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Czech Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Ingo Metzmacher • Dvořák Prague Festival


Duration of the programme 1 hour 45 minutes

Programme

Ludwig van Beethoven
Concerto for Violin, Cello, Piano and Orchestra in C Major, Op. 56

Antonín Dvořák
Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88, B. 163, “English”

Performers

Alexandra Conunova violin
Pablo Ferrández cello
Dmitry Shishkin piano

Czech Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

Ingo Metzmacher conductor

Photo illustrating the event Czech Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Ingo Metzmacher • Dvořák Prague Festival

Rudolfinum — Dvořák Hall

Tickets available from the presenter
Price from 690 to 3390 CZK Tickets and contact information

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Performers

Alexandra Conunova  violin

Pablo Ferrández  cello

Pablo Ferrández

The Spanish cellist Pablo Ferrández, now 32 years old, was destined from birth for a brilliant musical career. Both of his parents were also musicians, and they named their child for the iconic Spanish cellist Pablo Casals. Ferrández soon showed himself to be worthy of the name: he turned out to be a prodigy, making the impression of a “trained” cellist at age three, starting to make public appearances at age nine, and making his debut with the Spanish National Orchestra at age 12. He is said to have been a very disciplined child, and he was unaware of his exceptional nature because he was constantly immersed in his work.

At age 13 he began studying at the prestigious Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía under Natalia Shakhovskaya, a student of the great Mstislav Rostropovich, whose interpretive tradition Ferrández is following to a considerable extent. Ferrández then continued his musical education at the Kronberg Academy in Germany. Of course, his musical career would not be where it now is had it not been for two circumstances: victory at the famed Tchaikovsky International Competition (2015) and meeting Anne-Sophie Mutter, who took him under her wing as a scholar of her foundation. That not only put Ferrández in contact with his musical idol, who has since passed on many of her skills to him, but also earned him a large number of opportunities to perform in great concert halls including appearances alongside Anne-Sophie Mutter.

That is also how Ferrández first came to the Rudolfinum last January with Anne-Sophie Mutter, the Czech Philharmonic, and Manfred Honeck, excelling in Brahms’s Double Concerto. And today, we are fortunate to have a live recording of that successful concert. The acclaim was so tempestuous that Pablo Ferrández immediately received the offer to perform here again. He had no idea it would be so soon: already in September he stood in at the opening of the Dvořák Prague Festival in Dvořák’s great Cello Concerto. Despite his youth, he has already played the work on today’s programme countless times, and he included it on his first recording. According to some of the world’s critics, with Dvořák Ferrández has become “a cellist of stature” (The Guardian), and Czech critics have also been unsparing in their praise.

Ferrández and the Czech Philharmonic are taking Dvořák to Japan at the turn of October and November, and he will also be appearing on the March tour of Europe with the Czech Philharmonic in Spain, Germany (on 19 March you can wish him a happy birthday at the concert in Munich), and France. This year, he will get quite a few chances to enjoy the masses of orchestral sound that he loves during his solo appearances: on his busy calendar are several debuts with American orchestras in Boston, Cleveland, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and other important cities as well as concerts with the already familiar faces of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestre National de France. A “New genius of the cello” (Le Figaro), he is conquering the world with his 1689 Stradivarius.

Dmitry Shishkin  piano

Czech Philharmonic Youth Orchestra  

In the modern history of the Czech Philharmonic, when the first steps were being taken towards an educational programme, the idea arose in 2006 – while Václav Riedlbauch was still the executive director – of giving symphonic concerts for student audiences, i.e. for a new generation of listeners. The choice fell to the former Prague (later Czech) Youth Orchestra, an ensemble with many years of tradition of a youthful, enthusiastic approach to music. This worked wonderfully because the students in the audience saw their peers on stage. Bound by their love of music, these musicians gave performances from 2006 to 2010 under the leadership of the conductor Marko Ivanović, playing such works as Janáček’s Sinfonietta, Dvořák’s New World Symphony, Cello Concerto, and Te Deum, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet ballet suite.

When new management took over in 2011, the Czech Philharmonic greatly expanded its educational activities, and that was an opportunity for renewal of the student orchestra’s activities, renamed as the Czech Youth Philharmonic. The idea is to give the rising generation of musicians – mostly students at music schools, whether grammar schools with a music emphasis, conservatoires, or academies of music – the regular opportunity of rehearsing and performing great symphonic, concertante, and choral works. Over time, the efforts turned towards creating a permanent orchestra that would support its members in the perfecting of their ensemble playing and in the creation of long-term relationships and mutual understanding. The Czech Youth Philharmonic musicians also serve as “bearers of light” in relation to their peers by showing them that young people can love classical music and can present it enthusiastically to others.

