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The April programme of Series C opens with two composers associated with the city of Brno. Jan Novák was born in Nová Říše, but he received his musical education at the Brno Conservatoire.
Philharmonic Dances (16')
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 (24')
Symphony in D Minor (37')
Jiří Vodička violin
Tomáš Netopil conductor
The April programme of Series C opens with two composers associated with the city of Brno. Jan Novák was born in Nová Říše, but he received his musical education at the Brno Conservatoire. He also dedicated his Philharmonic Dances to the Brno Philharmonic shortly after its founding and the work immediately became firmly entrenched in the orchestra’s repertoire. Novák was a pupil of Vilém Petrželka, Pavel Bořkovec, and Bohuslav Martinů. Besides classical works, he also wrote music for films including Kachyňa’s Coach to Vienna and Karel Zeman’s The Stolen Airship.
Brno native Erich Wolfgang Korngold was famous for film music. It even saved his life. At the request of the Warner Brothers film studio he travelled from Vienna to Hollywood in 1938, thereby escaping the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany. He won an Oscar for his music to the film The Adventures of Robin Hood, which he composed after arriving in America. Korngold decided that he would only compose film music until the end of the war. His Violin Concerto was the first work he wrote after the defeat of Hitler’s Germany. In the concerto there is a reflection of nostalgia for the Viennese “fin de siècle” and the work is dedicated to the widow of Korngold’s teacher, Alma Mahler.
César Franck wrote his only symphony just two years before his death, having been encouraged by the success of his Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra. In France in those days, the symphonic genre was regarded as German and after the première of the work, the French critics condemned the symphony as dull, gloomy, and clumsy. Just two years later, it was already one of the most famous symphonic compositions in the entire world.
Jiří Vodička is one of the most illustrious Czech violin soloists. Thanks to his extraordinary talent, he won prestigious competitions at an early age (Kocian International Violin Competition in Ústí nad Orlicí, Louis Spohr International Violin Competition in Weimar, Germany, Beethoven’s Hradec, and the Slovak competition Čírenie talentov). He also won the first and second prizes at the world-famous international competition Young Concert Artists, held in Leipzig and New York. At age 14 he was given a special exception allowing him study at a university. Under the guidance of the renowned teacher Zdeněk Gola, he earned his Master’s Degree at the Institute for Artistic Studies in Ostrava in 2007.
He regularly appears as a soloist with the top orchestras at home and abroad, he is invited to the most famous classical music festivals, and his concerts are broadcast regularly on Czech Television and Czech Radio. In 2014 on the Supraphon label he recorded his debut solo album “Violino Solo” with some of the most difficult compositions for violin solo. The CD got great reviews in this country and abroad. Besides solo playing, he also performs chamber music. In 2020 he founded the Czech Philharmonic Piano Trio with two other soloists (Martin Kasík – piano, Václav Petr – cello). In 2021 they won the Vienna International Music Competition. Their video recordings are regularly seen by hundreds of thousands of viewers on social media.
Since 2015 he has also held the post of concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic. In 2019 he was honoured by the prestigious Prague Classic Awards. He also teaches at the Prague Conservatoire and the University of Ostrava.
An inspirational force in Czech music, Tomáš Netopil holds the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. In early Spring 2018 he led the orchestra on an extensive UK tour, and conducted Má vlast in the opening concert of the 2018 Prague Spring Festival, which was televised live. In the 2020/2021 season, his engagements with them included conducting at the Smetana's Litomyšl Festival in June 2021.
Tomáš Netopil celebrates his tenth and final season as General Music Director of the Aalto Musiktheater and Philharmonie Essen in 2022/23. This season features Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Kampe’s Dogville and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. This season will also see him lead a production of Janáček Káťa Kabanová at Grand Théâtre de Genève.
In Summer 2018 Tomáš Netopil created the International Summer Music Academy in Kroměříž offering students both exceptional artistic tuition and the opportunity to meet and work with major international musicians. In Summer 2021, in association with the Dvořák Prague Festival, the Academy established the Dvořákova Praha Youth Philharmonic with musicians from conservatories and music academies, coached by principal players of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
Operatic highlights beyond Essen include Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden (La clemenza di Tito, Rusalka, The Cunning Little Vixen, La Juive, The Bartered Bride, and Busoni’s Doktor Faust), Vienna Staatsoper (his most recent successes include Idomeneo, Der Freischütz, and a new production of Leonore) and for Netherlands Opera (Jenůfa). His concert highlights of recent seasons have included Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich as well as engagements with Orchestre de Paris, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Orchestra Sinfonica della Rai and Aspen Music Festival.
Tomáš Netopil’s discography for Supraphon includes Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass (the first ever recording of the original 1927 version), Dvořák’s complete cello works, Martinů’s Ariane and Double Concerto, and Smetana’s Má vlast with the Prague Symphony Orchestra. During his tenure in Essen, he has recorded Suk Asrael and Mahler Symphonies No.6 and 9.
From 2008–2012 Tomáš Netopil held the position of Music Director of the Prague National Theatre. He studied violin and conducting in his native Czech Republic, as well as at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm under the guidance of Professor Jorma Panula. In 2002 he won the 1st Sir Georg Solti Conductors Competition at the Alte Oper Frankfurt.