Ondřej Vrabec

French horn

In Czech Philharmonic
since August 1997

Also plays in
Brahms Trio Prague

Image ondřej-vrabec.jpg

Even though he devotes most of his time to conducting these days, he built his career on his exceptional professional experience as a solo, chamber and orchestral French horn player. He joined the Czech Philharmonic when he was only 17 years old and has been the orchestra’s first French horn player ever since. He studied at the Prague Conservatory (professors B. Tylšar, V. Válek, H. Farkač, M. Němcová, M. Košler) and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (professors R. Eliška, J. Bělohlávek, F. Vajnar and others). He has attended many masterclass courses (the London Masterclasses, Hornclass in Prague, French-Czech Academy of Music in Telč) and has also benefited from cooperation with the world wind music elite (S. Azzolini, M. Bourgue) as well as the top world conductors (Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Benjamin Zander, Jiří Bělohlávek).

He is the overall winner of the Czech Conservatories Competition in Ostrava and laureate of a number of chamber music awards (Concertino Praga, the Mozart Society Award). He won the honourable mention of the jury in the international conducting competitions Prague Spring 2017 and in Tokyo in 2015. As a soloist, he has performed with dozens of Czech and international orchestras (the Czech Philharmonic, Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra, Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, Bayrisches Kammerorchester, NCPAO Beijing, Sólistes Européenes Luxembourg, Augsburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Košice State Philharmonic, Rzeszow Philharmonic, Lviv Philharmonic) with excellent conductors (Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Edo de Waart, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Ian Volkov, Lü Jia). He gives solo recitals and takes part in chamber music projects (mainly Brahms Trio Prague and PhilHarmonia Octet, formerly Maurice Bourgue Ensemble, Juventus Quintet, Czech Philharmonic Horn Club). He is regularly invited as a guest solo French horn player to foreign orchestras (Seoul Philharmonic, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Tonkünstler Wien).

He has recorded music for the Czech Radio and a number of recording labels. The Brahms Trio CD, which was done in a unique way with own musical and sound directing, won great critical acclaim both in the Czech Republic and abroad with the prestigious US magazine Fanfare calling it the best recording of Brahm’s Trio E-flat Major, op. 40. He also supported the creation of many contemporary compositions featuring French horn. As most of them are directly dedicated to him, he premiered and recorded many of these pieces. He is also a respected teacher at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and regularly teaches at masterclass courses (Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic). He has been collaborating with the And Vision Inc. education company based in Tokyo.

He has conducted many Czech ensembles, including the Czech Philharmonic where he was the assistant chief conductor. He has also appeared as the conductor of the Japan Philharmonic, Reykjavik Chamber Orchestra, Košice State Philharmonic, London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Oradea State Philharmony, Uzhgorod Philharmonic and Lviv Virtuosi. He has appeared at international festivals including the Prague Spring, Anima Mundi, Mitte Europa, Český Krumlov. For many years, he has been a permanent member of the conductor team at the world-renown contemporary music festivals Ostrava Days and NODO. He has conducted the world premieres of contemporary operas by Martin Smolka, Petr Cígler and Mojiao Wang as well as the critically-acclaimed performance of B. Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia and W. A. Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. He was the conductor at the PKF – Prague Philharmonia’s first tour to South Korea (2011) and China (2012-13). He recorded three CDs with the Czech Philharmonic featuring the complete symphonies of British composer Andrew Downes (Artesmon/Czech Philharmonic label), Gustav Holst’s The Planets and Arthur Honegger’s Symphony No. 2 (Octavia Records, Japan). On top of that, he did two recordings with the Czech Philharmonic Collegium: DVD Proměny/Transformations (Universal Music, voted the recording of the year) and a CD with concertos for violin and viola (with Gabriela Demeterová, Supraphon). In the Czech Philharmonic, he has worked on preparing concerts on behalf well-known world conductors (Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Semyon Bychkov, Valerij Gergijev, Manfred Honeck, Jiří Bělohlávek).