PKF — Prague Philharmonia's 30th Season to Connect Czech Music with Top International Performers

PKF – Prague Philharmonia announces the program for the 2023/2024 season

This season's exceptional program celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the orchestra by conductor Jiří Bělohlávek. The main orchestral series A will offer music aficionados nine concerts, with five conducted by Chief Conductor and Music Director Emmanuel Villaume, featuring young performers who represent the absolute pinnacle of global artistic talent. The orchestra will once again present concerts in chamber and contemporary music series, as well as children's concerts. The exclusive Lobkowicz subscription donor series will commence on April 25th.

"This season is truly exceptional for PKF – Prague Philharmonia, and such an occasion calls for an extraordinary program: festive, representative, replete with works in which PKF shines and that carry a deeper significance for the ensemble," says Chief Conductor Emmanuel Villaume, who has been with the orchestra since 2015. "Moreover, the new season will bring together a plethora of young, top-notch artists, which personally delights me," Villaume adds.

"When we speak of the phenomenon of Czech music, we usually have in mind Smetana, Dvořák, Janáček, or Martinů. However, throughout history, there have always been many other fascinating composers living and creating in the Czech lands," says the orchestra's director, Kateřina Kalistová.

In the 30th season of PKF – Prague Philharmonia, in addition to Antonín Dvořák, Josef Suk, Bedřich Smetana, and Leoš Janáček, audiences will also have the opportunity to listen to Vítězslava Kaprálová, Václav Pichl, Iša Krejčí, and Václav Jindřich Veit.


Orchestral Cycle A

The Concert Series A is the flagship of PKF – Prague Philharmonia's performance activities, showcasing the orchestra's finest repertoire in top-notch interpretative quality at the Rudolfinum. The exclusive nature of this series is evident from the list of artists whom the audience will have the opportunity to encounter in the concerts.

The opening night on September 6, 2023, will feature Dvořák enthusiast and cellist Jan Vogler, who recorded an acclaimed album of Dvořák's chamber works last year and whose "soulful and richly colored playing" was praised by The New York Times. Vogler will perform Dvořák's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in B minor, conducted by the orchestra's Chief Conductor and Music Director, Emmanuel Villaume.

The orchestra's rendition of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major will hold particular significance, as it was performed at the first public concert of our orchestra in 1994. Principal players of PKF — Prague Philharmonia will take on the solo parts, with bassoonist Tomáš Františ, who performed as a soloist at the aforementioned premiere concert. Swiss-born Peruvian conductor Christoph-Mathias Mueller, recipient of the prestigious 2020 OPUS Klassik Award, will be at the helm.

The autumn concert on November 14, 2023, will feature star Israeli violinist of Ukrainian origin, Vadim Gluzman, who regularly performs with world-renowned orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Chicago Symphony. Gluzman, a Diapason d'Or recipient, will perform Szymanowski's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 2 for the Prague audience. Mykola Diadura, one of the most prominent Ukrainian artists of today, will conduct.

The fourth concert on December 3, 2023, will introduce the audience to the work of neoclassical composer Iša Krejčí. Although not unfamiliar to the Czech audience, his compositions have not been performed systematically. Krejčí's talent and wit in handling 18th-century inspirations earned him the affectionate nickname "Mozartino" in Prague's music circles. The concert will also feature Lucienne Renaudin Vary, a 24-year-old "miracle trumpeter" representing the emerging generation of musicians, and the almost-forgotten composer Václav Jindřich Veit. In 2021, Lucienne Renaudin Vary was selected among the top 30 musicians under 30 worldwide (announced by British Classic FM). Emmanuel Villaume, the Chief Conductor and Music Director, will conduct.

PKF – Prague Philharmonia has invited the Prague Philharmonic Choir to join its new season, performing Cherubini's Requiem in C minor under the direction of Chief Conductor and Music Director Emmanuel Villaume on January 14, 2024.

In the spring, two violin legends, Midori and Anne Akiko Meyers, will perform at the Rudolfinum. Midori, an extraordinary artist and recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, will perform Dvořák's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A major on March 4, 2024, using the rare 1734 Guarneri "ex-Huberman" violin. Eugene Tzigane will conduct.

On April 8, 2024, Anne Akiko Meyers, an American violinist with over 40 recordings to her credit, will grace the stage. Recently, she premiered Arturo Márquez's Fandango with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In Prague, she will perform Philip Glass's Violin Concerto No. 1 and Dvořák's Romance for Violin and Orchestra in F minor. Chief Conductor and Music Director Emmanuel Villaume will lead the orchestra.

On May 11, 2024, the PKF – Prague Philharmonia will perform two contrasting compositions for solo saxophone and orchestra. The melancholic, melodious Ballade by Swiss 20th-century composer Frank Martin will showcase the saxophone as a soulful, expressive instrument. In contrast, Darius Milhaud's sparkling Scaramouche, a member of the neoclassical Parisian Six, will emphasize the virtuosic dimension of the saxophone. Valentine Michaud, who made history as the first saxophonist to perform with the Vienna Philharmonic, will take on the solos in both pieces. The concert will be conducted by the rising star of the conducting world, Oscar Jockel, winner of the Berlin Philharmonic's Conducting Competition in 2021, recipient of the Herbert von Karajan Prize for 2023, and assistant chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.

