Bedřich Smetana - Šárka (My Country, Prague Spring 2011)


Bedřich Smetana: Šárka Cyklus symfonických básní Má vlast/My Country, cycle of symphonic poems Symfonický orchestr Pražské konzervatoře/Prague Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra řídí/conducted Jiří Bělohlávek Pražské jaro/Prague Spring 2011 Zahajovací koncert/Opening Concert (12/05/2011) Smetanova síň Obecního domu v Praze/Municipal House -- Smetana Hall, Prague The Prague Spring Festival was held for the first time in 1946 in honour of the 50th anniversary of establishment of theCzech Philharmonic and 12th May was chosen as the opening date for the festival as the date of death of Bedřich Smetana, a national classic music composer. Establishment of the festival was the culmination of long-term efforts (nearly 70 years) by the Prague music community to hold an annual music event with participation by first-class soloists and leading orchestras from around the world. Since 1952 the festival has been launched by a performance of the symphonic poem Má vlast by Bedřich Smetana and closed by a performance of An Ode to Joy by Ludwig van Beethoven. World class artists who have performed on the Prague festival's podiums include Lorin Maazel, Herbert von Karajan, Mstislav Rostropovič, Sir Colin Davis, Maurice André, Leonid Kogan, Paul Klecki, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Alfred Brendel, Heinrich Schiff, Leopold Stokowski, Arthur Honegger, Artur Rubinstein and David Oistrach. Czech artists include Karel Ančerl, Rudolf Firkušný, Jaroslav Krombholc, Rafael Kubelík, Jarmila Novotná, Václav Hudeček, Dagmar Pecková and many others. This year, the 66th Prague Spring International Music Festival offers a total of 43 concerts and 7 opera performances. The programme includes the Berliner Philharmoniker under Sir Simon Rattle, the New York Philharmonic with Lisa Batiashvili, violinist, the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, famous baritone Thomas Quasthoff, and actor John Malkovich. The Prague Conservatory ranks among the oldest music schools of this type in Europe. It was founded in 1808 to provide education to orchestral musicians. The first school year began on 24th of April 1811. Concerts of the orchestra and help of the pupils in the professional orchestras were irreplaceable for Prague above all. Honourable mention of the concerts came for example from C.M. Weber, R.Wagner, H.Berlioz and F.Liszt. In 1891, Antonín Dvořák started teaching at the conservatory, first as a composition teacher and later on, from 1901 to 1904 as the headmaster. He educated a whole ensemble of prominent composers, including Josef Suk, Vítězslav Novák, but also operetta composers Oskar Nedbal and Franz Lehár. Come to that, there were a lot of famous persons educated at the Prague Conservatory: Otakar Ševčík, Jan Kubelík, Jaroslav Kocian, Václav Talich, Karel Ančerl, Rafael Kubelík, Bohuslav Martinů, Alois Hába and many others.

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