Czech Chamber Music Society • Julia Fischer

Julia Fischer, a superb violinist with Slovak roots, will lead the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra in a lovely programme of Bach, Mozart, and Suk. As curator of this year’s Czech Chamber Music Society season, she will appear in a violin concerto by Mozart, and for Bach’s Double Concerto, she has invited her student Jeremias Pestalozzi.

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Johann Sebastian Bach 
Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra in D minor, BWV 1043 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 
Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K 219 

Josef Suk
Serenade for Strings in E flat major, Op. 6


Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra
Jeremias Pestalozzi violin
Julia Fischer violin, artistic direction 

Photo illustrating the event Czech Chamber Music Society • Julia Fischer

Rudolfinum — Dvořák Hall

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Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra  

“It is the fulfilment of a dream we shared with Jiří Bělohlávek: after two years of preparations, we are ushering in concerts of the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. This name does not stand for one particular ensemble; instead it represents a project in which the orchestra members will be performing in various chamber groups,” said David Mareček, Chief Executive Officer of the Czech Philharmonic, in the spring of 2018. Jiří Bělohlávek was convinced that it was healthy for the Czech Philharmonic to play in a smaller ensemble with a repertoire spanning the Baroque to the present, where the musicians can hone their intonation, phrasing, and collaboration as individuals within a whole group. The Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, consisting exclusively of the members of the Czech Philharmonic assembled for a specific occasion, was officially established in the Czech Philharmonic’s 123rd season. Since then, the ensemble has already prepared fifteen projects presented both during the orchestra’s regular season at the Rudolfinum and at festival appearances.

Julia Fischer   violin

Julia Fischer

Julia Ficher is one of today’s most prominent violinists. Her career journey has been recorded on many CDs and DVDs on the Pentatone and Decca labels and recently also on her own musical platform JF CLUB. She has been honoured with such prestigious prizes as the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and a Gramophone Award.

She was born in 1983 in Munich to German and Slovak parents who are said to have met while studying in Prague. She began playing the violin at age three, and she soon took up the piano as well under the guidance of her mother Viera Fischer. At just nine years of age, she enrolled at the university in Munich as a student of the renowned pedagogue Ana Chumachenco, whom Fischer later succeeded in that teaching position. A major milestone was her victory at the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin International Competition in 1995 (at just 12 years of age!), launching her worldwide fame. Since then, we have been seeing her regularly on the world’s most famous stages, whether collaborating with major orchestras and such conductors as Herbert Blomstedt, Christian Thielemann, Juanjo Mena, Riccardo Muti, and Franz Welser-Möst, or giving solo or chamber music recitals. Besides the traditional repertoire, she also devotes herself to contemporary music, as is shown by the scheduled March world premiere of a violin concerto by Daniel Kidane with the London Philharmonic and Edward Gardner.

In addition, Julia Fischer is planning several European tours this year including appearances with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Royal Philharmonic, her quartet (the Julia Fischer Quartet), and the pianist Yulianna Avdeeva. She is going to Athens (4 Dec.) and Vienna (6 Dec.), and before arriving in Prague, we also find her playing a concert with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen for the occasion of the awarding of a Nobel Prize (8 Dec.). She and Avdeeva have been a seasoned duo for several years although, as Julia Fischer reveals, their meeting had been arranged: “We had musical friends in common who wanted to get us together no matter what. They were convinced that we were suited to each other. And that finally came about in 2012. What more is there to say? They were right.” The Prague public was already able to witness how well these two extraordinary women play together in 2018, when they appeared together at the Municipal House’s Smetana Hall.

Not satisfied “just” with the career of a world-famous violinist, Julia Fischer is taking advantage of her musical versatility. She will be revealing to the Prague public the quality of the aforementioned Julia Fischer Quartet as part of her residency in November (concert I2), and those who want proof of her pianistic ability can enjoy the DVD recording of her successful concert at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt in 2010, when she appeared on the first half of the programme as the soloist in a violin concerto by Saint-Saëns, then on the second half playing Grieg’s Piano Concerto. Besides performing, she also devotes herself to music pedagogy, with teaching activities that include leading numerous masterclasses. She joined with Johannes X. Schachter and Henri Bonamy in founding the Kindersinfoniker youth orchestra. Next year she will also become the artistic director of the Boswil Summer Festival in Switzerland. 

