Czech Philharmonic
Czech Philharmonic © Vadav JirasekOn Tour 31.01.19-08.02.19

  • Semyon Bychkov,
  • Jan Lisiecki

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Since its founding, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra has collaborated with distinguished artists and conductors. Antonín Dvořák conducted the orchestra in its inaugural performance at Prague’s Rudolfinum in 1896, thus setting the course for the ensemble’s international career. The Czech Philharmonic has appeared at the world’s most prestigious concert halls, among them the Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall in New York and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

The musicians of the Czech Philharmonic regard themselves as ambassadors for the music of their country. Their core repertoire ranges from Antonín Dvořák to Leoš Janáček to Bohuslav Martinů. The orchestra’s Chief Conductor was Jiří Bělohlávek from Autumn 2012 until his death in Spring 2017, who enjoyed an international reputation and knew and interpreted Czech repertoire like no one else.


Czech Philharmonic

The Czech Philharmonic, which celebrated its 120th anniversary last season, continues to delight audiences around the globe with its unique qualities, and to take its place amongst the world’s finest orchestras. At the helm of this great Czech cultural...

The Czech Philharmonic, which celebrated its 120th anniversary last season, continues to delight audiences around the globe with its unique qualities, and to take its place amongst the world’s finest orchestras. At the helm of this great Czech cultural institution is Chief Conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, who has led the orchestra on highly successful tours of the USA, China, Japan, Europe and the UK. The orchestra has received great acclaim for its recent Dvořák recordings for Decca.



The Czech Philharmonic has an illustrious heritage. Dvořák conducted the orchestra in its inaugural performance on 4 January 1896 at the Rudolfinum, the stunning venue on the banks of the Vltava which is still home to its Prague concerts, and now also the centre for its Orchestral Academy. The Academy is just one of numerous successful outreach projects, including competitions for soloists and composers, through which the Czech Philharmonic shares its passion and artistry with people of all ages and backgrounds, preparing the way for the next generation of both performers and audience alike.


Great conductors are a theme in the orchestra’s history. Gustav Mahler conducted the Czech Philharmonic for the world premiere of his Symphony No. 7 in Prague in 1908. The orchestra’s international reputation grew under the direction of Václav Talich, the energetic leadership of Rafael Kubelík helped steer the Czech Philharmonic through the difficult wartime years, and in the post-war era of Karel Ančerl it embarked on a busy touring schedule. Following a period of varied fortunes after the Velvet Revolution, today a rejuvenated Czech Philharmonic orchestra is heard at the most prestigious concert halls and festivals, including the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London, concerts at the Philharmonie in Berlin, a residency at the Musikverein in Vienna, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Carnegie Hall in New York and the NCPA in Beijing.


International appearances in the 2016/17 season include the Grafenegg and Rheingau festivals, opening the Beethovenfest Bonn, touring to China and Taiwan, further tours to the Benelux countries, to Germany and France, to Scandinavia and to South America.


The orchestra is privileged to work with the world’s finest soloists including Joshua Bell, Hélène Grimaud, Janine Jansen and Anne-Sophie Mutter. It also welcomes distinguished guest conductors, including recent and forthcoming collaborations with, among others, Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Jurowski, Fabio Luisi and Jaap van Zweden.


The Czech Philharmonic has an ongoing relationship with Decca and was recently joined by soloists Garrick Ohlsson, Frank Peter Zimmermann and Alisa Weilerstein to record Dvořák’s three concertos, under the baton of Jiří Bělohlávek, which were released in June 2014, together with the orchestra’s recent audio recordings of the composer’s nine symphonies. For release in autumn 2016 will be Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances with Jiří Bělohlávek, and future releases include key works of the Czech repertoire such as Smetana’s Má vlast, Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass and Suk’s Asrael. A recording of complete symphonies of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky with Semyon Bychkov alongside his ‘Beloved Friend’ project will also be released.


The orchestra’s reputation for performing the music of its homeland is peerless, and under Bělohlávek the Czech Philharmonic remains committed to its heritage and to bringing lesser-known Czech repertoire to international audiences. At the same time, the orchestra’s range is ever-expanding and the musicians bring their unique national sound and musicianship to repertoire encompassing the early Classical period through the Romantic period to contemporary composers.


The Czech Philharmonic has received numerous awards and nominations, including ten Grands Prix du Disque de l'Académie Charles-Cros, five Grand Prix du Disque de l'Académie française, several Cannes Classical Awards, a position in Gramophone’s Top 20 Best Orchestras in the World (2008), as well as nominations for Grammy and Gramophone Awards. A concert performance of Martinů’s What men live by was nominated for a 2015 International Opera Award.


