The Smetana Trio was founded in 1934 by the legendary Czech pianist Josef Páleníček, and it is one of today’s most prestigious Czech ensembles. Its present members, all three being important Czech soloists, are pursuing the same ideals that were created by their predecessors in their interpretations, and they are demonstrating that a basic prerequisite for the success of every high-quality trio is the flawless playing of the members as soloists. At the request of the concert promoters, from time to time they include solo compositions with their trio performances, following in the great original tradition of this chamber ensemble.
Recently, the Smetana Trio has been enjoying considerable success internationally. It is a regular guest on important stages in this country (Prague Spring, Janáček May, Malá Strana Chamber Festivities etc.) and abroad (Europe, Asia, North and South America). It collaborates with leading conductors and orchestras (e.g. the Bamberg Symphony, the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana Lugano, the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, and the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira).
The Smetana Trio has made many recordings of repertoire ranging from the late 18th century to the middle of the 20th for domestic and foreign companies. The trio’s regular cooperation with the Supraphon label (since 2000) has brought it several prestigious Czech and foreign awards (Diapason d’Or, the prize of the journal Le Monde de musique; BBC Music Magazine recording of the month etc.). Critics have even spoken of the “consanguinity of the three artists”. Their complete recordings of the piano trios of Antonín Dvořák and Bohuslav Martinů have earned them perhaps the highest honours so far (BBC Music Magazine Award for 2007 and 2017)
In 2020, despite the pandemic, the Smetana Trio recorded a two-CD album for the Beethoven anniversary that immediately attracted the attention of the media at home and abroad. After having been forced to take a break because of COVID, during which they were heard many times in online streaming of pre-recorded or live performances, the Smetana Trio is now again appearing on Czech and foreign stages; from the start of the 2021/2022 season, it has appeared at many concerts and festivals including Terras sem sombra in Portugal, Lípa Musica and the Prague Proms in this country, and Wigmore Hall in London.
The pianist Jitka Čechová studied piano at the Prague Conservatoire and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. She has earned the title of laureate at several international competitions. She is very highly acclaimed as a soloist by many critics in European countries, and chamber music is one of the essential components of her musical identity.
The violinist Jan Talich has amassed a wealth of experience at the highest level in several fields; he is in demand around the world as a soloist (a laureate of many international competitions), chamber musician (Talich Quartet), conductor, and teacher.
The cellist Jan Páleníček, a laureate of several international competitions, is a graduate of Prague’s conservatoire and Academy of Performing Arts. He has appeared as a soloist with top orchestras at home and in many countries of Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Japan.