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Czech Philharmonic • Tomáš Netopil


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.

Subscription series C

Programme

Jan Novák
Philharmonic Dances (16')

Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 (24')
–––
César Franck
Symphony in D Minor (37')

Performers

Jiří Vodička violin

Tomáš Netopil conductor

Photo illustrating the event Czech Philharmonic • Tomáš Netopil

Rudolfinum — Dvorak Hall

Dress rehearsal
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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. 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.

Performers

Jiří Vodička  violin

Jiří Vodička

Jiří Vodička, concertmaster with the Czech Philharmonic, soloist and chamber musician, is one of the finest and most sought-after Czech violinists. An extremely gifted child, he made a name for himself by winning numerous prizes, notably in the Jaroslav Kocian International Violin Competition, the Prague Junior Note and Slovakia’s Čírenie talentov. In 2002, he came first in the Beethoven’ Hradec International Violin Competition, and received a prize for best pupil at Václav Hudeček’s violin classes. He later performed with Hudeček at dozens of concerts throughout the Czech Republic. In 2004, he became overall winner of the International Louis Spohr Competition for Young Violinists in Weimar. In 2008, he gained first and second prizes at the prestigious Young Concert Artists competition in Leipzig and New York.

At the tender age of 14, Jiří Vodička enrolled at the Institute for Art Studies at the University of Ostrava, where he studied under the renowned teacher Prof. Zdeněk Gola, graduating with a master’s degree in 2007.

Jiří Vodička has regularly performed as a soloist with a host of leading orchestras in the Czech Republic and further afield, including the Czech Philharmonic, the Prague Philharmonia, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra,  the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and the Neue Philharmonie Westfalen. He has worked with Jiří Bělohlávek, Jakub Hrůša, Tomáš Netopil and other top conductors.

In 2014, he made his debut solo album, Violino Solo, released on Supraphon. Featuring some of the most challenging compositions for solo violin, it met with a positive critical response in the Czech Republic and elsewhere. Many of his concerts have been broadcast by Czech Television, Czech Radio and Germany’s ARD.

As a chamber musician, he has performed with the major Czech pianists Martin Kasík, Ivo
Kahánek, Ivan Klánský and Miroslav Sekera. In 2011, he was invited by the celebrated violinist Gidon Kremer to appear at his Kammermusikfest in Lockenhaus, Austria, together with many world-famous artists. He has regularly performed at such prominent festivals as the Prague Spring, Janáček’s May, the Grand Festival of China, the Hohenloher Kultursommer, and the Choriner Musiksommer. Since 2012, he has been a member of the Smetana Trio, with whom he has recorded two acclaimed CDs for Supraphon (BBC Music Magazine Award and Diapason d’Or).

In 2015, he was named concertmaster with the Czech Philharmonic. He teaches at the Prague Conservatory and at Ostrava University.

Jiří Vodička plays a violin made by Joseph Gagliano in 1767.

Tomáš Netopil  principal guest conductor

Tomáš Netopil

Since the 2018/2019 season, Tomáš Netopil has been the Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, with which he regularly prepares concert programmes at the Rudolfinum and on tours. The 2022/2023 season was his tenth and final as General Music Director of the Aalto Theater and Philharmonic in Essen, Germany. From the 2025/2026 season, he will take up the post of chief conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. 

In 2018, Tomáš Netopil created the International Summer Music Academy in Kroměříž, offering students exceptional artistic instruction and the chance to meet and work with major international musicians. In the summer of 2021, in association with the Dvořákova Praha Festival, the Academy established the Dvořák Prague Youth Philharmonic with musicians from conservatories and music academies, coached by principal players of the Czech Philharmonic.

As evidenced by his engagement in Essen, Tomáš Netopil is a sought-after opera conductor. From 2008 to 2012, he was the music director of the Opera of the National Theatre in Prague. Operatic highlights beyond Essen include the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden (La clemenza di Tito, Rusalka, The Cunning Little Vixen, La Juive, The Bartered Bride, and Busoni’s Doktor Faust), the Vienna Staatsoper (his most recent successes include Idomeneo, Der Freischütz, and a new production of Leonore), and the Netherlands Opera (Jenůfa). His concert highlights of recent seasons have included the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich as well as engagements with the Orchestre de Paris, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Orchestra Sinfonica della Rai, the Orchestre National de Montpellier, and Concentus Musicus Wien.

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’s Asrael and Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 6 and 9.

He studied violin and conducting in his native Czech Republic and at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm under the guidance of Professor Jorma Panula. In 2002 he won the inaugural Sir Georg Solti Conductors Competition at the Alte Oper Frankfurt. In his spare time, he likes to fly small planes.

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