The Czech Philharmonic has an ongoing co-collaboration with Unitel and Czech Television.  Nine programmes, each featuring a full performance of one of Dvořák’s symphonies, were shown by the national broadcaster in 2014, a new programme will feature Smetana’s Má vlast and all are available on DVD through Euroarts. The orchestra has also produced a documentary for Czech Television – in association with Rhombus Media – about Dvořák, Jiří Bělohlávek, and the current work of the Czech Philharmonic, directed by Barbara Willis Sweete.


SEASON 2016/2017

More about the Orchestra


© Chris Christodoulou

Semyon Bychkov

Currently we cannot provide an English biography.

Currently we cannot provide an English biography.

Artist's Website


© Mathias Bothor / DG

Jan Lisiecki, Piano

Just 22, Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki has won acclaim for his extraordinary interpretive maturity, distinctive sound, and poetic sensibility. The New York Times has called him “a pianist who makes every note count”. Lisiecki’s insightful interpretations,...

Just 22, Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki has won acclaim for his extraordinary interpretive maturity, distinctive sound, and poetic sensibility. The New York Times has called him “a pianist who makes every note count”. Lisiecki’s insightful interpretations, refined technique, and natural affinity for art give him a musical voice that belies his age.



Jan Lisiecki was born to Polish parents in Canada in 1995. He began piano lessons at the age of five and made his concerto debut four years later, while always rebuffing the label of "child prodigy”. His approach to music is a refreshing combination of dedication, skill, enthusiasm and a realistic perspective on the career of a musician. "I might be lucky to have talent, but it is also about dedication and hard work,” says Jan.


Lisiecki was brought to international attention in 2010, after the Fryderyk Chopin Institute issued a recording of Chopin’s piano concertos, performed live by Jan at age 13 and 14. BBC Music Magazine wrote of the “mature musicality” of his playing and commended the “sensitively distilled” insights of his Chopin interpretations; the release was awarded the prestigious Diapason Découverte. Confirming his status among the most imaginative and poetic pianists of his generation, Deutsche Grammophon signed an exclusive contract with Jan in 2011, when he was just 15 years old.

Lisiecki’s first recording for DG, released in 2012, features Mozart’s Piano Concertos K. 466 and 467. It was followed in 2013 by Chopin’s Etudes Op. 10 and 25, praised by Gramophone magazine for being “played as pure music, given as naturally as breathing”. His third album was released in January 2016 and features Schumann’s works for piano and orchestra, and as ClassicFM wrote, “he may be young but Jan Lisiecki plays Schumann like a legend”. In early 2017, Jan Lisiecki’s rendition of Chopin’s seldom performed works for piano and orchestra with NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and Krzysztof Urbański was published by Deutsche Grammophon.


Jan says his aim is to always perform in a way that carries forward the beauty and brilliance of the original work. He has demonstrated that he is capable of rendering compositions remarkably close to the way they were intended. “Going into a concert hall should be like going into a sanctuary. You’re there to have a moment of reflection, hopefully leaving feeling different, refreshed and inspired.”


In March 2013, Lisiecki substituted at short notice for Martha Argerich, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in Bologna with the Orchestra Mozart under Claudio Abbado. He crowned that season with a sensational account of Schumann’s Piano Concerto at the BBC Proms. The following year he performed three Mozart concertos in one week with the Philadelphia Orchestra, making his debuts as concerto soloist with the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala in Milan, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, and with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. The same season, Jan gave debut recitals at Wigmore Hall, Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and in San Francisco.

The pianist’s development has taken place in company with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Orchestre de Paris, New York Philharmonic, and BBC Symphony, at venues such as Suntory Hall, the Kennedy, Lincoln, and Barbican Centres, and Royal Albert Hall. Jan has cultivated relationships with prominent conductors including Sir Antonio Pappano, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Daniel Harding, and Pinchas Zukerman.


The remarkable 22-year-old musician made his debut in the main auditorium at New York’s Carnegie Hall in January 2016 with Philadelphia Orchestra. In its rave review, the New York Times noted that it was an “uncommonly sensitive performance”. Other significant dates in his 2015/16 schedule were performances with the Bamberger Symphoniker in Lucerne, subscription series debuts with the Cleveland Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and multiple tours, including one of Europe with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, which Jan lead from the piano.

In the 2016-17 season, Jan will perform extensively across the world. Highlights include a tour with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski and performing in the opening festival of the new Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.


Foremost radio and television networks in Europe and North America have extensively broadcast Lisiecki’s performances, he was also the subject of the CBC National News documentary The Reluctant Prodigy. In 2013 he received the Leonard Bernstein Award at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and was also named as Gramophone magazine’s Young Artist of the Year.


Jan is involved in charity work, donating his time and performance to such organizations as the David Foster Foundation, the Polish Humanitarian Organization and the Wish Upon a Star Foundation. In 2012 he was named UNICEF Ambassador to Canada having been a National Youth Representative since 2008.


“Jan Lisiecki. Remember the name.” - The Financial Times.


SEASON 2016/2017


Artist's Website

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