Czech Philharmonic • Tom Borrow

After a successful debut, the young Israeli pianist Tom Borrow returns to the Czech Philharmonic after a year. Instead of Maxim Yemelyanychev, the young Czech conductor Robert Kružík will take the baton of the concert. The programme includes the early romantic Hebrides, Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto and Prague Symphony by Mozart.

Subscription series A | Duration of the programme 1 hour 30 minutes


Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
The Hebrides, Op. 26, concert overture (10')

Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 (34')

— Intermission —

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Symphony No. 38 in D major, K 504, “Prague” (26')


Tom Borrow piano

Maxim Emelyanychev conductor

Robert Kružík conductor

Czech Philharmonic

Photo illustrating the event Czech Philharmonic • Tom Borrow

Rudolfinum — Dvořák Hall

Studentské vstupné

Can't order online
Can't order online
Can't order online

Normální vstupné

Dress rehearsal
Can't order online
Can't order online
Can't order online
Can't order online
Price from 290 to 1400 CZK Tickets and contact information

The sale of individual tickets for subscription concerts (orchestral, chamber, educational) will begin on Wednesday 7 June 2023 at 10.00 a.m. Tickets for the public dress rehearsals will go on sale on 13 September 2023 at 10.00 a.m.

Customer Service of Czech Philharmonic

Tel.:  +420 227 059 227


Customer service is available on weekdays from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm.


In his last performance with the Czech Philharmonic, Tom Borrow stood in for the original soloists and played Mozart. This time he will present himself playing Beethoven, whose Fourth Concerto is a work on the cusp of Classicism and Romanticism. “There’s a certain bitter-sweet quality,” says Borrow. “On the surface it seems very positive and joyful, especially in the third movement, but right from the start, from the first movement and even though it’s written in a major key, the seeming positivity covers an ache of sadness. I have come to this concerto for the first time during this past year or so, and the process of learning it has been such a pleasure. There is so much to discover. The great challenge is to make the most out of the passagework—there are so many subtleties that must be acknowledged and sometimes enhanced. I hope I will manage to rise to the challenge.”


Tom Borrow  piano

Tom Borrow

In January 2019, Tom Borrow was called on to replace renowned pianist Khatia Buniatishvili in a series of 12 concerts with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. At only 36 hours’ notice, he performed to sensational public and critical acclaim. Chief music critic of the Israel Broadcasting Corporation, Yossi Schifmann, hailed his performance as “brilliant, outstanding… Tom Borrow is already a star and we will all surely hear more about him”. Tom has since been reinvited to the IPO multiple times. International Piano magazine ran a two-page feature on Tom, naming him their “One To Watch”, Gramophone gave him the same accolade (“an exciting young pianist...individuality and elegance") and Diapason has written “Tom Borrow already has everything of a great”. He has recently been named a BBC New Generation Artist 2021–2023.

Born in Tel Aviv in 2000, Tom Borrow has performed as soloist with all major orchestras of his native country and has won every national piano competition in Israel. He began studying piano with Michal Tal at the Givatayim Music Conservatory, and currently studies with Tomer Lev of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University. Tom has been regularly mentored by Murray Perahia, through the Jerusalem Music Centre.

After the IPO success, Tom has been invited by other major orchestras around the world – including the Cleveland Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, New Jersey Symphony, Basque National Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra and others – and by leading conductors Semyon Bychkov, Sakari Oramo, Thierry Fischer, Xian Zhang, Robert Trevino, Omer Wellber, Petr Altrichter and Yoel Levi. Tom has toured Eastern Europe with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, to regular standing ovations, and to South Korea with the Tel Aviv Soloists.

Equally in-demand on the chamber music front, Tom has been invited to the Verbier Festival, Wigmore Hall, Festival Piano aux Jacobins (Toulouse), Vancouver Recital Series and elsewhere. WWFM Radio (US) has featured Tom as an outstanding young talent, and RAI televised his recent Rome concert. His first album will be released soon, on Hanssler Classic.

Robert Kružík  conductor

Robert Kružík belongs to the youngest generation of Czech conductors. Since January 2016 he has been in a long-term engagement of the Janáček Opera House of the National Theatre in Brno. At the time, he was also engaged by the Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava (2016–2019).

Since the 2018/2019 season he has been a permanent guest conductor of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra; since the 2021/2022 season he has been the Chief Conductor of the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic in Zlín. He is the laureate of the Jiří Bělohlávek Prize awarded to musicians under 30 years of age.

