Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra unveils plans for the upcoming season

The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, photo: Petr Horník, ČRo

The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra (Symfonický orchestr Českého rozhlasu) has presented its program for the upcoming season. The opening premium concert will pay tribute to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic through symbolic compositions. Collaborations with a multitude of leading international musicians are planned throughout the season. Aside from performances in the Czech Republic, the orchestra will also be performing in Japan, Warsaw, Vienna and Dresden.

The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, photo: Petr Horník, ČRo

One of the most eminent Czech orchestra’s operating today, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra (PRSO) has been performing since 1952, with its annual concert seasons attracting large Czech and foreign audiences.

On Tuesday, with facemasks and all, the orchestra announced the plans for its upcoming 2020/2021 season in its main studio at Czech Radio.

Chief conductor Alexander Liebreich began by addressing the worldwide coronavirus pandemic and said that the orchestra plans to pay tribute to the shared global challenge in its opening performance.

This will take place in Prague’s Rudolfinum on September 25 and feature performances of Toshio Hosakawa’s Meditation to the victims of Tsunami (3.11) composed after the 2011 earthquake that resulted in the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident and Ludwig van Beethoven’s ninth symphony. The significance of choosing the latter piece is not only down to the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birthday, as Mr Liebreich explained.

Alexander Liebreich, photo: Sammy Hart/SOČR
“‘Seid umschlungen, Millionen! Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!’(Be embraced, Millions! This kiss to all the world!, from the Ode to Joy featured in Beethoven’s ninth symphony). This kiss to the whole world, that is so much what we are thinking about now. What is the whole global community, the global idea? This is so important to start with. I really hope this is possible, with this chorus being there. With hygienic rules in place it is very tricky of course, so I am keeping my fingers crossed we can do this.”

The concert programmes have been structured into four established series – Premium, which features all-star soloists, the traditional R series offering classical music performances in the Rudolfinum, the K series where fans of chamber music will be able to listen to top musicians performing in Prague’s St Agnes Convent and, finally, the New Horizons series, that includes unique projects.

Soloists performing in the Premium series include tenor Ian Bostridge, who will perform Socrate by Erik Satie P2 and Spanish cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras who will perform music by Joseph Haydn and Johan Strauss.

Among the soloists performing with the PRSO in the upcoming season in the Rudolfinum is harpsichord player Mahan Esfahani, who will be playing Francis Poulenc’s 1920s composition Concert champêtre.

Mahan Esfahani, photo: Pharos Arts Foundation, CC BY-SA 4.0
“It is wonderful to be playing the Poulenc, because it is one of the first modern pieces written for the harpsichord. Sadly it will be replacing the [originally planned recent performance of the recent composition by Miroslav] Srnka, which we will push towards a future season, but how nice that one of the latest pieces for the harpsichord will be replaced by one of the first modern pieces for the instrument. I think Prague audiences are in a special position to appreciate the wide range of the music.“

The New Horizons series will see the orchestra performing in many of Prague’s modern venues. On October 27, in the Forum Karlin, the PRSO will team up with eminent bass-baritone Adam Plachetka, who will be performing some of the most famous passages from Broadway musicals.

Jazz is also on the menu, with the PRSO teaming up with Czech and Scandinavian jazz musicians at Prague’s DOX Centre for Contemporary Art.

Those living abroad will get a chance to hear the orchestra during its Japan tour in October, or between February and June 2021, when the PRSO will be performing concerts in Vienna, Warsaw and Dresden.

For more information you can visit the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra website here: https://prso.czechradio.eu/