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69th season 2024 | 25

90, 200, 150. Three numbers marking important anniversaries have significantly shaped Filharmonie Brno’s upcoming 69th season. “The number 90 refers to the season’s most important project, Mahler’s Das klagende Lied/Song of Lamentation. We will be performing this in its original three-movement form on the day exactly ninety years since its world premiere. Its premiere took place in Brno under the direction of Mahler’s nephew, and was performed by the radio orchestra which would later become Filharmonie Brno. It is rare to hear this balladic story in its original form, because the composer later revised it, cutting out the large first movement,” explains Marie Kučerová, Director of Filharmonie Brno. The solo part will be taken on by one of the world’s most renowned sopranos, Chen Reiss. “This season, we have managed to invite several star soloists from around the world, of whom Chen Reiss is probably the greatest,” says Kučerová. She adds that the number 90 also refers to the anniversary of Alfred Schnittke’s birth, who is one of the ensemble’s emblematic composers, as he is regularly featured in every season.

Dennis Russell

The Chief Conductor and Artistic Director
of Filharmonie Brno

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To the friends and supporters of the Filharmonie Brno!

The brilliant performance by the Filharmonie Brno on February 8, 2023 in Carnegie Hall, New York City, symbolized the arrival of our great orchestra to the highest international level. Our exciting concert program for 2023–2024 will give our Czech public, especially our loyal Brno audience, the opportunity to hear their musicians at home, performing some of the greatest orchestral masterpieces, with a special emphasis on Czech music during the calendar year 2024.

Gustav Mahler’s magnificent Second Symphony opens our season with performances in Germany in August at the Rheingau Festival, and at the Janáček Theater in September, featuring wonderful Czech soloists and Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno. Other monumental works on my programs with the Filharmonie Brno include Anton Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony, paired with Stanislaw Skrowaczewski’s atmospheric Passacaglia Imaginaria. My dear friend Skrowaczewski, a great conductor who was performing into his nineties and whose one hundredth birthday would have occurred in October, was, like Gustav Mahler, a conducting composer, and I have paired him with his much beloved Bruckner.

In December our concert in the Janáček Theater with a Spanish theme includes Richard Strauss’ poetic and dramatic Don Quichotte, featuring our concertmasters as soloists, as well as my mentor and friend Luciano Berio’s colorful homage to Luigi Boccherini. For me the Year of Czech Music has already begun, as I have started to learn Brno’s own Jan Novák’s fascinating Spring Symphony together with Antonín Reicha’s Der Neue Psalm. And we will ring in the New Year together with a program featuring music celebrating the wonderful, strong bonds between the Czech and American people. Our composers: Dvořák, Martinů, Morton Gould, Gershwin.

In the spring we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of George Gershwin’s ground breaking and beloved Rhapsody in Blue, performing in Ferdie Grofe’s original arrangement for the Paul Whiteman Dance Orchestra. Shortly thereafter my wife Maki Namekawa and I will celebrate in Besední dům Bedřich Smetana’s 200th birthday (and my 80th) with a performance of Má vlast, in the composer’s own four hand version, together with newly created visuals from the Ars Electronica and Cori O’Lan. In July of 2023 we will be visiting the many places in Bohemia that inspired Smetana for this work, in order to gather visual material and perhaps gain emotional insight into this great Czech masterpiece. Please join us this season on this great musical adventure.

Dennis Russell Davies

We are entering the 69th season together…

…and we are still growing. We prepare concerts, festivals, extraordinary performances and children’s events for you. Come here, we’ll tune you.