PRSO has prepared another colourful season
In the new Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra concert season, listeners can look forward to the names of top performers such as Jean Guihen Queyras, Ian Bostridge, Benjamin Grosvenor, Adam Plachetka, Ivo Kahánek, Mahan Esfahani, Brad Mehldau or Veronika Eberle.
Something new will be the use of the DOX+ concert hall, where two jazz projects from the New Horizons series will take place, and a source of undoubted enrichment will be the new items in the programming – compositions written specifically for PRSO and the works of Czech and international authors that rarely appear on concert stages.
We will certainly enjoy returning to concert venues after the imposed break with new, as yet unknown feelings. PRSO will delight listeners eager to hear live music with a diverse offering, in which Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Alexander Liebreich has had a considerable say. Marek Šedivý remains the Principal Guest Conductor, having extended his stint with the orchestra for another two years, i.e. until June 2022.
As the artist-in-residence, the excellent cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras will be performing, and among other things we will hear him play "our" Dvořák. Once again this year a number of less frequently played compositions will appear on the programme alongside favourite repertoire works, for example Radim Drejsl's Piano Concerto, to be played by Karel Košárek, the Symphony in F-sharp major by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, best known as a Hollywood composer, and Britten's Piano Concerto with the amazing Benjamin Grosvenor. There will also be premieres of works custom made for PRSO: Composition for Mahan Esfahani's Harpsichord by one of the most sought-after contemporary authors, Miroslav Srnka, Virus, which is a concerto for Jitka Hosprová's viola by Zbyněk Matějů, a new work by Jana Vöröšová, who has composed a piece for PRSO and the Czech Radio Children's Choir, and also the Czech premiere of Toshio Hosokawa's Violin Concerto. One of the most important Japanese composers wrote it for violinist Veronika Eberle, who will unveil the composition at Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie.
The concert programmes have been structured into four established series. The exclusive Premium series brings all-star soloists and compositions to the stage. The very first concert will feature Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Ode to Joy P1. Thus will we commemorate 250 years since the birth of this German stalwart along with the whole musical world. One of the most important contemporary British musicians, tenor Ian Bostridge, will perform Socrate by Erik Satie P2. The captivating American jazz pianist Brad Mehldau will improvise on the music of Bach and also play the Czech premiere of his Piano Concerto P3. The season's aforementioned artist-in-residence Jean-Guihen Queyras will perform a concerto by Haydn and the solo in Strauss's symphonic poem Don Quixote P4.
Also offering an attractive repertoire is the traditional series R – Classical in the Rudolfinum. Conductor Marek Šedivý will present Russian classic Sergei Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 as well as the oft overlooked music of Radim Drejsl R1. You may remember American conductor John Axelrod from 2018, when he kicked off the season with the music of Bernstein and Mahler; this time he will be presenting the film and symphonic legacy of Erich Wolfgang Korngold R2. One of the best harpsichordists today, Iranian-American disciple Zuzana Růžičková Mahan Esfahani, will perform the Concert champêtre Francis Poulenc R5. Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and the choral symphony The Bells will be presented by the symphony's former chief conductor Ondrej Lenárd R7. Elina Vähälä from Finland will certainly shine in the compelling Violin Concerto No. 2 by Béla Bartók R8. Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, an exceptionally rewarding work, will be bring Marko Ivanović to the Dvořák Hall R11. In addition to Toshio Hosokawa's Violin Concerto, the final concert will also be crowned with Alexander von Zemlinsky's Lyric Symphony R12.
To see the series K – Chamber, PRSO supporters will head to the incomparable environment of the St Agnes Convent. The orchestra members presenting as soloists this time include concert maestros Vlastimil Kobrle, Petr Zdvihal and Pavel Ludvík K2 and trumpet soloist Jiří Houdek K3. We also invite renowned soloists in to work with us, such as viola player Jitka Hosprová K1, oboe player Vilém Veverka and harp player Kateřina Englichová K4. Last but not least it is with sincere pleasure that we are providing an opportunity to young musicians, the winner of the 2019 Concertino Praga radio competition, pianist Jan Čmejla, clarinet player Anna Paulová, who won the Prague Spring competition, and the members of the Czech Radio Children's Choir led by choirmaster Věra Hrdinková.
The public has rightly come to expect unique and exceptional projects from the series N – New Horizons. They shall have them once again! The Czech jazz musicians around pianist and composer Tomáš Sýkora will pay tribute along with PRSO to the legendary composer, pianist and teacher Karel Růžiček N1. The project of eminent bass-baritone "On Broadway with Adam Plachetka II" at Forum Karlín promises to be an extraordinary experience N2. Another musical holiday will be the performance of one of the most inspiring jazz pianists of the present day Brad Mehldau at the Rudolfinum N3. And we will head to the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art to see the amazing jazz project E.S.T. Symphony as presented by Scandinavian musicians and PRSO N4.
PRSO has a tour of Japan in store in the autumn part of the season, where over seventeen days of November it will perform in nine Japanese cities. In the second part of the season the orchestra will depart for Vienna, where they will play along with Brad Mehldau at the distinguished Konzerthaus. They will also visit the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw and the Dresdner Musikfestspiele. PRSO will also be performing at leading Czech music festivals. Right after the season's inaugural concert, it will perform as part of the Dvořák Prague festival and at the end of the season will visit Prague Spring, the Leoš Janáček Festival and Smetana's Litomyšl.
Cooperation with renowned companies represents a fundamental source of support for PRSO's artistic activities, such as that with Expobank CZ, which will be supporting the orchestra in the new season as its official partner. Czech Radio Vltava remains PRSO's media partner. Other media partners are the trade journals Harmonie and Hudební rozhledy, the music portal KlasikaPlus.cz, the weekly Týdeník Rozhlas, the news portal iRozhlas.cz and Czech Radio D-dur. Individual concerts have been supported by the Czech Ministry of Culture, the State Fund of Culture of the Czech Republic, the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation, Forum Karlín and National Gallery Prague. Cooperation will also continue with Dachser Czech Republic, the partner for transporting instruments.
Live feeds or recordings of concerts are traditionally offered by the Czech Radio stations ČRo Vltava and ČRo D-dur. You can find a number of audio and video recordings on the orchestra's website socr.rozhlas.cz. Selected concerts will see HD quality recordings added to the YouTube channel Koncerty Českého rozhlasu (Czech Radio Concerts).
What will undoubtedly please fans of classical is the fact that, thanks to the support of public radio, the prices of all three subscriptions have been kept at the same rate as in the 2019/20 season. The prices of individual tickets to the concert series at the Rudolfinum and St Agnes Convent will not be increased either.
Advance sales of subscriber and individual tickets will be launched on Monday 8 June. As of this date, those interested will be able to buy subscriptions for the premium series P, the R series (Classical in the Rudolfinum) and the chamber series at the St Agnes Convent (K), as well as individual tickets to concerts from the P, K and N series and the public dress rehearsals. Individual tickets to concerts from the R series will be released for sale starting 22 June.