the concert will finish at 9.45 p.m.
The last form of the relationship between music and society that the programming of this season refers to is the case where politics directly, and often destructively, interfere with the work and life of artists. In this regard, the Nazi regime had the most tragic consequences. The phrase ‘degenerate’ or ‘perverted’ art was used by the Nazis as a hex, condemning the music of all ‘unsatisfactory’ artists. Among this category of artists fell Ernst Křenek, whose Concerto Grosso no. 2 will be heard in this concert. The authorities did not like his inclination towards modernism, and his flirting with jazz. An Austrian composer by birth, he managed to emigrate in time to the United States, where he successfully developed his career. The Nazi regime did not enjoy the music by Felix Mendelssohn - Bartholdy either, as he was of Jewish descent. Yet Mendelssohn was one of the greatest geniuses of early Romanticism: he wrote the Symphony No. 1 featuring on our programme age thirteen. Under the baton of the American star conductor John Fiore, the PKF concert masters Jan Fišer, Lukáš Pospíšil, and Stanislav Svoboda will perform as soloists.
John Fiore — conductor
The American conductor John Fiore is one of today’s most acclaimed figures on the opera scene. In the past he held positions as Chief Conductor of Deutsche Oper am Rhein (1999-2009), General Music Director of the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo (2009-2015), where he often returns. His engagements in the 2019/2020 season include a new production of Samson and Dalilah in Washington State Opera, Eugen Onegin at the Royal Swedish Opera, The Force of Destiny at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Fidelio, Hoffman’s Tales, and The Flying Dutchman at Semperoper Dresden as well as a number of orchestral concerts with the Munich Radio Orchestra, Staatsphilharmonie Nürnberg and Robert Schumann Philharmonie. As an opera conductor he has performed at all of the major European opera houses (such as the Bavarian State Opera, Opera de Roma, Teatro San Carlo and Zurich Opera). In the USA he regularly collaborates with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where he has conducted well over one hundred performances, including Dvořák’s opera Rusalka, the first performance in 1993, reprised in 1997. He regularly returns to the National Theatre in Prague where in 2005 he prepared Wagner’s complete tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung, Puccini’s The Girl of the West (2007), Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (2009) and several other operas.
Jan Fišer — violin
The PKF – Prague Philharmonia Concert Master Jan Fišer is a notable figure on our music scene. He began playing the violin under the guidance of Hana Metelková, and continued at the Prague Conservatoire (with Prof. Jaroslav Foltýn). Following that he went to the USA to study at the Carnegie Mellon University – School of Music (Prof. Andrés Cárdenes). He rounded off his studies by attending international masterclasses in Semmering, Bonn, and at the acclaimed Meadowmount School of Music. He took part in several other masterclasses led by Pinchas Zuckermann, Gil Shaham and Joseph Silverstein. He is a laureate of several competitions, his greatest achievement being the winner of Kocian Violin Competition in Ústí nad Orlicí (1996) and the International Violin Competition Beethoven’s Hradec (1998), where he received the Prize for the best interpretation of Sonata No. 3 by Bohuslav Martinů. As a soloist he has performed in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, France, Poland, Spain (Pau Casals International Music Festival), Switzerland (Murten Classics), Italy, Japan and the USA. He is also a devoted chamber player. Together with the pianist Ivo Kahánek and the cellist Tomáš Jamník they have formed the Dvořák Trio, one of the best ensembles on today’s Czech music scene. He regularly records for television and radio.
Stanislav Svoboda — viola
Stanislav Svoboda is currently the Principal Viola of the PKF orchestra and a member of the State Opera in Prague since 2017. Apart from orchestral playing he also performs as a soloist and chamber player (with the Kocian Quartet, Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic in Zlín, PKF – Prague Philharmonia etc.). His unusually extensive repertoire includes Baroque music as well as works by contemporary composers. He attended the P. J. Vejvanovský Conservatoire in Kroměříž (prof. Miloslav Masařík) and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (Prof. Jan Pěruška). During his studies he won First Prize at the International Competition Beethoven’s Hradec and successfully auditioned for the membership of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, with whom he, together with young musicians from all over Europe, performed at renowned European concert podia under the baton of stars from the conducting world, namely Claudio Abbado, Václav Neumann, James Judd, and Manfred Honeck. In 1992 he was one of the founding members of the New Czech Chamber Orchestra which in 1994, under the leadership of Jiří Bělohlávek, became the Prague Chamber Philharmonic, today’s PKF – Prague Philharmonia.
Lukáš Pospíšil — violoncello
Lukáš Pospíšil began playing the cello under the guidance of Prof. Mirko Škampa, attended the Conservatoire in Prague (prof. Viktor Moučka) and graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (prof. Miloš Sádlo). In the academic year 1991/1992 he also studied at the renowned Hochschule für Musik und darnstellende Kunst in Vienna with Prof. Angelica May. During this time he also took part in masterclasses (with Erkki Rautio, Heinrich Schiff, and Martin Hornstein) and in competitions. In 1983 he was awarded 3rd prize in Beethoven’s Hradec Competition, and in 1988 he won the Janáček Competition in Brno. In the years 1988–1991 he played in the international Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and eventually became Principal Cello. Between 2004–2005 he was a soloist of the Kammerorchester Berlin. Lukáš is a sought-after chamber player. Since 2014 he has been a member of the string quartet Zeiher Quartett, and regularly collaborates with the excellent violinist Jakub Fišer and pianist and conductor Marek Šedivý. As a solo cellist he gives concerts at home and abroad (Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Jordan, Luxemburg) and promotes music by Czech composers.