Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra
About Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra
The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (in Czech, the Moravská Filharmonie Olomouc) has been an important presence on the Czech music scene since its formation in 1945, attracting a range of international collaborators. With specialties in Czech and Viennese repertory, the orchestra has also premiered some 250 new works.
The Moravian Philharmonic was founded in 1945 in the city of Olomouc, shortly after it was liberated from German control. Director Dalibor Doubek assembled the group from musicians who had been active in the city previously, as conditions permitted. The orchestra played its first concert on May 26, 1945, performing the symphonic poem Ma Vlast (My Country) of Bedřich Smetana. By the end of the 1946 season, the orchestra had 52 members and was well established. Otto Klemperer and Václav Neumann each conducted the group in its early years, and in 1950, it performed for the first time at the newly established Prague Spring Festival. Collaborators included violinists David Oistrakh and Yehudi Menuhin and pianist Sviatoslav Richter. The orchestra toured Poland in 1958 and made its first visit to western Europe the following year, playing a series of Beethoven programs in Italy. The orchestra expanded further under its second conductor, Zdeněk Mácal, who established a new associated chamber orchestra in the mid-1960s. Later conductors included Petr Vronsky and, since 2018, Jakub Klecker. The Moravian Philharmonic organizes the city's International Organ Festival (which began in 1969) and an Olomouc Dvořák Festival. At home, the group performs at Olomouc's Moravian Theater.
The Moravian Philharmonic made its first album, including works by Bohuslav Martinů and Iša Krejčí, in 1979, and it has gone on to amass a substantial catalog. Around the turn of the century, the orchestra recorded for a variety of small labels, including MMC, Zimbel, and Thorofon. Since 2009, the Philharmonic has been primarily associated with Navona Records, where it has recorded a variety of Western contemporary repertory. The orchestra moved to the Naxos label in 2020 for the first in a series of recordings of Vítězslav Novák's orchestral works. An album of overtures by opera composer Daniel-François-Esprit Auber followed in 2021. ~ James Manheim