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New Year’s Concert
This time, our annual shared musical welcoming in of the New Year will also be a birthday celebration. On 4 January 2021 it will have been 125 years since the musicians of the Czech Philharmonic first gathered on the stage of the Dvořák Hall under the baton of Antonín Dvořák.
Entry of the Gladiators, march, Op. 68
The Grouchy Old Bear, polka for bassoon and orchestra, Op. 210
Playing at Swans and Peacocks, 2nd movement of A Fairy Tale, Op. 16
The Frog from music for the fairytale The Emperor’s Nightingale
Cavalier Waltz from the operetta Polish Blood
Memories of Zbiroh
Winter Storms Waltz, Op. 184
The Kiss, overture to the opera
Concerto grosso for two violins, cello and orchestra (world première)
Polonaise from Act II of the opera Rusalka, Op. 114
Rondo in G Minor, Op. 94 for cello and orchestra
Skočná (Dance of the Comedians) from the opera The Bartered Bride
Slavonic Dance No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 46
Slavonic Dance No. 8 in G Minor, Op. 46
Jiří Vodička violin
Jan Mráček violin
Václav Petr cello
Robert Kozánek trombone
Ondřej Roskovec bassoon
Jaroslav Halíř trumpet
Tomáš Netopil conductor
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This time, our annual shared musical welcoming in of the New Year will also be a birthday celebration. On 4 January 2021 it will have been 125 years since the musicians of the Czech Philharmonic first gathered on the stage of the Dvořák Hall under the baton of Antonín Dvořák. In the course of one and a quarter century, the leading Czech orchestra has undergone an initial struggle to maintain its existence, has grown artistically, and over the following decades has fulfilled one of its greatest goals by performing before capacity audiences in prestigious concert halls around the world.
We have decided to celebrate the New Year and this major anniversary“in dance rhythm”with works exclusively by Czech composers. Their music will give each instrumental group and their principal players including the concert masters a chance to shine. There will be selections from Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances, Suk’s stylised polka from the second movement of A Fairy Tale, Op. 16, Smetana’s overture to the opera The Kiss, and a popular piece by Václav Trojan titled The Frog. The music of Dvořák’s pupil Oskar Nedbal will not be overlooked, either – a conductor, composer, and violist, Nedbal was an important figure in the European musical circles of his day. He had a major influence over the Czech Philharmonic’s artistic development, and he also led the orchestra out of financial difficulties. 24 December 2020 will be the 90th anniversary of his death. We will also be hearing the Cavalier Waltz from Nedbal’s operetta Polish Blood. We will also remember the music of another of Dvořák’s pupils, Julius Fučík, who dedicated pieces to the Czech Philharmonic including the march Sempre avanti!
For the occasion of the Czech Philharmonic jubilee, Jan Kučera has composed a Concerto grosso for two violins, cello and orchestra. The concertmasters Jiří Vodička, Jan Mráček, and Václav Petr will be featured in the world première of Kučera’s concerto.
Concert is organised by the Czech Philharmonic in cooperation with Impresario – Czech Artist Agency.
Requested dress code is Black Tie.
The Czech violinist Jan Mráček was born in 1991 in Pilsen and began studying violin at the age of five with Magdaléna Micková. From 2003 he studied with Jiří Fišer, graduating with honors from the Prague Conservatory in 2013, and until recently at the University of Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna under the guidance of the Vienna Symphony concertmaster Jan Pospíchal.
As a teenager he enjoyed his first major successes, winning numerous competitions, participating in the master classes of Maestro Václav Hudeček – the beginning of a long and fruitful association. He won the Czech National Conservatory Competition in 2008, the Hradec International Competition with the Dvořák concerto and the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra in 2009, was the youngest Laureate of the Prague Spring International Festival competition in 2010, and in 2011 he became the youngest soloist in the history of the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2014 he was awarded first prize at Fritz Kreisler International Violin Competition at the Vienna Konzerthaus. When the victory of Jan Mráček was confirmed, there was thunderous applause from the audience and the jury. The jury president announced, “Jan is a worthy winner. He has fascinated us from the first round. Not only with his technical skills, but also with his charisma on stage.”
Jan Mráček has performed as a soloist with the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra and Romanian Radio Symphony (both under Sascha Goetzel), Lappeenranta City Orchestra (Finland), Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK), Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra and almost all Czech regional orchestras.
Jan Mráček had the honor of being invited by Maestro Jiří Bělohlávek to guest lead the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in their three concert residency at Vienna’s Musikverein, and the European Youth Orchestra under Gianandrea Noseda and Xian Zhang on their 2015 summer tour.
In 2008 he joined the Lobkowicz Piano Trio, which was awarded first prize and the audience prize at the International Johannes Brahms Competition in Pörtschach, Austria in 2014. His recording of the Dvořák violin concerto and other works by this Czech composer under James Judd with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra was recently released on the Onyx label and has received excellent reviews.
