Concert will be broadcasted on ČT art and streamed on facebook pages of the Czech Philharmonic.
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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 21
Overture a Scherzo
Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
Marek Eben host
Stanislav Masaryk trumpet
Semyon Bychkov conductor
Performing to an audience in excess of 500, the Czech Philharmonic's concert on Wednesday 24 June is the culmination of a series of concerts that the Orchestra has presented since the beginning of lockdown which started with two players wearing masks and has built to an orchestra of 62 players. With borders opening across the Schengen area on 15 June, the concert celebrates the re-opening of galleries, museums, cinemas and theatres in the Czech Republic.
Held in the grounds of the neo-gothic Sychrov Castle just outside Prague, the performance will be conducted by Chief Conductor and Music Director Semyon Bychkov in his first appearance with the Orchestra since the start of the pandemic. “Under any circumstance it is always a source of joy to come back to our beloved Czech Philharmonic and its public, however short or long our separation may have been. Yet this time is unlike any other. All of us had to be apart for many months, reduced to a musical silence and worrying about the well-being of all our colleagues and their families, as well as humanity in general. The pandemic isn’t over, the fight for life continues. Except now a new medication is allowed which heals the soul. It is of course music, whose spiritual power sustains us in life’s most difficult moments. Even more than ever we all need the kind of music that is life affirming, that simply carries the joy of living, the strength of the human spirit and its capacity to absorb the losses that come its way. The music of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Haydn that we will perform for you on 24 June represents exactly the life we lead, the challenges we face and our ability to overcome them. Welcome to our Celebration of Life!” said Semyon Bychkov.
The concert – on the evening of Midsummer's Day - opens appropriately with Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture and Scherzo followed by Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in E flat major. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 will close the concert which will be broadcast live on Czech TV and via the Czech Philharmonic’s Facebook. Prior to the concert each of the musicians taking part, in addition to conductor Semyon Bychkov, trumpet soloist Stanislav Masaryk and, presenter Marek Eben, will be tested for coronavirus.
Attesting to the importance of the occasion, the concert will be attended by Czech Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek in collaboration with the National Heritage Institute. The concert is a thank you to the doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals from across the Czech Republic who have been fighting the pandemicand will form a large proportion of the invited guests. The Czech Philharmonic's first Covid-19 benefit was also in their honour and raised a record 7.5 million crowns (£250,000) from an international audience of more than 180,000.
Born in Slovakia, Stanislav Masaryk (1993) has been playing the trumpet since the age of nine. As an exceptional student aged 13, he joined the class of JUDr. Michal Janoš at the Bratislava Conservatory and was enrolled there in the following year. He later continued at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava with Mgr. art. Rastislav Suchan ArtD. He finished 2nd in the Slovak Conservatories Competition in 2009 and took the 1st prize in 2012. In 2015, he won the Yamaha Scholarship Award. He was awarded the 1st prize and the title of the overall winner at the International Competition for Wind Instruments Brno 2017 among more than 60 trumpet players from the Visegrad Four countries.
He joined the hot-jazz orchestra Bratislava Hot Serenaders (led by trumpeter Jurej Bartoš) in 2009. In 2012–2015, he was a member of the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2017 and 2018, he was the first trumpeter of the National Theatre Opera Orchestra in Prague. During that time, he started regularly collaborating with the Czech Philharmonic. He also occasionally plays as a guest in the Slovak Philharmonic and is currently the first trumpeter of the Slovak National Theatre Opera Orchestra.
As a soloist, he has performed with the Slovak Philharmonic, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Slovak Chamber Orchestra of Bohdan Warchal, Košice State Philharmonic, Cappella Istropolitana, State Chamber Orchestra Žilina, the chamber as well as the symphony orchestra of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and the Slovak Youth Orchestra.
He has joined the Czech Philharmonic as the first trumpeter in September 2020.
Celebrating both his fifth season as Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic and his 70th birthday, Semyon Bychkov will celebrate his birthday with three concerts in November pairing Beethoven’s Fifth with Shostakovich’s Fifth. It is a season which opens in Prague with the official concert to mark the Czech Republic’s Presidency of the EU and continues with concert performances of Dvořák’s Rusalka as part of the Dvořákova Prague International Music Festival. Later in the season, Bychkov will conduct Rusalka at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Bychkov's tenure at the Czech Philharmonic was initiated in 2018 with concerts in Prague, London, New York and Washington marking the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovak independence. With the culmination of The Tchaikovsky Project in 2019, Bychkov and the Orchestra turned their focus to Mahler. In 2022, Pentatone has already released two discs in the ongoing complete symphonic cycle – Mahler’s Fourth and Fifth Symphonies.
Bychkov's repertoire spans four centuries. The unique combination of innate musicality and rigorous Russian pedagogy ensure that his performances are highly anticipated. In addition to being a guest with the major orchestras and opera houses across Europe and the US, Bychkov holds honorary titles with the BBC Symphony Orchestra – with whom he appears annually at the BBC Proms – and the Royal Academy of Music from whom he recently received an Honorary Doctorate. In 2015, he was named "Conductor of the Year’ by the International Opera Awards.
Bychkov began recording for Philips in 1989 and released discs with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio, Royal Concertgebouw, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris. Subsequently a series of benchmark recordings with WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne included a complete cycle of Brahms Symphonies, together with works by Strauss, Mahler, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov, Verdi, Glanert and Höller. His 1992 recording of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin was BBC’s Radio 3’s Building a Library recommended recording (2020); Wagner’s Lohengrin was BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Year (2010); and Schmidt’s Symphony No. 2 with the Vienna Philharmonic was BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Month (2018).
In common with the Czech Philharmonic, Bychkov has one foot firmly in the culture of the East and the other in the West. Born in St Petersburg in 1952, he emigrated to the United States in 1975 and has lived in Europe since the mid-1980's. Singled out for an extraordinarily privileged musical education from the age of 5, Bychkov studied piano before winning his place at the Glinka Choir School where, aged 13, he received his first lesson in conducting. He was 17 when he was accepted at the Leningrad Conservatory to study with the legendary Ilya Musin and, within three years had won the influential Rachmaninov Conducting Competition. Denied the prize of conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic, Bychkov left the former Soviet Union in 1975. He returned in 1989 as Principal Guest Conductor of the St Petersburg Philharmonic and, the same year, was named Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris. In 1997, Bychkov was appointed Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, and in 1998, Chief Conductor of the Dresden Semperoper.