Czech Philharmonic—which debuted in 1896 under Antonín Dvořák—resides in Prague at the Rudolfinum and proudly represents the Czech Republic internationally as an esteemed and cherished cultural ambassador. Since its founding, the all-Czech orchestra has championed the music and composers of its homeland. Its past is inextricably woven to that of the Czech Republic, particularly through Bedřich Smetana’s Má vlast (My Homeland). Considered by many to be the country’s unofficial national anthem, Má vlast has been used by the orchestra to exemplify the country’s perseverance and pride throughout its complicated and often turbulent political history: as an act of defiance during the Nazi occupation; in a “Concert of Thanks” in 1945 for the newly liberated Czechoslovakia; to mark the country’s first free elections in 1990; and, this year, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Czech and Slovak independence in a new release from Decca Classics.
Acknowledged for its performances of Dvořák, Janáček, Martinů, and Suk, the Czech Philharmonic is also recognized for its deep relationships to Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler, whose Symphony No. 7 the orchestra premiered in 1908. Historic collaborations and premieres include a podium appearance by Edvard Grieg, Stravinsky conducting his Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein conducting Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3, Arthur Honegger conducting his own music, Darius Milhaud introducing his Music for Prague, and Krzysztof Penderecki conducting his Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra. The Czech Philharmonic made its first appearance in Davies Symphony Hall in a 2000 concert as part of the SFS Great Performers Series.
2018 marks the beginning of a new era for the Czech Philharmonic as Semyon Bychkov becomes the orchestra’s fourteenth Chief Conductor and Music Director, taking up the mantle from predecessors including Václav Talich, Rafael Kubelík, Karel Ančerl, Václav Neumann, and Jiří Bělohlávek. Mr. Bychkov’s tenure opened in Prague with performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Berio's Sinfonia, and Dvořák's Symphony No. 7. Together they embark on their inaugural international tour together to London, nine US cities, a weeklong residency in Vienna, Belgium, and five cities in Germany.
The Czech Philharmonic would like to extend special thanks and a sincere gratitude to our US tour partner, the Karel Komárek Family Foundation.