Joshua Bell helps Czech Philharmonic launch 121st season
The Czech Philharmonic launched its new season on Thursday night with a concert at Prague’s Rudolfinum featuring the world-renowned US violinist Joshua Bell, who performed Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. The orchestra, which is to perform the same concert again on Friday, has also marked the new season – its 121st – with the release of two special albums. I spoke with the head of Czech Philharmonic, David Mareček, about the plans for the upcoming season, but I started by asking how the cooperation with Joshua Bell came about:
What else was on the programme on the opening night?
“The second half was the Song of the Earth or Das Lied von der Erde by Gustav Mahler, a big vocal symphony with two soloists, a tenor and a mezzosoprano alto. It is a huge, one-hour piece based on Chinese poetry translated to German and it is one of Mahler’s masterpieces.”
As far as I know you have also launched two CDs to mark the new season.
“The other CD is Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony with Romeo and Juliet and this is conducted by Semyon Bychkov. It also marks a new project, the recording of complete Tchaikovsky's Symphonies three piano concertos and also some smaller pieces, all of them with Semyon Bychkov.”
What are your plans for the new season and how many events have you planned?
“Well there is a normal number with subscription concerts with some interesting projects such as Messien’s Turangalila Symphony with David Robertson, a distinguished US conductor, the Epic of Gilgamesh with Jiří Bělohlávek, Symphony Fantastique by Berlioz with Jakub Hrůša.
“Apart from that we will of course go on tours. The most important is the Asia tour that will lead us mainly to China to Beijing, Shanghai and other cities this autumn. In December we will go to Germany to perform in some big German cities such as Munich, Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Koln.”
What would you say are the biggest challenges the Czech Philharmonic is facing in the near future?
“This is something we want to achieve through digital media. On the other hand to represent the country abroad and last but not least to raise the biggest Czech talents who can later become members of the Czech Philharmonic.”