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Czech Chamber Music Society • Josef Špaček


The first Czech curator for the CCMS is now one of the most prominent young Czech violinists, Josef Špaček. The concert, where he will be joined by elite young European performers, promises to be a truly special experience. All of them are at the pinnacle of their fields, and they have eagerly accepted the invitation to Prague.

Subscription series I | Czech Chamber Music Society

Programme

Alexander Glazunov
String Quintet in A major, Op. 39

Franz Schubert
String Quintet in C major, D 956

Performers

Josef Špaček violin
Júlia Pusker violin
Sarah McElravy viola
Julian Steckel cello
István Várdai cello

Photo illustrating the event Czech Chamber Music Society • Josef Špaček

Rudolfinum — Dvořák Hall

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One of Schubert’s loveliest and most frequently played chamber works is his String Quintet in C major. He wrote it just two months before his death, and it is his last chamber work. When he gave it to his publisher Probst, he said: “I have finally written a quintet for two violins, viola, and two cellos…” Glazunov’s String Quintet in A Major is strongly influenced by Schubert’s earlier work. It dates from his early period – Glazunov was just 26 years old when he finished it. It will surely be interesting to compare the two works, one very famous and the other almost never played.

Performers

Josef Špaček  violin, guest artist

Josef Špaček

Although it has already been three years since his membership in the orchestra ended, Josef Špaček is still inseparably associated with the Czech Philharmonic (now as its artist-in-residence). While his nine years as the orchestra’s concertmaster are covered by the new Czech Television documentary “Devět sezón” (“Nine Seasons”, premiered in September 2023), Špaček is now focusing on his solo career and is enchanting audiences worldwide. Although he appears with the top European orchestras and can be heard in Asia and the USA, and his is a regular guest in chamber music in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, he retains his modesty. We can hear him playing not only at Carnegie Hall, but also in out-of-the-way Czech villages.

This season, he will be appearing for the first time with the symphony orchestras in Chicago and Atlanta, and his year will be enriched by a residency with the Residentie Orkest based in The Hague. In this country, besides appearing with top orchestras, he will also perform at the Lípa Musica Festival, the Saint Wenceslas Music Festival, and Smetana’s Litomyšl. As in previous years, an important chamber music partner will be the cellist Tomáš Jamník, with whom Špaček has made a successful recording of the best Czech duets. In addition, Josef Špaček has added to the world’s discography of concertos by Dvořák and Janáček, which he recorded with the Czech Philharmonic and Jiří Bělohlávek, and there is a recording of music by Czech and other composers with Miroslav Sekera. He also collaborated with Sekera and the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra led by Petr Popelka on his newest album of works by Martinů, released in September 2023 on the Supraphon label. 

Josef Špaček was born in 1986 in Třebíč, and he already exhibited extraordinary musical talent at an early age. Thanks to his father (now a cellist with the Czech Philharmonic for over 30 years) and musically gifted siblings, music was a natural part of his childhood, about which his mother has written a series of very entertaining books. Going to the Prague Conservatoire was therefore a natural step. After graduating from the studio of Jaroslav Foltýn at that school, he fulfilled his dream of studying in America, beginning at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia (under Ida Kavafian and Jaime Laredo) and continuing at New York’s famed Julliard School (under Itzak Perlman). 

Immediately after graduating, he returned to this country, where became the youngest concertmaster in the history of the Czech Philharmonic. At the same time, he also began to make a reputation here and abroad as a soloist and chamber music player, but it was thanks to winning the title of laureate at the world-famous Queen Elisabeth International Competition in Brussels that he began to receive the most attractive offers. Finally, between the many outstanding offers of solo appearances he was receiving and his family circumstances with the birth of his daughter followed shortly by the arrival of twins, he finally decided to resign as concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic and to devote himself exclusively to a solo career. Thanks to enormous talent and great effort, he has fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a famous violinist.

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