Czech Philharmonic

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Czech Philharmonic
Czech Philharmonic.svg
Concert hallRudolfinum
Principal conductorSemyon Bychkov
The Czech Philharmonic in Kobe, Japan

The Česká filharmonie (Czech Philharmonic) is a symphony orchestra based in Prague.[1] Chief conductor and music director is Semyon Bychkov. The orchestra is ranked among the best in the world for its particular sound. The orchestra's principal concert venue is the Rudolfinum.


The name "Czech Philharmonic Orchestra" appeared for the first time in 1894, as the title of the orchestra of the Prague National Theatre.[1] 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 Ludvík Čelanský, the first artistic director of the orchestra.[1] In 1908, Gustav Mahler led the orchestra in the world premiere of his Symphony No. 7. The orchestra first became internationally known during the principal conductorship of Václav Talich, who held the post from 1919 to 1931, and again from 1933 to 1941. In 1941, Talich and the orchestra made a controversial journey to Germany, where they performed Bedřich Smetana's My Country in a concert enforced by the German offices.[1]

Subsequent chief conductors included Rafael Kubelík (1942–1948), Karel Ančerl (1950–1968), Václav Neumann (1968–1989), Jiří Bělohlávek (1990–1992), Gerd Albrecht (1993–1996), Vladimir Ashkenazy (1996–2003), Zdeněk Mácal (2003–2007),[2] and Eliahu Inbal (2009–2012). In the wake of the Velvet Revolution, under new conditions of financial insecurity, 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.[3] In December 2010, the orchestra announced the reappointment of Bělohlávek as chief conductor, beginning in 2012,[4] with an initial contract of 4 years.[5] In January 2017, the orchestra announced the extension of Bělohlávek's contract through the 2021–2022 season.[6] Bělohlávek continued to serve as the orchestra's chief conductor until his death on 31 May 2017.[7]

In 2009, the orchestra performed the score for the film, The Final Destination, composed and conducted by Brian Tyler.

In 2013, Semyon Bychkov first guest-conducted the orchestra, which subsequently named him director of its Tchaikovsky Project. In October 2017, the orchestra announced the appointment of Bychkov as its next chief conductor and music director, effective with the 2018–2019 season.[8]

Past principal guest conductors of the orchestra have included Sir Charles Mackerras and Manfred Honeck. Jakub Hrůša is the orchestra's current 'permanent guest conductor', as of the 2015–2016 season. In October 2017, the orchestra announced the appointments of Hrůša and of Tomáš Netopil as joint principal guest conductors of the orchestra, effective with the 2018–2019 season.[8]

The Czech Philharmonic's first phonograph recording dates from 1929, when Václav Talich recorded My Country for His Master's Voice. It recorded on the Supraphon label during the Soviet era.

The official English name changed from Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to Czech Philharmonic at the beginning of 2015.

Honours and awards[edit]

Programme including Antonín Dvořák's Piano Concerto in G minor op.33, Czech Philharmonic conducted by Václav Talich

Chief conductors[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Černušák, Gracián; Štědroň, Bohumír; Nováček, Zdenko, eds. (1963). Československý hudební slovník I. A-L (in Czech). Prague: Státní hudební vydavatelství. p. 203.
  2. ^ Matthew Westphal (2007-09-11). "Angry Over Bad Review, Conductor Zdenek Mácal Abruptly Quits Czech Philharmonic". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
  3. ^ John Rockwell (1992-12-30). "Czech Philharmonic Faces Perilous Times In Dividing Country". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  4. ^ "Šéfdirigentem České filharmonie bude Jiří Bělohlávek". ČTK (in Czech). České Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Bělohlávek to become Czech Philharmonic's chief conductor in 2012". Prague Daily Monitor. 2010-12-23. Retrieved 2012-03-24.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Daniel Konrád (2017-01-01). "Šéfdirigent Bělohlávek prodloužil smlouvu, Českou filharmonii povede do roku 2022". Hospodářské Noviny. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  7. ^ David Nice (2017-06-01). "Jiří Bělohlávek obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  8. ^ a b Martin Cullingford (2017-10-16). "Semyon Bychkov to take top job at Czech Philharmonic". Gramophone. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  9. ^ "The world's greatest orchestras". Gramophone. London. 2008.


  • Karel Mlejnek (1996). Česká filharmonie (in Czech). Prague: Paseka.
  • Vladimír Šefl (1971). Česká filharmonie (in Czech). Prague: Czech Philharmonic.
  • Václav Holzknecht. Česká filharmonie. Příběh orchestru (in Czech). Prague: SHN.

External links[edit]