Kružík collaborates with many symphony orchestras such as the Czech Philharmonic, MDR-Sinfonieorchester, Philharmonia Narodowa, Brno Philharmonic, PKF – Prague Philharmonia, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic, Slovak State Philharmonic in Košice, Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra in Ostrava, Czech Youth Philharmonic, Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra Olomouc, Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice and South Bohemian Philharmonic.

He is also invited to important festivals such as the Prague Spring Festival, Smetana’s Litomyšl, St. Wenceslas Music Festival and the Eufonia Festival.

At the National Theatre in Brno, Kružík directed his interpretation of Rossini’s opera Le Comte Ory, Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades and Eugene Onegin, Smetana’s Libuše (performed on the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia), Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Martinů’s Greek Passion and Verdi’s Otello. His wide operatic repertoire includes Mozart, Smetana, Dvořák, Martinů, Janáček, Donizetti, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Bizet, Verdi, Puccini and others.

Born in Brno, he started as a cellist and later graduated from the Brno Conservatory where, in addition to playing cello (with Miroslav Zicha), he also studied conducting (with Stanislav Kummer). He continued his studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague; his teachers in conducting were Leoš Svárovský, Charles Olivieri-Munroe and Lubomír Mátl, while his cello teacher was Miroslav Petráš. In the academic year 2012/2013 Kružík studied at the Zurich University of the Arts in Switzerland where he focused on both subjects.

Kružík performed with success at several cello competitions, such as the Prague Spring Festival, the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation Interpretation Competition and Leoš Janáček International Competition. He broadened his experience and skills participating in master courses in cello performance under the guidance of Jiří Bárta, Michaela Fukačová and Raphael Wallfisch, and conducting with Norbert Baxa, Johannes Schlaefli and David Zinman.


Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
The Hebrides, Op. 26, concert overture

In 1826, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy wrote the overture A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and at the same time Hector Berlioz was writing the first works from his series of concert overtures. The one-movement concert overture soon became an obligatory part of concert programmes, usually as the opening number, actually serving as an “overture to a concert”, where it took the place of opera overtures that had formerly played that role. In 1829, Mendelssohn visited Scotland, and his impressions from the experience are reflected in his Symphony No. 3 (“Scottish Symphony”) and the concert overture The Hebrides (also known as Fingal’s Cave). Fingal’s Cave is a geological formation on the island Staffa in the Inner Hebrides archipelago. It is associated with the Celtic legend of a king who lost his miraculous powers when he refused to help a wounded friend. Fingal (Fionn) is the hero of a cycle of epic poems by James Macpherson, famed as the “discoverer” of the songs of the historical bard Ossian. In reality, Macpherson invented both Ossian and the supposed Celtic (Scottish-Irish) legend. Doubts over the authenticity of Macpherson’s discovery began to appear early on, but the mysterious atmosphere of the legend and the geographical site inspired painters, poets, and musicians; the tale even found its way into the Czech arts in a literary treatment by Julius Zeyer, whose Legend of Erine became the basis of an opera with the same title by Otakar Ostrčil. 

Every composer faces the problem of how to handle musical structure when choosing extramusical subject matter. One must find a balance between the basic principles of musical form and the subject chosen as the work’s content, which could be the description of an emotional event, the telling of a story from a work of literature, or the depiction of a landscape. That Mendelssohn was searching is apparent from the several revisions of The Hebrides. The overture is built in sonata form, but the composer was long dissatisfied with parts of the development that, as he put it, “have a scent more redolent of counterpoint than of fish oil and seagulls, but the opposite should be the case”. The first version was performed in 1832 in London, and the final revision was first heard on 10 January 1833 in Berlin. Coincidentally, it was also heard back then on a programme with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, and Felix Mendelssohn served as both soloist and conductor, performing the work “soulfully, vividly, and perfectly beautifully”.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58

Ludwig van Beethoven wrote five piano concertos (a sixth remained unfinished). Advancements in piano design enabled him to enrich the solo part with new elements, and he also gave greater depth to the integration of ideas between the individual movements while expanding the harmonic language. The first sketches for the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58, date from 1802, at the same time as the sketches for the Eroica Symphony, but his concentrated effort to write the concerto came in the first half of 1806. The work was first heard in March 1807 before a private audience at Prince Lobkowitz’s palace in Vienna. The public premiere took place on 22 December 1808 at the conclusion of the first half of Beethoven’s four-hour benefit concert at the Theater an der Wien, where it was heard along with the concert aria Ah, perfido!, the Fifth Symphony, the Sixth Symphony, part of the Mass in C major, and the Choral Fantasy. This was Beethoven’s last appearance as a piano soloist with orchestra; his worsening deafness prevented him from any more performing.

