Czech Philharmonic • András Schiff

Subscription Series A begins with Antonín Dvořák’s most famous concert overture and symphony and with his only piano concerto. All of this is a foreshadowing of the Year of Czech Music and the Czech Philharmonic’s “Dvořák Festival”, which will take place during the season at the Rudofinum and on tours.

  • Subscription series A


Antonín Dvořák
Carnival Overture, Op. 92

Antonín Dvořák
Piano Concerto in G minor, Op. 33

Antonín Dvořák
Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “From the New World”


András Schiff piano

Semyon Bychkov conductor

Czech Philharmonic

Photo illustrating the event Czech Philharmonic András Schiff

Rudolfinum — Dvořák Hall

Price from 350 to 1550 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.



András Schiff  piano, conductor
András Schiff

Sir András Schiff is acclaimed around the world as a pianist, conductor, pedagogue, and instructor. He inspires both audiences and critics, bringing mastery and intellectual insight to his interpretations. He was born in Budapest in 1953 and studied piano there at the Franz Liszt Academy under Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág, and Ferenc Rados and in London under George Malcom. His complete performances of the Beethoven sonatas and of the works of Johann Sebastia Bach, Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, and Béla Bartók have been an important part of his performing career.

He has collaborated with the world’s top orchestras, but he is now focusing mainly on solo recitals, conducting at the piano, and unique conducting projects. His Bach concerts have become a yearly highlight at the BBC Proms, and he also appears regularly at the festivals in Verbier, Salzburg, and Baden-Baden as well as at London’s Wigmore Hall. For the 2022/2023 season, he was the artist-in residence of the New York Philharmonic.

Vicenza is the home of Cappella Andrea Barca – Schiff’s own chamber orchestra consisting of international soloists, chamber players, and friends, which he founded in 1999. With them, he has appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Lucerne Festival, and the Mozartwoche in Salzburg, and there is a coming concert tour of Asia and a European series of Bach piano concerts. The orchestra is the curator of the festival at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza.

Sir András has close ties to the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with which he accepted the role of Associated Artist in 2018, affirming his interest in playing period keyboard instruments.

He continues to support new talent, especially through the series Building Bridges, which arranges performances for talented young artists. He also teaches at the Barenboim-Said Academy and in Kronberg, and he gives frequent lectures and masterclasses. In 2017, Bärenreiter published his book Music Comes Out of Silence, with essays and interviews with Martin Meyer.

Sir András Schiff has received many honours including a Gold Medal from the International Mozarteum Foundation (2012), Germany’s Great Cross with Star of the Order of Merit (2012), the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal (2013), British knighthood for service to music (2014), and an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Music (2018). The Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University honoured him with the 2021 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance.

Semyon Bychkov  conductor
Semyon Bychkov

Now at the beginning of a new 5-year contract as Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic, Semyon Bychkov’s relationship with the Orchestra has become noticeably deeper with extraordinary performances of the great Czech masters running in parallel with a much-acclaimed Mahler cycle recorded for Pentatone, and memorable performances of Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Strauss, Schumann, and Beethoven.

Bychkov’s inaugural season with the Czech Philharmonic in 2018 was celebrated with an international tour that took the Orchestra from performances at home in Prague to concerts in London, New York, and Washington. Dvořák is a major focus throughout the 128th season – in addition to being featured in the season launch and the opening subscription concerts, Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic take Dvořák to audiences in South Korea and Japan, reprising the East Asia tour originally planned for 2020. Later in the season, the Orchestra will bring Dvořák to the major European capitals in celebration of 2024’s Year of Czech Music. 

For the past three seasons, Bychkov’s work with the Czech Philharmonic has focused on the music of Gustav Mahler, with performances of the symphonies at the Rudofinum, on tour and ultimately committed to disc. Pentatone’s Mahler Cycle launched in spring 2022 with the release of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, followed by recordings of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in October and, most recently Symphony No. 2. This season Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 will be performed at the Rudolfinum and in Baden‑Baden. 

Other major projects during Bychkov’s tenure include the commissioning of 14 new works – nine from Czech composers and five commissions from international composers. The symphonies of Detlev Glanert and Julian Anderson were both inspired and named after Prague, Bryce Dessner composed a tone poem inspired by the nature of the Basque Coast where Bychkov lives, and Thierry Escaich and Thomas Larcher composed piano concertos. 

