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The Association of Symphony Orchestras and Choirs of the Czech Republic

Prague Philharmonia

The PKF – Prague Philharmonia, originally named Prague Philharmonia, was founded in 1994 upon the initiative of the world-famous conductor Jiří Bělohlávek with the aim to bring into the Czech, as well as global musical milieu a breath of fresh air in the form of contagious élan and a desire for superlative performance of every single detail of the score.

Soon after its origination, the PKF – Prague Philharmonia had joined the ranks of the most respected Czech orchestras and established great renown in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

In its “manifesto”, the orchestra highlighted vigour, energy and perfectionism, as well as the tremendous love of music it imbues with each and every concert.

The PKF – Prague Philharmonia is cherished for its characteristic sound, which is determined in large part by its key repertoire focus: Viennese Classicism, pieces by Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. This sphere is the ensemble’s major domain, the one in which it primarily excels. The spirit of the art dating from this historical era perfectly reflects in the PKF – Prague Philharmonia’s credo: playing with crystal clear purity and straightforward, sparkling passion so as to make sure that every listener, whatever the age or profession, understands every detail of the music performed and returns home from its concerts full of joie de vivre. The art presented by the PKF – Prague Philharmonia is both exceptional and accessible to everyone.

The repertoire also includes Romantic compositions, as well as modern and contemporary music, performed within a special concert series unique among the menus of Czech orchestras.

Since the start of the 2008–09 season, the orchestra has been headed by the chief conductor and artistic director Jakub Hrůša, who at a mere 32 years of age already enjoys great international renown. The ensemble’s founder, the globally celebrated Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, was at its helm until 2005, when he was named the orchestra’s conductor laureate. From 2005 to 2008, the deputy principal conductor of the PKF – Prague Philharmoniawas the Swiss conductor and flautist Kaspar Zehnder.

The PKF – Prague Philharmonia is a regular guest at international music festivals, frequently performs at prestigious world concert halls and is a regular partner of world-famous conductors and soloists including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Milan Turković, Jefim Bronfman, András Schiff, Shlomo Mintz, Sarah Chang, Isabelle Faust, Mischa Maisky, Magdalena Kožená, Anna Netrebko, Natalie Dessay, Rolando Villazón, Plácido Domingo, Elina Garanča, Juan Diego Flórez, Radek Baborák and many others.

The orchestra has to date recorded more than 60 CDs for prominent Czech and foreign labels, including Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, Supraphon, EMI, Warner Music and Harmonia Mundi. Some of its albums have received such prestigious accolades as the RAC Canada Gold Disc (2000), the Harmonie Award (2001) and the Diapason d’Or (September 2007).

The guest artists featured on the PKF – Prague Philharmonia’s recordings include Anna Netrebko, Eva Urbanová, Magdalena Kožená, Isabelle Faust, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Iva Bittová, Peter Dvorský, Dagmar Pecková, etc. The most critically acclaimed album is the live recording of the orchestra’s performance of Smetana’s My Country at Prague Spring 2010, conducted by Jakub Hrůša.

When it comes to music education, the PKF – Prague Philharmonia nurtures the talent of young musicians through its Orchestral Academy project. It enriches their practical experience of playing in an orchestra, thus boosting their competitiveness on the music market. Moreover, it is the first orchestra in the Czech Republic to have begun giving special concerts for children and parents. Owing to its conception, the programme does not come across as dryly educational but acquaints children with classical music in a highly entertaining form.

In addition to concert series for children, the PKF – Prague Philharmonia also holds performances for schools. The past season’s novelty is concerts for schools with English commentary, also unique in the Czech Republic. The programmes for children include the Notička club, which strives to enhance children’s aesthetic faculties and extend the possibilities of their leisure time activities.

The PKF – Prague Philharmonia is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the City of Prague.

managing director: Kateřina Kalistová
Kulturní dům Ládví, Burešova 1661/2, Praha 8, tel.: +420 224 232 488

© 2012 The Association of Symphony Orchestras and Choirs of the Czech Republic (Actualised 21/11/2013)
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