The concerto opens with the solo piano playing a calm, concentrated chordal idea that serves as a kind of motto for the entire work. It almost sounds like a spontaneous improvisation, a fleeting idea, from which a remarkable structure gradually emerges. The orchestra then takes up the opening motif and builds an exposition from it. When the soloist joins back in, the piano part again seems like an improvisation, but it immediately develops its full brilliance. The second theme alternates between the major and minor modes, and the piano asserts itself ever more strongly, then the dialogue between the soloist and orchestra climaxes with a solo cadenza. The main theme is then heard again, and the orchestra closes the movement. The second movement opens with an energetic unison of the orchestra and with contrasting, hesitant responses by the piano. According to the account of one of Beethoven’s contemporaries, the movement has a programmatic basis; it was meant to evoke the struggle of the legendary figure Orpheus against the underworld. In the rondo third movement, the composer again makes the impression of developing a fleeting idea. The piano part loses its soloistic character and becomes a part of the orchestral score.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Symphony No. 38 in D major, K 504, “Prague”

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart probably wrote his first symphony in 1764 at just eight years of age, and his last (the “Jupiter Symphony”) dates from 1788 in Vienna. There are 39 works in the symphonic genre for which his authorship is proven, and there are ten more of questionable origin. His frequency of symphonic production was uneven—Mozart wrote most of his symphonies while in Salzburg, while only six date from the last ten years of his life, known as the “Vienna Period”. The Symphony in D major, K 504, precedes the climactic trio of symphonies in E flat major, G minor, and C major (K 543, 550, and 551). It was written after a three-year break following the Linz Symphony (K 425). All of his previous symphonies including the Linz Symphony were written for specific concert performance; audiences of the late 18th century were obsessed with contemporary music, and satisfying the public with new music guaranteed a composer’s growing popularity and, most importantly, income. Thus, the Symphony in D major was also apparently intended for a specific occasion, but Mozart scholars are not entirely in agreement over what that occasion was. 

The Prague Symphony got its name from the concert at Prague’s Nostic Theatre on 19 January 1787, two days after Mozart personally witnessed the success there of his opera The Marriage of Figaro. According to certain scholars, however, the symphony had originally been intended for a concert in Vienna (that was never realised), as is suggested by the fact that a draft of the finale had already been written in the spring of 1786, but Mozart then set the partially completed work aside. The stimulus for returning to the partially finished composition may also have been winter concerts in Vienna, as is suggested by the date of completion, 6 December 1786, which Mozart inscribed in his own list of works. We do not know exactly when “the society of great experts and music lovers” (as Leopold Mozart described them in a letter to his daughter on 12 January 1787) invited Mozart to Prague or when he decided to make the journey, but it must have been after the successful Prague premiere of The Marriage of Figaro, which took place in early December 1786. In any case, Mozart brought the symphony to Prague in his luggage. The work has certain features that are reminiscent of the music of The Marriage of Figaro, such as the quick runs for the strings. Above all, its proportions are generous; although it lacks a dance movement, it lasts nearly half an hour. The absence of a minuet is also the subject of speculation; the symphony is a modern work for its day in terms of its harmonic resources, the conception of its orchestration, and the structuring of the individual movements, but a three-part cycle without a dance movement is de facto a return to the older Italian model of the symphony.

The first movement in sonata form begins with a slow introduction, the longest that Mozart ever wrote, which foreshadows the overture to Don Giovanni, then the allegro is a lovely example of Mozart’s polyphonic artistry. Rushing syncopated rhythms propel the Allegro forwards. The calm second movement (Andante) with its chromatic meanderings is orchestrated without trumpets and timpani, and it is likewise in sonata form. Next comes the buffo finale with an opening theme that is reminiscent of the duet of Susanna and Cherubino from Act II of The Marriage of Figaro, serving to remind the Prague public of the already famous work. Like in the previous movements, Mozart again employs sonata form, but just with a main theme. The music historian Alfred Einstein regarded the finale of the Prague Symphony as “one of those peculiar Mozartian movements that, in spite of seeming joyfulness and perfection, leave a wound in the soul: here, beauty is associated with death.”