Bychkov’s first major initiative with the Czech Philharmonic was The Tchaikovsky Project – a 7-CD box set devoted to Tchaikovsky’s symphonic repertoire released by Decca and a series of international residencies. Last September, after giving the official concert to mark the Czech Republic’s Presidency of the EU, Bychkov and the Orchestra started the season as guests of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival, where they gave three concert performances of Dvořák’s Rusalka.

In common with the Czech Philharmonic, Bychkov has one foot firmly in the culture of the East and the other in the West. Born in Leningrad 1952, Bychkov emigrated to the United States in 1975 and has lived in Europe since the mid-1980’s. Singled out for an extraordinarily privileged musical education from the age of 5, Bychkov studied piano before winning his place at the Glinka Choir School where, aged 13, he received his first lesson in conducting. He was 17 when he was accepted at the Leningrad Conservatory to study with the legendary Ilya Musin and, within three years had won the influential Rachmaninoff Conducting Competition. He left the former Soviet Union in 1975, having been denied his prize of conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic. 

By the time Bychkov returned to Leningrad in 1989 as the Philharmonic’s Principal Guest Conductor, he had enjoyed success in the US as Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic. His International career, which began in France with Opéra de Lyon and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, took off with a series of high-profile cancellations which resulted in invitations to conduct the New York and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras and the Concertgebouworkest. In 1989, he was named Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris; in 1997, Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne; and the following year, Chief Conductor of the Dresden Semperoper. 

Bychkov’s symphonic and operatic repertoire is wide-ranging. He conducts in all the major opera houses including La Scala, Opéra national de Paris, Dresden Semperoper, Wiener Staatsoper, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Teatro Real. While Principal Guest Conductor of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, his productions of Janáček’s Jenůfa, Schubert’s Fierrabras, Puccini’s La boheme, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov each won the prestigious Premio Abbiati. New productions in Vienna have included Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier and Daphne, Wagner’s Lohengrin and Parsifal, and Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina; while in London, he made his operatic debut with a new production of Strauss’ Elektra, and subsequently conducted new productions of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten and Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Recent productions include Strauss’ Elektra at the Paris Opera,
Dvořák’s Rusalka at Covent Garden and Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde at Teatro Real in Madrid. 

On the concert platform, the combination of innate musicality and rigorous Russian pedagogy has ensured that Bychkov’s performances are highly anticipated. In the UK, in addition to regular performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, his honorary titles at the Royal Academy of Music and the BBC Symphony Orchestra – with whom he appears annually at the BBC Proms – reflect the warmth of the relationships. In Europe, he tours with the Concertgebouworkest and Munich Philharmonic, as well as being a frequent guest of the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Orchestre National de France and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; in the US, he can be heard with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Symphony, Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras. 

Bychkov made extensive recordings for Philips with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio, Concertgebouworkest, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris. His 13-year collaboration (1997–2010) with WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne produced a series of benchmark recordings that included works by Strauss (Elektra, Daphne, Ein Heldenleben, Metamorphosen, Alpensinfonie, Till Eulenspiegel), Mahler (Symphony No. 3, Das Lied von der Erde), Shostakovich (Symphony Nos. 4, 7, 8, 10, 11), Rachmaninoff (The Bells, Symphonic Dances, Symphony No. 2), Verdi (Requiem), a complete cycle of Brahms Symphonies, and works by Detlev Glanert and York Höller. His recording of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin was recommended by BBC’s Radio 3’s Building a Library (2020); Wagner’s Lohengrin was BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Year (2010); and Schmidt’s Symphony No. 2 with the Vienna Philharmonic was BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Month (2018). Of The Tchaikovsky Project released in 2019, BBC Music Magazine wrote: “The most beautiful orchestra playing imaginable can be heard on Semyon Bychkov’s 2017 recording with the Czech Philharmonic, in which Decca’s state-of-the‑art recording captures every detail.”

