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The Czech Republic hosts numerous music competitions for students and young professionals. The winners and laureates of the most important ones present their art at a prestigious concert of the Czech Chamber Music Society.
Sonata for Solo Violin No. 1 in G minor, Op. 27
Allegretto poco scherzoso
Finale. Con brio
Piano Trio No. 3 in C major, H 332
— Intermission —
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sonata in D Major K. 311
Allegro con spirito
Andante con espressione
Preludes, book II - selection
III. La puerta del Vino
VI. Général Lavine - eccentric
IX. Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq. P.P.M.P.C.
XII. Feux d’artifice
Sonata in A minor No. 3, Op. 28
Daniel Matejča violin
Concertino Praga 2021: 2nd prize
Kocian Violin Competition 2019: overall winner
Filip Zaykov violin
Vilém Petras cello
Karolína Františová piano
Bohuslav Martinů Foundation Competition 2018: 1st prize
Matouš Zukal klavír
Prague Spring International Competition 2021: 2nd prize
Gideon Klein Foundation Prize for the best Czech competitor
Daniel Matejča (born in 2005) started playing violin at the age of four under the guidance of his mum Olesie Voličková. After one year he joined Ivan Straus’s class and has been studying with him up to now. His significant achievements include first prizes at Josef Muzika International Violin Competition between 2013–2017 (2014: the special prize – the master instrument of Tomas Pilar), the absolute winner of School of Art Competition (2017), prize “Zlatý oříšek” (2017), a laureate of the Kocian Violin Competition (2019), the first place at Jugend Musiziert Competition in Halle (2019), the first prize at the International Georg Philipp Telemann Violin Competition in Poznan (2020), the second place at the international competition Concertino Praga when he performed Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. He took part in masterclasses under the guidance of Jiří Vodička and Christian Tetzlaff, presenting himself at different violin classes in Litomyšl, Liberec International Violin Academy or International Music Academy Orpheus in Vienna too (Stephen Schipps, Simon James or Michael Frischenschlager). In 2021 he was accepted to study at The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague while studying at Imola music Academy (Maurizio Scirarretta, Boris Belkin) as well.
Trio Incendio was founded in 2016 in Prague by three highly talented Czech musicians – Karolína Františová, Filip Zaykov and Vilém Petras. Since then, The trio has won several national and international competitions, e.g. Gianni Bergamo Classic Music Award in Lugano, Coop Music Awards in Cremona, Concorso Musicale “Marcello Pontillo” in Firenze, Kiejstut Bacewicz Competition in Lodz, Concorso “Massimiliano Antonelli” in Latina and Bohuslav Martinů Competition in Prague, where they also gained the Special Prize for the best interpretation of the work by Martinů. Trio Incendio performs both in the Czech Republic and abroad and participates regularly in master classes with distinguished artists and professors. The young ensemble has already given concerts in some of the most important European venues such as Philharmonie Berlin, Wigmore Hall or Rudolfinum in Prague and festivals like Ticino Musica. Their concerts are appreciated for their passion, stylistic clarity and the beauty of the sound.
Matouš Zukal (*1998) began playing piano at age seven. He has studied at the Grammar and Music School of the City of Prague under Jitka Němcová and at the Prague Conservatoire in the studio of Ivo Kahánek. At present he is continuing his studies under the same professor at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. This year he became a laureate of the Prague Spring International Music Competition, where he won second prize and other special awards—the Gideon Klein Foundation Prize and the Czech Centres Award. In 2019 he was the winner of the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation Competition, where he also won the prize for the best participant, the prize for the best interpretation of a composition by B. Martinů, and the Zorka and Jaroslav Zich Prize. In 2020 he appeared at the Dvořák Prague Festival, where he took part in a performance of the complete piano music of Antonín Dvořák in a piano marathon. Matouš is a member of the Academy of Chamber Music, with which he has taken part at events including the Styriarte Graz Festival. Since his childhood, he has been consulting at masterclasses with such important figures as Sir András Schiff, Lukáš Vondráček, Jiří Hlinka, and Leif Ove Andsnes. In 2021 Matouš was chosen as a scholarship recipient to study at the International Music Academy in Liechtenstein in the studio of Milana Chernyavska.
The Belgian violinist, composer and conductor Eugéne Ysaÿe (1858–1931), a pupil of Henryk Wieniawski, mainly wrote music for the violin, which he often performed himself. A true virtuoso, he was admired for his brilliant technique, combined with musical insight and profound understanding of the content. The set of Six Violin Sonatas, Op. 27, completed in June 1923 and published a year later, encapsulates the evolution of contemporary musical expression. Ysaÿe was inspired to compose the cycle after hearing the Hungarian virtuoso Joseph Szigeti perform J. S. Bach’s sonatas for solo violin, particularly that in G minor, BWV 1001. Aware that Bach could not be equalled, he decided to create works that would present the development of violin techniques and composition methods of his time. Ysaÿe brought to bear such major characteristics as whole-tone scales, dissonances and quartal structures. He also applied virtuoso bow and left-hand technique, yet he warned violinists not to be overly preoccupied with technical facets. Each piece of the set is dedicated to a young contemporary violinist. Sonata No. 1, written in G minor, the key identical with that of the mentioned Bach sonata, is dedicated to Joseph Szigeti, a celebrated virtuoso, for whom other composers, including Ernst Bloch and Béla Bartók, wrote music, and who premiered Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Although reputedly playing in a rather old-fashioned way, Szigeti was generally held in high esteem for his technical skills and thoughtful approach, as attested to his being the dedicatee of Ysaÿe’s challenging sonata.