Since the 2013/2014 season, the orchestra has been performing regularly at concerts of the Czech Philharmonic’s educational series Four Steps to the New World (under the baton of Marko Ivanović), and at the series Penguins at the Rudolfinum (with Vojtěch Jouza) and Who’s Afraid of the Philharmonic? (with Ondřej Vrabec). In April 2019, the Czech Youth Philharmonic appeared with Ida Kelarová and the Čhavorenge children’s choir at Šun Devloro concerts – musical celebrations of International Romani Day. In November 2019, the orchestra played under the baton of Robert Kružík at the Students’ Day Concert with the participation of Joachim Gauck and Petr Pithart.

In June 2020, the conductor Simon Rattle came to Prague insisting that he did not want to conduct just the Czech Philharmonic, but also “some orchestra with young people.” When the choice fell to the Czech Youth Philharmonic, that was an enormous challenge for its members. Sir Simon enjoyed working with the young musicians, and he was unsparing in his praise: “The Czech Youth Philharmonic reminds me of the orchestra of the Verbier Festival, which is made up of the best music students from all around the world, led by players from the Metropolitan Opera. That’s the level they are on.” In February 2021, the Czech Youth Philharmonic first appeared under the baton of chief conductor Semyon Bychkov in the televised concert “A přece se učí” (“But Learning Continues”).

In the 2022/2023 season, the Czech Youth Philharmonic gave its debut at Czech Philharmonic subscription concerts with the conductors Semyon Bychkov and Giovanni Antonini. This year, philharmonic subscribers will hear the Czech Youth Philharmonic under the baton of Jakuba Hrůša and, once again, Giovanni Antonini. In the series “Steps to the New World”, the young musicians will perform works by Bizet, Grieg, Smetana, Wagner, and other composers under the baton of Marko Ivanović.

Ingo Metzmacher  conductor

Ingo Metzmacher

Innovative programs and a passionate commitment to the music of the 20th century have always been Ingo Metzmacher’s trademark and firmly established him as a leading international conductor.

Recent concert performances include returns to the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony and BBC Symphony orchestras. He also continues to work closely with the Bamberg Symphony, Vienna Symphony orchestras and the Orchestre de Paris. This autumn he started a series of concerts over two seasons as Conductor in Residence with the New Japan Philharmonic in Tokyo.

His 2013/14 season sees the continuation of Dieter Dorn’s new production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in Geneva. Das Rheingold opened in March 2013 and will be followed by Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung in autumn 2013 and spring 2014, with two complete cycles in May 2014. In the summer of 2013 he returned to the Salzburg Festival for a new production of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s opera Gawain, directed by Alvis Hermanis. Further appearances at the Salzburg Festival have included the world premiere of Wolfgang Rihm’s opera Dionysos; Prometeo and Al gran sole carico d’amore by Luigi Nono, as well as Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten. Other opera highlights of recent seasons were The Rake’s Progress and Die tote Stadt at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Königskinder, Tristan und Isolde, Der ferne Klang, Tannhäuser, From the House of the Dead, The Nose, and Palestrina at the Zurich Opera House; and Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District and Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Vienna State Opera.

From 2007 to 2010 Metzmacher was Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. His thematic concert cycles during this time entitled ‘From The German Soul’, ‘Breakthrough 1909’, and ‘Temptation’ made a lasting impact on Berlin’s music life. Previously he had been Chief Conductor of The Netherlands Opera (2005–8) in Amsterdam. Highlights of his tenure included performances of Henze’s The Bassarids, directed by Peter Stein; Die tote Stadt and Die Gezeichneten with the Concertgebouw Orchestra; a cycle of the three Da Ponte operas by Mozart in productions by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito; and a Pierre Audi production of Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise. As General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera (1997–2005), he conducted a series of internationally acclaimed productions, many of them in collaboration with stage director Peter Konwitschny. Highlights included Lohengrin, Wozzeck, Freischütz, Don Carlos and Moses und Aron.

Ingo Metzmacher’s discography includes live recordings of his New Year’s Eve concerts in Hamburg from 1999 to 2004, entitled ‘Who is afraid of 20th Century Music?’; a complete recording of Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s symphonies with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra; the world premiere of Hans Werner Henze’s Ninth Symphony with the Berliner Philharmoniker; Olivier Messiaen’s Illuminations of the Beyond… with the Vienna Philharmonic; Hans Pfitzner’s Von deutscher Seele with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and a live recording of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk from the Vienna State Opera. Available on DVD are the Salzburg Festival productions of Wolfgang Rihm’s Dionysos and Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten, the Zurich Opera House production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Königskinder, Pierre Audi’s production of Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise for the Holland Festival 2008, and the Amsterdam productions of Mozart’s Da Ponte operas, directed by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito.

Ingo Metzmacher was born in Hanover. He studied piano, music theory and conducting in his home town and in Salzburg and Cologne. He found his first artistic home in Frankfurt, with the Ensemble Modern and the Frankfurt Opera under the artistic directorship of Michael Gielen. His international career began in 1988, during Gerard Mortier’s tenure as director of the La Monnaie in Brussels, when he stepped in to conduct a new production of Franz Schreker’s Der ferne Klang.

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