Bychkov was the first musician to express his position on the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, since when he has spoken in support of Ukraine in Prague’s Wenceslas Square; on radio and television in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Austria, the UK and the USA; written By Invitation for The Economist; and appeared as a guest on BBC World’s HARDtalk. 

In October 2022, Semyon Bychkov was named Musical America’s Conductor of the Year Worldwide. Earlier in the year he received an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal Academy of Music and, in 2015 he was named Conductor of the Year by the International Opera Awards.


Antonín Dvořák
Carnival Overture, Op. 92

As Antonín Dvořák was fifty years old, he was faced with a difficult decision over whether to interrupt the promising progress of his career as a tireless European composer, a status he had achieved after years of effort, to abandon his recently obtained position as a professor at the Prague Conservatoire, and to set out across the Atlantic Ocean to meet a new challenge. Of course, middle-aged men need challenges, so having thought it over for half a year, Dvořák decided to accept the offer of the position of director of a conservatory in New York. There, he found a source of new inspiration that enabled him to compose his most famous works of the following three years. After all, who among us does not know his Ninth Symphony (“From the New World”), the String Quartet No. 12 (“American”), the Biblical Songs, Humoresques, and the Cello Concerto in B Minor?

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. While Dvořák’s fiftieth birthday was being celebrated in Prague on 8 September 1891, the composer was hard at work in seclusion in Vysoká near Příbram, composing and considering whether to go to America. He completed a cycle of three concert overtures, which were first played on 28 April 1892 at the Rudolfinum on a concert programme as part of a farewell tour that Dvořák gave before departing for the New World. At the premiere, the pieces still bore the original titles Nature, Life, and Love, and the whole work was linked together by themes of nature. The pieces got their final titles two years later when the first edition was published. The second overture was renamed Carnival. What Dvořák had in mind was not so much a masked ball as the metaphor of the “carnival of life”, which is well suited for New Year’s Eve and for celebrating the New Year. Carnival contrasts starkly with the other two overtures (In Nature’s Realm, Op. 91 and Othello, Op. 93). It is jubilant, energetic, and sonically intoxicating, yet in the middle section it is also meditative and dreamy. The brilliant orchestration greatly contributes to the music’s character, with plenty of brass and percussion including the tambourine, unusually for Dvořák.

Antonín Dvořák
Koncert pro klavír a orchestr g moll op. 33


Svůj jediný klavírní koncert napsal Antonín Dvořák v roce 1876, v období, kdy byl jako skladatel znám pouze pražskému publiku. Ovšem jedním dechem rovnou dodejme, jaké skladby tehdy psal: jen v roce 1876 kromě jiných například Moravské dvojzpěvy nebo Stabat Mater! Díla zcela mimořádná, přitom tolik odlišná. Stejně jako v nich i v Koncertu pro klavír a orchestr g moll op. 33 Dvořák uskutečňoval svůj jedinečný kompoziční záměr. Jistě však netušil, že podobně jedinečný bude i životní příběh této skladby. Příběh plný uznání a obdivu, ale i nepochopení, odsudků a dokonce deformací díla samého. Klavírní part a především dílo jako celek Dvořák rozhodně nemínil napsat jako Chopin nebo Liszt, pracoval s klavírem ve vztahu k orchestru odlišným způsobem. Do jisté míry si toho byl vědom například Robert Lienau, jeden z nakladatelů, kterému Dvořák rok po premiéře (Praha 1878) nabízel koncert k vydání: „Ačkoli bych měl velkou chuť tisknout klavírní koncert, nemohu se hned rozhodnout k převzetí toho Vašeho. Zacházíte s klavírem, podobně jako Beethoven, v těsném splynutí s orchestrem, a je otázka, jestli to dnešní koncertní hráči uvítají.“ O něco později si (tehdy již velmi žádaný) Dvořák našel jiného nakladatele, který koncert naopak bez váhání vydal, aniž by se s touto skladbou byl seznámil. Před tímto vydáním (Julius Hainauer, Vratislav 1883) Dvořák podrobil všechny tři věty celého díla velmi důkladné revizi a v této podobě byl koncert následně i prováděn. Že vedle obdivných reakcí zaznívaly vůči dílu i odsudky, zažívali pochopitelně i jiní skladatelé (třeba Brahms se svým klavírním koncertem). Jenže v Dvořákově případě nezůstalo jen u odsudků. Několik let po skladatelově smrti vytvořil pražský pedagog Vilém Kurz úpravu klavírního partu, s níž se začal Dvořákův koncert ve značně deformované podobě provozovat, zejména pak po vydání této úpravy tiskem. V posledních letech se interpreti naopak stále častěji vracejí zpět k původní podobě koncertu. Pravděpodobně mají podobný názor jako jeden z recenzentů londýnské premiéry v roce 1883: „Můžeme říci hned, že je to dílo jedinečné hodnoty, a především dílo velké krásya půvabu. […] Dvořák v tomto koncertu ukazuje pravého ducha instrumentace, a to nejenv pojednáníorchestru, aletakév uchopení klavírního partu.“