In addition to his British debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, in season 2017/2018 Jan Mráček made his American debut with the St Louis Symphony under Han-Na Chang, with the Symphony of Florida with James Judd, debuts in Dubai with the Vienna Concert Verein and in China with the Slovenian Philharmonic, the Czech Philharmonic under Manuel López-Gómez as well as recitals at festivals in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Greece. In April 2017 he made his Swiss debut with the Tchaikovsky concerto as an Orpheum Foundation soloist in Zurich’s Tonhalle with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Fedoseyev. In July 2017 he performed with the Asian Youth Orchestra in Tokyo. In November 2018, Jan Mráček played Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Prague Symphony Orchestra again under the direction of Vladimir Fedoseyev.
Jan Mráček plays on a Carlo Fernando Landolfi violin, Milan 1758, generously loaned to him by Mr Peter Biddulph.
Jiří Vodička, a concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, soloist and chamber musician, is one of the most prominent and most sought-after Czech violinists. He made a name for himself in childhood by winning prizes in many competitions such as the Jaroslav Kocian International Violin Competition, Prague Junior Note, and “Čírenie talentov” Competition in Slovakia. In 2002 he won first prize in the international violin competition Beethoven’s Hradec, and in the same year he was awarded a prize as the best pupil attending Václav Hudeček’s violin classes. He later performed with Hudeček in dozens of concerts throughout the Czech Republic. In 2004 he became the absolute winner of the International Louis Spohr Competition for Young Violinists in Weimar, Germany. In 2008 he was awarded first and second prizes at the Young Concert Artist Competition, which took place in Leipzig, Germany and New York, USA, respectively. Jiří Vodička enrolled at the Institute of Art Studies at the University of Ostrava at the age of only 14. He studied there under Zdeněk Gola and graduated in 2007 with Master’s degree.
Jiří Vodička regularly performs as a soloist with many leading orchestras both in the Czech Republic (Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, PKF – Prague Philharmonia, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra) and abroad (Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Neue Philharmonie Westfalen). For many years he has been a soloist of the Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra of China. He collaborated with the recently deceased conductor Jiří Bělohlávek and continues to work with other prominent conductors such as Jakub Hrůša, Tomáš Netopil and Semyon Bychkov.
In 2014 he recorded his debut solo album Violino Solo with Supraphon, featuring the most difficult compositions for solo violin. It received great critical acclaim in the Czech Republic and also abroad. Many of his concerts have been broadcast by Czech TV, Czech Radio as well as ARD broadcasting company of Germany.
As a chamber musician he performs with outstanding Czech pianists Martin Kasík, Ivo Kahánek, Ivan Klánský and Miroslav Sekera. In 2011 he was invited by the famous violinist Gidon Kremer to perform together with many world-famous musicians at his Kammermusikfest in Lockenhaus, Austria. He regularly appears at important festivals such as the Prague Spring, Janáček’s May, Hohenloher Kultursommer and the Choriner Musiksommer. Since 2012 he has been a member of the Smetana Trio, with whom he has recorded two CDs for Supraphon, which won the prestigious award of BBC Music Magazine and Diapason d’Or.
In 2015 Jiří Vodička became a concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic. He teaches at the Prague Conservatory and at the Ostrava University. He plays an Italian instrument made by Joseph Gagliano in 1774.
Born in 1989 in Prague, Václav Petr began playing the cello at the age of four under the guidance of Mirko Škampa. In 2008 he graduated from the Jan Neruda Grammar School of Music in Prague. While still a student, he received several accolades at both Czech and international competitions, including 2nd prizes at the international cello competitions in Ústí nad Orlicí (2001) and Liezen, Austria (2002). In 2004 he won 1st prize and a number of other awards at Prague Junior Note and in 2005 was overall winner of Talents for Europe.
Moreover, he garnered success at the Concertino Praga radio competition (2007), the David Popper International Cello Competition in Budapest (2007), the Antonio Janigro International Cello Competition in Zagreb (2008), the Bohuslav Martinů International Cello Competition in Prague (2008, 2012), the Johann Friedrich Dotzauer International Competition in Dresden (2009), the Rudolf Matz International Competition in Dubrovnik (2010), and other competitions. In 2010, on the basis of a DVD recording, he was chosen to be one of the 12 participants of the Grand Prix Emanuel Feurmann in Berlin.
At the age of twelve, Václav Petr had his first solo performance with an orchestra. In 2004, 2006 and 2008 he appeared as a soloist at the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum in Prague, accompanied by the PKF – Prague Philharmonia within the “Josef Suk Presents Young Talents” cycle. He has also performed abroad, in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, Croatia and other countries.
