Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

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About Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

More than most orchestras, the Czech Philharmonic has been buffeted by the changing political and economic fortunes of its native country. From the outset, though, its artistic credentials were high. The orchestra’s first concert in 1896 was conducted by the great Czech composer Antonin Dvořák, and in 1908 Gustav Mahler led it in the premiere of his Seventh Symphony. The key figure in the Philharmonic’s development was, however, Czech conductor Václav Talich. From the founding of the Czech Republic in 1918, Talich’s 22 years as chief conductor raised the orchestra to international prominence, developing its trademark blend of burnished tone and vibrant rhythmic flexibility. World War Two brought predictable upheaval, the Philharmonic at one point being forced to play in Germany by the Nazi authorities. Another outstanding Czech conductor, Rafael Kubelík, led the Philharmonic through the immediate postwar period, before defecting in 1948 following the Communist takeover of the government. The Velvet Revolution restored democracy in 1989, since when the Philharmonic has gradually rebuilt its financial and artistic position. The Russian-born Semyon Bychkov became chief conductor in 2018: his acclaimed recordings of symphonies by Tchaikovsky and Mahler have confirmed the Czech Philharmonic’s status as one of the world’s leading orchestras.

Prague, Czech Republic
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