PRESS RELEASE Brno, 23 April 2019
Original projects with music that has stood the test of time. Special concerts to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday. Earlier and newer works in novel combinations that are characteristic of the Brno Philharmonic: Schumann and Vasks, Brahms and Nejtek, Mendelssohn and Rautavaara. That in a nutshell is the upcoming 64th season of the orchestra, promising two world and three Czech premieres, and also the recent Grammy winner, Laurie Anderson, on the platform of Besední dům.
The commemoration of 250 years since Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth is one of the key topics of the upcoming season. “The world-famous pianist, Elisabeth Leonskaja, will perform all five of Beethoven’s piano concertos over a two-week period. Another unique feat will be the performance of all the composer’s cello sonatas and variations by our cellists accompanied by our chief conductor on the piano, in two concerts on one Sunday in February,” noted the Brno Philharmonic director, Marie Kučerová.
The chief conductor, Dennis Russell Davies, will also lead the Ninth with the “Ode to Joy”. With its performance of this piece, the Philharmonic will step into the Beethovenian year 2020 and after a gap of nearly three years will return to the stage of the Janáček Theatre. “I was there in April for a performance of Dvořák’s Rusalka. It is a beautiful space and I’m very much looking forward to performing there with my orchestra,” said the chief conductor and artistic director, Dennis Russell Davies. The orchestra returns to the Janáček Theatre with five concerts: a New Year’s concert and two evenings in both March and April. In mid-March, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, orchestrated by Maurice Ravel, Bohuslav Martinů’s Frescoes of Piero della Francesca and Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler symphony are on the schedule. “We’ll perform Martinů’s Frescoes in a visualisation prepared in collaboration with the celebrated festival Ars Electronica. It will in fact be a world premiere. We’ll use the most advanced technologies in art for this event,” noted the Brno Philharmonic programmer, Vítězslav Mikeš. On the programme of the third concert in the theatre is one of the most existential symphonies ever: Mahler’s Ninth. “I’m convinced that under the chief conductor’s baton this will be truly extraordinary,” added Mikeš.
Both the programmer and the chief conductor have highlighted Antonín Rejcha monumental oratorio, Lenore, as the discovery of the season. Like Beethoven, his friend Rejcha was born in 1770, and hence the Philharmonic is celebrating his important anniversary too. “Lenore is a substantial stage tableau for soloists, choir and orchestra, after a ballad by Gottfried August Bürger. It is a captivating major work, on the same topic as Czech poet’s Karel Jaromír Erben’s The Wedding Shirts. At the time of its inception, it was banned by the Vienna censor’s office due to its daring theme, despite Beethoven’s intercession. The solo parts will include the sopranos Martina Janková and Pavla Vykopalová and the baritone Jiří Brückler,” explained Davies.
Two concerts of a recent Grammy winner, Laurie Anderson, also promise an exceptional experience. In what will be the Czech premiere, in Besední dům she will present her orchestral work Songs for Amelia Earhart, consisting of meditative music with lyrics by Amelia Earhart, an American aviator who was the first woman to cross the Atlantic and who disappeared without a trace during her flight over the Pacific in 1937. “I would also like to highlight the world premiere of a work by Michal Nejtek, which we have commissioned; Schnittke’s very forceful first violin concerto with Matt Haimovitz as the soloist; Tüür’s homage to Beethoven, Phantasma, which will be heard in Czech premiere; and Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus, a concerto for birds and orchestra,” Mikeš noted from the season’s programme.
In addition to performing in its home city of Brno, the Philharmonic will also showcase its artistry at domestic festivals as well as on concert platforms abroad. Beyond the Saint Wenceslas Music Festival in Ostrava and Smetana’s Litomyšl, where it traditionally appears, it will perform with the Plastic People of the Universe in the garden of the Wallenstein Palace in Prague, and at Hradec Králové’s Music Forum. With its chief conductor, it will appear in Brucknerhaus, Linz; Konzerthaus, Vienna; and at the Rheingau Musik Festival in Germany; in August the orchestra will play at a grand open-air concert in Berlin.
Sales to existing subscribers start on 20 May. Places in all the subscription series will be reserved for them until 14 June. From 10 June, the option to tailor your own season will become available, and tickets for individual concerts will be released for sale. This year, new subscribers can purchase their subscription on-line, from 20 May; they will be able to choose from seats that are not reserved for existing subscribers. We also start on-line sales of the “tailor your own season” option. Subscribers to the Janáček Theatre have their seats from the 61st season reserved until 14 June.
Kateřina Konečná, head of the PR and marketing department at the Brno Philharmonic
+420 775 426 040, firstname.lastname@example.org