The season's finale on June 15, 2024, will feature young American pianist George Li, a silver medalist of the Tchaikovsky Competition, performing Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1. Chief Conductor and Music Director Emmanuel Villaume will lead the orchestra.

The season, comprised of nine concerts at the Rudolfinum, will span from September 6, 2023, to June 15, 2024. Ticket prices will remain unchanged from the current season, ranging from 200 CZK for standing room to 1,300 CZK for the best seated locations. Subscriptions for the entire concert series can be purchased for 2,700 CZK to 5,500 CZK.

PKF — Lobkowicz Subscription

The Lobkowicz Subscription is an exclusive donor series held in the enchanting surroundings of the Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle. Four unique concerts will host American pianist Andrew von Oeyen, Romanian-Moldavian violinist Alexandra Tirsu, and American tenor Matthew Newlin. Before the summer break, the orchestra will traditionally be led by Chief Conductor Emmanuel Villaume, who has invited French harpist Emmanuel Ceysson for collaboration. The first concert of the Lobkowicz Subscription next year will feature young Turkish cellist Jamal Aliyev, who made his solo debut at the BBC Proms in 2017 and was included in the selection of the top 30 musicians under 30 in the world in 2021 by British Classic FM.

The price of a single concert ticket is 10,000 CZK, while the transferable subscription for four concerts is 28,000 CZK. The first concert will take place on April 25, 2023.

Chamber Series K

The ten-part chamber series, curated by Martina Sermain, is imbued with the spirit of celebration for the 30th anniversary of PKF – Prague Philharmonia. The theme of this series revolves around Czech music and the anniversaries of renowned Czech composers such as Bedřich Smetana, Leoš Janáček, Josef Suk, Antonín Dvořák, Pavel Haas, Rafael Kubelík, Václav Jindřich Veit, Pavel Josef Vejvanovský, and Lukáš Matoušek.

The February concert is dedicated to the Czech composer Jan Novák and will be graced by the presence of his descendants, Dora and Clara Nováková. The chamber series will also feature specially crafted works by contemporary Czech authors for individual chamber ensembles. The season will commence on September 25 with the Belfiato Quintet joined by distinguished guest tenor Petr Nekoranec. The series will conclude on June 10 with the Smetana Trio accompanied by clarinetist Jan Brabec. In this jubilant season, we will welcome, among others, the Bennewitz Quartet featuring concertmaster, cellist Lukáš Pospíšil, and violist Karel Untermüller. The Trio Incendio with violist Stanislav Svoboda, the brass ensemble Czech Brass, Sedláček Quartet with guest Jakub Fišer, and many more have also accepted the invitation. The series will once again take place in the pleasant atmosphere of the baroque refectory of the Conference and Social Centre Profesní dům ("House of the Professed").

Subscription prices are 3000 CZK for adults and 2300 CZK for seniors. Individual tickets can be purchased for 350-500 CZK, with discounted prices of 400 CZK for seniors and 100 CZK for students and children up to 15 years of age.

Contemporary Music Cycle S

The contemporary music series, curated by Hana Dohnálková, moves to the Švandovo Theatre Studio as part of the celebrations for the jubilant 30th season – the same location where the series began in the 2004/2005 season. The series offers a set of six concerts with exceptional programming and guests, featuring contemporary Czech composers from the current generation, except for one evening, which will showcase a duo of prominent Slovak composers. The musical works will be performed by members of the PKF – Prague Philharmonia and their esteemed guests, including oboist Vilém Veverka and harpist Kateřina Englichová.

Subscription prices are 1500 CZK for adults and 1000 CZK for seniors. Individual tickets can be purchased for 400 CZK, with discounted prices of 300 CZK for seniors and 100 CZK for students and children up to 15 years of age.

Children's Concerts D/E

PKF – Prague Philharmonia believes that nurturing a love for music can begin at an early age, and therefore, it actively engages in the musical education of children. As the first orchestra in the Czech Republic, PKF began organizing concerts for children and parents back in 1999.

In the new season, the orchestra intends to show its young concert-goers that through music and imagination, they can travel with their eyes closed to far-flung corners of the world and the kaleidoscope of colorful distances in the universe. If they listen attentively, the luminous path of music can lead them to the heart of happiness. The first of the four concerts will feature compositions evoking natural phenomena, while the second concert will take us to the lands of Europe and America. Subsequently, we will embark on the wings of imagination to explore other realms, and finally, we will witness how music uniquely leads to joy and reconciliation in life.

The director of these concerts for the second season is Jiří Adámek Austerlitz, with actors Magdalena Borová and Daniel Šváb serving as guides.

Subscription prices remain the same – for adults, it ranges from 750 CZK to 1100 CZK, and for children, it varies from 550 CZK to 800 CZK.

Partners and Supporters

Komerční banka continues to be the general partner of the orchestra in the upcoming season, with Hyundai as the main partner and the investment group RSBC as the patron of the orchestra. The company Ad-ventures Invest is the partner for the orchestral series A. Česká televize serves as the orchestra's general media partner, with Hospodářské noviny as the main media partner. The City of Prague contributes 11 million CZK to the activities of PKF – Prague Philharmonia in 2023, which is also supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.