PRESS RELEASE Brno, 3. 5. 2023
A Year of Czech Music, but interestingly done. Careful attention to unfairly neglected composers. Great monumental symphonies. The marking of important anniversaries. Filharmonie Brno is introducing its 68th season, which continues its approach of many years, while introducing new features for subscribers.
The orchestra begins its new season on 14 September with Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”, conducted by Chief Conductor Dennis Russell Davies. Thus, right from the outset it continues in the tradition of presenting great symphonic works by Austrian and German composers. “This includes Wagner, Bruckner and Richard Strauss, whom we will be playing. All these monumental pieces, with the exception of the suite from Wagner’s Parsifal, will be conducted by the Chief Conductor himself, who is a world-leading expert on Bruckner and the other mentioned composers,” says Marie Kučerová, Director of Filharmonie Brno.
The season’s central theme is the Year of Czech Music, which Filharmonie will be celebrating through a number of projects over the course of the whole of 2024. One of the more traditional of these, for example, is the Dvořák and Suk & Martinů concert, which will be performed by two outstanding representatives of the younger generation of Czech interpreters: violinist Jan Mráček and conductor Robert Kružík. The Rhapsody in Blue 100 concert, featuring works by Schulhoff, Gerschwin and Korngold, is a rather unconventional tribute to Czech music. “It is basically an anniversary project, with the works and their composers celebrating anniversaries. At the same time, this contribution towards the Year of Czech Music posits somewhat provocative questions, such as whether we are willing to accept Schulhoff, as a German-Jewish native of Prague whose mother tongue was German, but who actively embraced Czech music culture, as our own. Or equally Brno native Korngold, who left Brno at a young age and developed his work under completely different influences. The question here is where the boundaries lie of what we call Czech musical culture,” explains Filharmonie Brno Programme Director, Vítězslav Mikeš. The concert title refers to the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Gershwin’s popular work, whose symphonic jazz had a significant impact on Schulhoff, amongst others.
Another unconventional contribution to the celebrations is the Bedřich Smetana 200 project, which combines the compositions of this founder of Czech national music with those of Liszt and Wagner, who fundamentally influenced his work. Smetana will also be remembered at the birthday concert for Chief Conductor Davies. With his partner in life and art, Maki Namekawa, he will perform My Homeland in Smetana’s arrangement for four-hand piano. “We will be adding visualisations by Cori O’Lan from Ars Electronica. In summer, we’ll be visiting places with significance to the history of the Czech Republic in order to collect footage for visualisations,” says Davies. Smetana will be performed once again during the season – this time as part of the unique In the Orchestra project, in which the audience will be able to sit directly amongst the musicians during the concert.
In Anticipation of Spring and Peace, a concert combining Jan Novak’s Spring Symphony with Antonín Rejcha’s New Psalm brings together two seasonal lines: a tribute to Czech music, and also a conceptual care for lesser performed year world-class composers. “After all, we released Rejcha and Novák in a new edition of our recordings, and we would like to continue this. It’s music that definitely deserves to be performed on world stages,” says Mikeš. Together with these composers, the new season will also feature the regularly performed Alfred Schnittke, Estonian Lepo Sumera and Mieczysław Weinberg.
Some global soloists the orchestra will be welcoming include tenor Christoph Prégardien, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky, soprano Martina Janková and harpsichordist Mahana Esfahani. “Esfahani will perform three compositions in one evening: as the leading voice of Krás’s Chamber Music, as a solo instrumentalist accompanied by the orchestra in Poulenc’s Concerto champêtre and in the concert part of Weinberg’s Seventh Symphony,” explains Kučerová. Also returning to the orchestra are conductor Michael Schøenwandt, in order to perform Sibelius’s Symphony No. 1, Tomáš Netopil with a combination of Rachmaninov, Mahler and Schnittke, Alexander Liebreich with Krása, Poulenc and Weinberg. The audience can look forward to new faces amongst our conductors, including Takashi Moriuchi, who will also be playing the piano in Adams’s composition, Eros Piano.
Following a highly successful American tour, the orchestra is planning to visit South Korea, as well as many prestigious stages in Austria, Germany and Poland. “We are going to the summer festivals in the Rheingau, Grafenegg and to Vienna’s Konzerthaus, for example,” says Orchestra Manager, Pavel Šindelář. The home audience will be able to hear Filharmonie Brno in Ostrava, Valtice, České Budějovice and at the Smetana’s Litomyšl festival.
The new season will also see the continuation of educational activities for children and adults: interactive workshops with musicians, programmes for schools and preschools, as well as mums and infants, educational concerts and the Mozart Effect project for parents expecting the birth of a child. “The successful Half for Half project this year encompasses six evenings at Besední dům over the course of the entire season. The principle behind this project is that kids are with the parents in the hall for the first half of the concert, while in the second half they are with a teacher while the parents return to the concert. This is a great way to introduce classical music to children who would not manage a whole concert, while also allowing the adults to appreciate it fully,” says educational activities teacher, Kristýna Drášilová. She also points out the new Chamber Family Afternoon, during which kids are literally right next to the musicians.
Sales for the new season begin on Monday 12 May at 12 noon. This date applies to all subscribers who want to renew their subscriptions, something they can do online from home, or else they can come and visit Filharmonie Brno presales in person. Also on the same day, all special concerts and tickets to Špilberk Festival go on sale. On Monday 19 June, all non-renewal subscription places, tickets for Moravian Autumn and also for Season of your Choice go on sale. “You can now make use of this option from three concerts upwards, for which you get a discount of 30 %. What remains the same is the principle that the more concerts you select, the greater the discount you receive. All subscriptions and individual tickets can be purchased online. Thanks to a clear purchase process, you needn’t fear losing out on the highest discount available,” notes Kučerová. She also mentions one other new feature of the upcoming season: you receive programmes for all concerts free of charge, so you no longer need to purchase these from ushers. As in previous seasons, Filharmonie Brno offers ten subscription series: two larger ones at Janáček Theatre (Oslavná/Festive, Temperamentní/Vivacious), one in Besední dům (Noblesní/Refined) and series of chamber, extraordinary, family and jazz concerts. There is also a series of orchestral academics, Mladá krev (Young Blood) and concerts of the Kantiléna choir.
Media contact Kateřina Konečná, Head of PR and Marketing, Filharmonie Brno
+420 775 426 040 firstname.lastname@example.org