Antonín Dvořák
Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, “From the New World”

Antonín Dvořák composed his last symphony during the first year of his stay in the USA. He had been invited by the founder of New York’s National Conservatory of Music Jeanette Thurber to become the new school’s director. The contract, originally for two years, was extended to three, from autumn 1892 until 1895. New York welcomed Dvořák with celebrations, and he remained at the centre of attention throughout his stay. In 1893, it was the powerful impressions from his cordial welcome and from his new environment, his favourable financial circumstances, and the ambition to prove his greatness that led Dvořák to create his most popular and best known work around the world. He wrote the famed Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World” in New York between 10 January and 24 May 1893. In a letter Dvořák sent back to his homeland, he wrote: “It seems to me that American soil will have a beneficial effect on my thinking, and I would almost go so far as to say something of this will be audible in the new symphony.” He built his symphony using melodious yet simple themes with an originality of rhythm and temperament that is truly extraordinary. At the same time, he opened himself to new musical influences. He was moved by Negro spirituals, and he found inspiration in poetry based on Indian legends. One of the main sources was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha about an Indian chief. Dvořák read this important work of American literature before his stay in America in a translation by Josef Václav Sládek. The English horn melody in the second movement is said to bring to mind the burial of the chief’s wife Minnehaha. He told the New York Herald: “the Scherzo of my new symphony was suggested by the scene of the feast where the Indians dance.” In the closing theme of the first movement, we clearly hear the melody of the spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”. Using all of these elements, Dvořák succeeded in evoking the impression in the American listeners that the work was purely American. And yet, after the premiere one critic wrote: “Dvořák can no more divest himself of his nationality than the leopard can change its spots.” With hindsight, one can only agree—there is no denying the symphony’s Czech melodies and Czech character.

The symphony was premiered on 26 December 1893 at New York’s Carnegie Hall by the New York Philharmonic Society under the baton of Anton Seidl. It was not until mid-November, just before he gave the score to the conductor, that Dvořák gave his Symphony in E minor the subtitle “From the New World”. The premiere was very eagerly awaited. The New York press published a number of articles in advance, even revealing musical examples. The public dress rehearsal took place on the afternoon of 15 December, and people waited for tickets in a long queue at Carnegie Hall in spite of heavy rain. The actual premiere was the highpoint of the concert season, as Dvořák documented in a letter to his publisher Simrock: “My dear friend Simrock! The success of the symphony on 15 and 16 December was spectacular; the papers are saying that no composer has ever achieved a triumph such as this. I sat in a box, the auditorium hosted New York’s finest, and people applauded for so long that I had to express my appreciation from my box like a king (don’t laugh!). You know that I prefer to avoid ovations such as this, but I had to do it and make an appearance!

No one doubted that the new work would be heard all around the world, and orchestras were soon playing it in Europe, America, and Australia. The New World Symphony had its European premiere on 21 June 1894 in London, it was first played in Bohemia on 20 July 1894 in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), and the Prague public finally heard the symphony on 13 October 1894 at the National Theatre with Dvořák himself conducting. And when Neil Armstrong became the first man to stand on the moon on 20 July 1969, he took a recording of Dvořák’s New World Symphony along with him!

The best of the Rudolfinum

5 times a year directly to your e-mail.
Join 9500+ readers.

Your e-mail is safe with us. One-click logout.

What are you looking for?