Jeremias Pestalozzi  violin

Jeremias Pestalozzi

Jeremias Pestalozzi was born in 2005 and has been playing the violin since he was five years old. He was in the string academy of Simone and Peter Michielsen in Puchheim until March 2022 and played as concertmaster in the Puchheim Youth Chamber Orchestra. He is the first violinist in the quartet called Quartessenz (formed in 2016) and could be heard among others at the “Ickinger Frühling” in 2022. He won the 1st prize (duo and solo) at the national competition of “Jugend musiziert” in 2018 and 2019. 

Since 2019, he has been “Jungstudent” at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich – first with Simone and Peter Michielsen and Christoph Poppen and since March 2022 in the class of Julia Fischer where he also began his bachelor in October 2023. In addition he has attended master classes with Ana Chumachenco, Ingolf Turban, Nora Chastain and others. 

In 2019, he made his debut with the Bad Reichenhall Philharmonic Orchestra with the 2nd Violin Concerto by Henryk Wieniawski and played there again as a soloist under Daniel Spaw with the Mozart Violin Concerto No. 4 in July 2021. In 2022, he performed the Violin Concerto in E minor by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, in April with the Bad Reichenhall Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Andrej Vesel and in June with the Wendland Symphony Orchestra under the conducting of Johannes Köhler. 

In February 2020, he won a violin by Antonio Gragnani, Livorno 1779, on loan at the 28th competition of the German Musical Instrument Fund of the German Foundation for Musical Life in Hamburg, which he can continue to play after the 29th competition in February 2022.


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K 219

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s five concertos for violin and orchestra represent a compact group of works all composed in 1775 (K 207, 211, 216, 218, and 219). Mozart, 19 years of age, was playing in the orchestra of the Archbishop of Salzburg and held the position of second concertmaster, so he may have composed the concertos for himself as soloist and premiered them. He truly understood the violin, having learned it from childhood from his father Leopold, a master of the instrument who even published an important didactic treatise on the fundamentals of violin playing (Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule). The young Mozart gradually familiarised himself with the violin literature and especially with the works of Italian masters like Giuseppe Tartini and Pietro Locatelli. He also came to know Italian music during his travels to Italy, where he heard one of the best violin virtuosos of the day, Pietro Nardini, experienced playing violin together with Nardini’s young pupil Thomas Linley, and simply absorbed the atmosphere: “A violinist lives above us, another below us, next to us is a singing teacher who gives lessons, and an oboist is living in the last room opposite us. That’s fun for composing!” (Mozart’s letter from Milan to his sister Nannerl, 1771). He drew more impressions from travels around western Europe and Germany.

It was against this background that Mozart composed his Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major (K 219), sometimes called the “Turkish Concerto”. In three movements, the work maintains the fast-slow-fast layout of the classical concerto, but within it the composer demonstrates his originality and imagination. For example, in the first movement after the opening Allegro there is a short but heartfelt violin solo passage (Adagio), but the most famous peculiarity of the concerto is the “Turkish” theme in the trio of the final movement, where there is a change of metre and key, and in contrast with the graceful menuetto, an episode inspired by the music of Janissary bands bursts onto the scene. Mozart imitates the exotic character of such music with strong rhythms, chromatic runs, and col legno playing (using the wooden part of the bow) by the cellos and basses. In those days, this was a fashionable trend and definitely not a reminder of aggression from the South or East. Other composers also wrote such Turkish music, and it is familiar to us from Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio and his Piano Sonata in A major (K 331) with its famous march “alla Turca”. The orchestration is transparent, especially compared with the forces used in the Bruckner symphony that follows.