One of the greatest composers of all time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) was an excellent pianist too. Keyboard works, which include 18 sonatas for solo piano, make up almost one sixth of his oeuvre. The Sonata in D major, KV 311, contemporaneous with the Sonata in C major, KV 309, was written in the autumn of 1777 in Mannheim, where Mozart was staying before moving on to Paris. He dedicated it to the daughters of the court counsellor F. E. Freysinger, a former schoolmate of his father Leopold, whose family Wolfgang had met in Munich. The airily joyous and virtuoso three-movement Sonata in D major features evident traits of the Mannheim school, which played a significant role in the inception of the Classical style. The first movement is in sonata form, with the introductory theme having a quasi-orchestral opening; the dominant key of the second theme, which also starts the recapitulation, is A major. The development section draws upon the last bars of the exposition. The slow middle movement, in 2/4 time and G major, is a lyrical rondo-like Andante, concluding with an impressive piano stylisation. A true rondo starts in 6/8 time in the finale, with an “interposed” cadenza passage containing a reminiscence of the first theme brilliantly ending the virtuoso, technically challenging piece.
“Dear me, what amazing piano playing!” said Igor Stravinsky upon hearing Claude Debussy (1862–1918). Debussy was indeed an excellent pianist – he originally studied the piano at the Conservatoire de Paris, where he only later focused on composition, and he actually was a professional pianist throughout his life. Yet, having a penchant for orchestral colours, he wrote most of his seminal piano pieces in his later creative periods. These include two books of Préludes, dating from 1910 and 1912–1913, respectively. Deemed to be a tribute to Fryderyk Chopin, the 24 pieces for solo piano reflect Debussy’s Impressionist conjuring with keys, pentatonic and chromatic scales, as well as reminiscences of the art of the French clavecinists. Unlike Chopin’s Préludes, Debussy’s are programme works, with each of the “impressions” captured in the score notated on three staves (often used by the composer) bearing a title of a descriptive nature. The third prelude from Book 2, La puerta del Vino (The Wine Gate), is based on a Spanish habanera; the fifth, Bruyères (Heather), evokes a peaceful view of a wide landscape; the sixth, Général Lavine – eccentric, is marked in the style and tempo of a cake walk; the eighth, Ondine, portrays the charming mythical water nymph; the ninth, Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq. P.P.M.P.C., is a humorous homage to Charles Dickens, featuring in the bass God Save the King, the anthem of the British Empire; the tenth, Canope, refers to the Ancient Egyptian funerary urn; the twelfth, Feux d´artifice (Fireworks), a virtuoso piece containing a quotation of the Marseillaise, concludes Book 2. Debussy’s Préludes place high technical requirements on the pianist, and are particularly challenging in terms of expression. There is no proof that the composer wanted the pieces to be performed as a cycle, and thus the selection of the preludes you will hear today is not at variance with Debussy’s intention.
The Russian composer Sergey Prokofiev (1891–1953) wrote a great volume of piano music, constituting almost one third of his oeuvre. An outstanding pianist, he premiered many of his works himself. The first piece of his assigned an opus number is Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 1, the final one is Piano Sonata No. 10, Op. 137 (unfinished), along with Piano Sonata No. 11, Op. 138 (intended, yet not materialised). The very first piano sonata, dating from 1909, already reveals outlines of Prokofiev’s singular style. At the age of 26, he began returning to his previous compositions and sketches. Accordingly, two of his early pieces, Piano Sonata No. 3 and Piano Sonata No. 4, are subtitled “From the Old Notebooks”. Prokofiev derived his single-movement Piano Sonata No. 3 in A minor from his juvenile 1907 sketches. Similarly to the previous, four-movement, Piano Sonata No. 2, in this shortest sonata of his the composer blended dissonances with almost pre-Classical patterns, ushering in a new style, Neo-Classicism. Prokofiev premiered Piano Sonata No. 3 in St Petersburg on 15 April 1918 during a week-long festival of his music, sponsored by the local conservatory. In the piece, he brought out to the full the solo instrument’s sonic potential, making use of its entire gamut of colours. All Prokofiev piano works are highly virtuoso and engrossing, yet the virtuosity is in perfect unison with the content. The most palpable basic trait is contrast, which together with rhythm, harmony, melody and dynamics form Prokofiev’s clearly recognisable musical signature.