Czech Philharmonic

Czech PhilharmonicThe name “Czech Philharmonic Orchestra” appeared for the first time in 1894, as the title of the orchestra of the Prague National Theatre. It played its first concert under its current name on January 4, 1896 when Antonín Dvořák conducted his own compositions, but it did not become fully independent from the opera until 1901. The first representative concert took place on October 15, 1901 conducted by Ludvik Celansky, the first artistic director of the orchestra. In 1908, Gustav Mahler led the orchestra in the world premiere of his Symphony No. 7. The orchestra first became internationally known under the baton of Vaclav Talich, who was principal conductor from 1919 to 1931, and again from 1933 to 1941. In 1941 Talich together with Czech Philharmonic made a controversial journey to Germany, where they performed the cycle of symphonic poems My Country by Bedřich Smetana. The concert was enforced by the German offices.

Subsequent chief conductors included Rafael Kubelík (1942–1948), Karel Ancerl (1950–1968), Vaclav Neumann (1968–1989), Jiri Belohlavek (1990–1992), Gerd Albrecht (1993–1996), Vladimir Ashkenazy (1996–2003), and Zdeněk Mácal (2003–2007). In the wake of the Velvet Revolution, the orchestra reorganised in 1991 and controversially voted to appoint Gerd Albrecht its new chief conductor and to dismiss Bělohlávek. Instead of remaining until Albrecht’s accession, Bělohlávek resigned from the orchestra in 1992. The orchestra’s current chief conductor is Eliahu Inbal, since the 2009-2010 season. He is scheduled to conclude his tenure after the 2011-2012 season. In December 2010, the orchestra announced the reappointment of Bělohlávek as chief conductor, in 2012, with an initial contract of 4 years.

Past principal guest conductors of the orchestra have included Sir Charles Mackerras. Manfred Honeck is the orchestra’s current principal guest conductor.

The Czech Philharmonic’s first phonograph recording dates from 1929, when Vaclav Talich recorded the Smetana´s My Country for His Master’s Voice.


Czech Philharmonic – Wikipedia