Semyon Bychkov Leads The Czech Philharmonic At Carnegie Hall In October

Semyon Bychkov Leads The Czech Philharmonic At Carnegie Hall In October

This fall the Czech Philharmonic embarks on an 11-concert tour of the U.S. led by the Orchestra's Chief Conductor and Music Director Semyon Bychkov, who was appointed in October 2017 following the unanimous invitation of the Orchestra's musicians. The first two concerts of the tour are in Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, marking the official beginning of Bychkov's tenure and showcasing the rich musical history and artistic influence of the Czech Republic.

The first concert on Saturday, October 27 at 8:00 p.m., presents an all-Dvorák program sharing the stage with cellist and long-time collaborator Alisa Weilerstein for a performance of Dvorák's Cello Concerto. The program also includes Dvorák's Symphony No. 7, and opens with a free pre-concert talk at 7:00 p.m. with Paul Berry, Adjunct Associate Professor of Music History at Yale University.

The following afternoon on Sunday, October 28 at 2:00 p.m. the Czech Philharmonic is joined by the Prague Philharmonic Choir along with soprano Christiane Karg and mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Kulman for a performance of Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony.

"The Czech Philharmonic is among the very few orchestras that have managed to preserve a unique identity," said Semyon Bychkov, Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic. "In a music world that is increasingly globalized and uniform, the Orchestra's noble tradition has retained authenticity of expression and sound, making it one of the world's artistic treasures. When the orchestra and Czech government asked me to succeed beloved Jir?í Be?lohlávek, I felt deeply honored by the trust they were ready to place in me. There is no greater privilege for an artist than to become part of and lead an institution that shares the same values, the same commitment, and the same devotion to the art of music."

About the Artists
In October 2018, Semyon Bychkov started his tenure as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic with a concert that celebrates 100 years of Czech Independence. During the course of the season, Maestro Bychkov and the Orchestra will celebrate the centenary with concerts in Prague, London, New York, and Washington; embark on extensive tours of the US and Germany; and present concerts in Vienna, Bruges, and Bratislava.

Born in St. Petersburg in 1952, Maestro Bychkov emigrated to the United States in 1975 and has been based in Europe since the mid-1980s. In common with the Czech Philharmonic, Maestro Bychkov has one foot firmly in the cultures both of the East and the West. Following his early concerts with the Orchestra in 2013, Maestro Bychkov devised The Tchaikovsky Project, a series of concerts, residencies and studio recordings which allowed them the luxury of exploring Tchaikovsky's music together, both in Prague's Rudolfinum and abroad.

By the time Maestro Bychkov returned to St. Petersburg in 1989 as the Philharmonic's Principal Guest Conductor, he had enjoyed success in the US as Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic. His international career, which began in France with Opéra de Lyon and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, took off with a series of high-profile cancellations which resulted in invitations to conduct the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras. In 1989, he was named Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris; in 1997, Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne; and the following year, Chief Conductor of the Dresden Semperoper.

On the concert platform, the combination of innate musicality and rigorous Russian pedagogy has ensured that Maestro Bychkov's performances are highly anticipated. In the UK, in addition to regular performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, his honorary titles at the Royal Academy of Music and Semyon Bychkov / Biography: 2 the BBC Symphony Orchestra - with whom he appears annually at the BBC Proms - reflect the warmth of the relationships. In Europe, he tours frequently with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, and Munich Philharmonic, and is an annual guest of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Orchestre National de France, and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; in the US, he can be heard with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, and the Chicago, Philadelphia, and Cleveland Orchestras. This season, in addition to his commitments with the Czech Philharmonic, Maestro Bychkov will conduct the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Berlin and Munich Philharmonics, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic.

The 122 year-old Czech Philharmonic gave its first concert - an all Dvorák program which included the world première of his Biblical Songs, Nos. 1-5 conducted by the composer himself - in the famed Rudolfinum Hall on January 4, 1896. Acknowledged for its definitive interpretations of Czech composers, whose music the Czech Philharmonic has championed since its formation, the Orchestra is also recognized for the special relationship it has to the music of Brahms and Tchaikovsky-friends of Dvorák -and to Mahler, who gave the world première of his Symphony No. 7 with the Orchestra in 1908.

The Czech Philharmonic's extraordinary and proud history reflects both its location at the very heart of Europe and the Czech Republic's turbulent political history, for which Smetana's Má vlast (My Homeland) has become a potent symbol. The Orchestra gave its first full rendition of Má vlast in a brewery in Smíchov in 1901; in 1925, under Chief Conductor Václav Talich, Má vlast was the Orchestra's first live broadcast and, five years later, the first work that the Orchestra committed to disc. During the Nazi occupation, when Goebbels demanded that the Orchestra perform in Berlin and Dresden, Talich programmed Má vlast as an act of defiance; while in 1945 Rafael Kubelík conducted the work as a 'concert of thanks' for the newly liberated Czechoslovakia. Forty-five years later, Má vlast was Kubelík's choice to mark Czechoslovakia's first free elections and, this year, Decca Classics released Jirí Belohlávek's recording of Má vlast made at the time of the 2014 Prague Spring Festival to mark the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovak independence.

The opening of the 'Centenary Season' is marked by Semyon Bychkov's first concerts as the Orchestra's Music Director and Chief Conductor. Opening his tenure with three performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection," the following concerts feature Berio's Sinfonia and Dvorák's Symphony No. 7. The celebrations continue with a single concert in London followed by an extensive 11-concert tour of the US and a week-long residency in Vienna, in addition to a European tour and further concerts in Prague.

Tickets, priced $37-$122, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.

Photo by Renske Vrolijk

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