The Czech Philharmonic, ranking among the world’s finest orchestras,
continues to delight audiences around the globe with its unique qualities. From
2012 to 2017, this seminal Czech cultural institution was helmed by its chief
conductor, the late Jiří Bělohlávek, who led the orchestra on highly
successful tours of the USA, China, Japan and Europe.
The Czech Philharmonic has an illustrious heritage. The
orchestra’s inaugural performance, on 4 January 1896 at the Rudolfinum in
Prague, was conducted by none other than Antonín Dvořák. Numerous famed
conductors have played a major role in the orchestra’s history. They
include Gustav Mahler, under whose baton the Czech Philharmonic gave the world
premiere of his Symphony No. 7 in Prague in 1908. The
orchestra’s international renown further increased under Václav Talich.
The energetic Rafael Kubelík steered the Czech Philharmonic through the
difficult years of World War II, while during Karel Ančerl’s post-war tenure
the orchestra embarked on a busy touring schedule.
Following a period of varied fortunes after the Velvet Revolution, the
rejuvenated Czech Philharmonic has appeared at the most prestigious concert
halls and festivals, including the Salzburger Festspiele and the BBC Proms, and
given regular performances at the Berliner Philharmonie and the Royal Festival
Hall in London, as well as residence concerts at the Musikverein in Vienna, the
Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Carnegie Hall in New York and the NCPA in Beijing. The
orchestra has had the honour of working with the world’s finest
instrumentalists and singers, among them Joshua Bell, Hélène Grimaud, Janine
Jansen, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Daniil Trifonov and Yo-Yo Ma. It has also performed
guest conductors, including Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Valery Gergiev,
Vladimir Jurowski, Fabio Luisi and Jaap van Zweden.
The Czech Philharmonic’s recordings have received numerous awards and
nominations, including ten Grands Prix du Disque de l'Académie Charles-Cros,
five Grands Prix du Disque de l'Académie française and several Cannes
Classical Awards. Furthermore, it was ranked among Gramophone’s Top 20 Best
Orchestras in the World (2008). The orchestra has also been nominated for Grammy
and Gramophone Awards. Over the long term, the Czech Philharmonic has
collaborated with Unitel, EuroArts and Czech Television. The orchestra has also
made a TV documentary about Antonín Dvořák’s music and its work under the
conductor Jiří Bělohlávek.
In the 2017/2018 season, there are three designated conductors engaged with the
Czech Philharmonic. Apart from the Music Director and Chief Conductor Semyon
Bychkov, the orchestra works frequently with the Principal Guest Conductors
Jakub Hrůša and Tomáš Netopil.