In 2008 and 2010 he attended master classes in Kronberg, studying with Anner Bylsma and David Geringas. In 2009 he received a scholarship for Jens Peter Maintz’s summer master classes in Hamburg. On the basis of a recording, he was selected to participate in the 2010 European Music Academy in Bonn, guided by Wolfgang Boettcher, who also taught him in July of the same year at the 40th International Master Classes in Vaduz. In 2010 he was selected to join Marie Kliegel’s class within the Holland Music Sessions.
Václav Petr is also an active chamber player. Since 2009 he has been a member of Ensemble Taras (formerly the Taras Piano Trio), with whom in 2010 he won 1st prize at the international music competition in Val Tidone, Italy. In 2012, he and the violinist Radim Kresta (as a violin-cello duo) came third in the Salieri-Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition and a year later (as a piano quartet, with the violist Eva Krestová and the pianist Václav Mácha) they won the competition. In 2013 the quartet won the prestigious Premio Trio di Trieste, which resulted in their being afforded the opportunity to record a CD and DVD and tour Europe and the USA.
Since 2008 Václav Petr has studied at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (starting in the class of Daniel Veis and since 2011 continuing to hone his skills with Michal Kaňka). In 2010 and 2011 he studied within the Erasmus program at the Universität der Künste in Berlin with Wolfgang Boettcher. Since January 2014 he has been a concert master of the Czech Philharmonic orchestra.
In 1992 Jaroslav Halíř won the international competition Concertino Praga. Shortly afterwards he was invited to participate at the trumpet seminar of the European Music Academy in Bonn led by Prof. Edward H. Tarr. Subsequently he began to give solo performances and garnered many prizes in international musical competitions.
In 1995 he recorded his first solo CD. In 1996 he became a member of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, where since 2001 he has been the first trumpet and also performed as a soloist in the works of A. Jolivet, J. Matěj and V. Trojan. He is one of the most sought-after studio performers of modern music, and since 2010 a member of the jazz ensemble Czech Philharmonic JazzBand.
Tomáš Netopil took up the position of General Music Director of the Aalto Musiktheater and Philharmonie Essen at the start of 2013/2014.
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 2020, in association with the Dvořák Prague Festival, the Academy will establish the Dvořákova Praha Youth Philharmonic with musicians from conservatories and music academies, coached by principal players of the Czech Philharmonic. Tomáš Netopil has held a close relationship with the Dvořák Prague Festival for some time: in 2017/2018, he served as their Artist in Residence, opening the festival with Essen Philharmoniker and closing the festival with Dvořák’s Te Deum and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. This new undertaking will consolidate this relationship still further.
An inspirational force in Czech music, Tomáš Netopil also holds the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. He ended the 2018/2019 season with two programmes at the Kissinger Summer Festival with Leif Ove Andsnes and Truls Mörk, the first of which was broadcast live on Bavarian Radio. 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.
A regular guest with major opera houses, Netopil made his debut with Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden in 2008 and has subsequently conducted La clemenza di Tito, Rusalka, The Cunning Little Vixen, La Juive, The Bartered Bride, and Busoni’s Doktor Faust for them. Following previous successes in Vienna Staatsoper, including most recently Idomeneo and Der Freischütz, he returns to the house this season for a new production of Leonore. He will also conduct Opera Národní divadlo Brno’s production of The Greek Passion. One of the highlights of last season was Katie Mitchell’s acclaimed production of Jenůfa for Netherlands Opera, featuring Annette Dasch, Hanna Schwarz and Evelyn Herlitzius.
On the concert platform, upcoming orchestral engagements include Orchestre National de France, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Montpellier, RAI Torino, Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. Highlights of recent seasons have included Zürich Tonhalle, as well as engagements with Orchestre de Paris, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo.
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.
From 2008–2012 Tomáš Netopil held the position of Music Director of the Prague National Theatre. Tomáš Netopil 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.
„Český král pochodů“ Julius Fučík, strýc komunistického novináře popraveného nacisty, napsal přes 400 skladeb. Dominují mezi nimi pochody, valčíky a předehry, z nichž bezkonkurenčně nejslavnější je pochod Vjezd gladiátorů. Na konzervatoři studoval ve třídě Antonína Dvořáka a hudební kariéra mu připravila pestrý kočovný život. Působil v Kremži, Záhřebu, Sarajevu, Budapešti, Terezíně a nakonec v Praze. Sarajevské období pro Fučíka znamenalo první kapelnické zkušenosti, navíc ve vojenském prostředí. Zde proto napsal řadu skladeb pro potřeby vojenského orchestru, včetně Vjezdu gladiátorů v roce 1897. Fučíkova představa triumfálního nástupu starořímských gladiátorů do arény se později přenesla do cirkusového prostředí díky úpravě kanadského skladatele Louise-Philippa Laurendeaua, který ji vydal pod názvem Thunder and Blazes. Fučíkova melodie se tak stala celosvětově známou. Byla také využita v několika slavných filmech – od Felliniho snímku Klauni, až po několik dílů seriálu Simpsonovi.