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Czech Philharmonic • Madrid


The Czech Philharmonic last appeared at the Auditorio Nacional in 2015 with the conductor Jiří Bělohlávek. Now at its second residency concert, they will have their first encounter with the German-American violinist Augustin Hadelich, and three works by Antonín Dvořák will be heard under the baton of Semyon Bychkov.

Programme

Antonín Dvořák
Carnival Overture, Op. 92

Antonín Dvořák
Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53

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

Performers

Augustin Hadelich violin

Semyon Bychkov conductor

Czech Philharmonic

Photo illustrating the event Czech Philharmonic • Madrid

Madrid — Auditorio Nacional

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Performers

Augustin Hadelich  violin

Augustin Hadelich

The life of Augustin Hadelich is the story of a prodigy from a farm in Tuscany who has managed to rise to the very summit among today’s most important performers worldwide. He was born in the Italian town Cecina (not far from Livorno) to German parents who owned a farm there. He began playing the violin at age five (his two brothers were already playing cello and piano at home) under the guidance of his father, an amateur cellist, who long remained his only teacher apart from a couple of famous violinists (Norbert Brainin and Uto Ughi) who travelled to Tuscany to spend the summer and were also willing to give Augustin lessons. They recognised his great talent, so Hadelich began studies at the Istituto Mascagni, a conservatoire in nearby Livorno. Later, he was admitted to the prestigious Julliard School, where he studied under Joel Smirnoff. 

He began his performing career at age 22, when he won the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis (2006). Since then, music critics have been showering him with superlatives for his phenomenal technique, stunning tone colour, and thoughtful interpretations. He finds subtle nuances in compositions, and he does not hesitate to experiment, as he showed in his solo Bach recording, for which he used a Baroque bow to achieve the ideal sound. He is also unafraid to perform contemporary music. In fact, his recording of Dutilleux’s Violin Concerto won a 2016 Grammy.

His concert and recording credits also include many works of the traditional repertoire, such as the Dvořák Violin Concerto on today’s programme, which can be heard on Hadelich’s CD “Bohemian Tales” with Jakub Hrůša and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, for which Hadelich won the 2021 Opus Klassik prize and earned a Grammy nomination, which he did not win in this case, although critics praised his ability to tell a story through music, to present an interpretive statement with confidence, or to devote great attention to small details of articulation.

He is coming to Prague with the Dvořák Violin Concerto after a busy month of September, giving 13 concerts in six European countries, and already on October 2nd he will make a concert appearance in Armenia. And his career continues racing ahead at this hectic pace (if fact, he will be going back and forth between Europe and America in the course of just a few days) so the pure sound of his violin, a 1744 Guarneri, will be heard in the world’s most important concert halls. His partners on his musical pilgrimages include America’s most important orchestras as well as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. Hadelich also teaches violin at Yale University and gives masterclasses.

Semyon Bychkov  conductor

Semyon Bychkov

In recognition of the 2024 Year of Czech Music – a major celebration of Czech music celebrated across the Czech Republic every 10 years since 1924 – Chief Conductor and Music Director Semyon Bychkov has put the music of Antonín Dvořák at the centre of his programmes with the Czech Philharmonic throughout the 2023–2024 season. In addition to conducting three programmes devoted to Dvořák in Prague, Bychkov and the Orchestra will tour the Dvořák programmes to South Korea, Japan, Spain, Austria, Germany, Belgium and the United States, as well as recording the last three symphonies for Pentatone. 

Semyon Bychkovʼs tenure at the Czech Philharmonic began in 2018 with concerts in Prague, London, New York, and Washington commemorating the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovak independence. Following the culmination of The Tchaikovsky Project, Bychkov and the Orchestra began their focus on Mahler. The first discs in a new Mahler cycle were released by Pentatone in 2022, with Symphony No. 5 chosen by The Sunday Times as its Best Classical Album.

Bychkovʼs repertoire spans four centuries. His highly anticipated performances are a unique combination of innate musicality and rigorous Russian pedagogy. In addition to guest engagements with the world’s major orchestras and opera houses, Bychkov holds honorary titles with the BBC Symphony Orchestra – with whom he appears annually at the BBC Proms – and the Royal Academy of Music, who recently awarded him an Honorary Doctorate. Bychkov was named “Conductor of the Year” by the International Opera Awards in 2015 and, by Musical America in 2022.

Bychkov began recording in 1986 and released discs with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio, Royal Concertgebouw, Philharmonia Orchestra and London Philharmonic for Philips. Subsequently a series of benchmark recordings with WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne featured Brahms, Mahler, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Strauss, Verdi, Glanert and Höller. Bychkov’s 1993 recording of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with the Orchestre de Paris continues to win awards, most recently the Gramophone Collection 2021; 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).

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 St Petersburg in 1952, he studied at the Leningrad Conservatory with the legendary Ilya Musin. Denied his prize of conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic, Bychkov emigrated to the United States in 1975 and, has lived in Europe since the mid-1980’s. In 1989, the same year he was named Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris, Bychkov returned to the former Soviet Union as the St Petersburg Philharmonic’s Principal Guest Conductor. He was appointed Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra (1997) and Chief Conductor of Dresden Semperoper (1998).