actually his third solo concerto. It was premiered in Vienna on 18 December 1795, but it was not published until after careful revisions, also in 1801, when the concerto was numbered as his first.
By the 1790s, Beethoven had already firmly chosen the path his life would take. All of the prerequisites had been met for a successful career as a musical “genius”. Beethoven was fascinating because of his conspicuous – and rather preoccupied – personality, and he was a resourceful improviser. He took composition lessons from the great Joseph Haydn, and it seemed that after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s premature death, it was Beethoven who was to be seated upon the “musical throne”. He became someone who was talked and written about. His First Piano Concerto documents this situation wonderfully; the composition unabashedly builds upon Mozart’s piano concertos. Haydn conducted the first performance, and Beethoven played the piano part, for which he wrote some brilliant cadenzas (one for the first movement and two for the concluding rondo). The first movement is in keeping with the sonata form of Mozart’s concertos, in which the soloist does not work with the themes until after an orchestral exposition. Nonetheless, Beethoven increased the virtuosic element of the solo part and created a highly elaborate harmonic framework. In the second movement, Beethoven unfolded melodic phrases of unusual breadth, and he reduced the wind section to allow a dialogue between the piano and the clarinets. The third movement absolutely abounds with Haydnesque humour. The music of the sonata-rondo drives ahead with no lack of sharp contrasts of dynamics, and there are also surprising tempo changes.