Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek founded the Prague Philharmonia in 1993. With violinist Ivan Ženatý, he performs Antonín Dvořák's Romance for violin and orchestra.
Born into a humble family settled in Nelahozeves, a village near Prague, Antonín Dvořák left school at the age of 11 to learn his father's trades, butcher and innkeeper. Thankfully, Antonín's precocious musical gifts are quickly noticed, and the young boy is sent to study at his uncles's plance in Zlonice, then to Prague from 1857 onwards. Playing the viola in the Prager Kappelle's orchestra, Dvořák familiarized himself with the classical and contemporary masterworks. Enjoying a well-established reputation from his peers and the internation audience, Dvořák is in his lifetime a Major figure on the musical scene. Invited in Germanay, in France, in the United Kingdom and in the United States, Dvořák eventually went back to his homeland to manage the Conservatory of Pragua. Dvořák, who died in 1904, left a considerable oeuvre which has ever since been performed on the stages worldwide.
Ivan Ženatý began his professional career with his participation in the finale of the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, followed by his debut with the Czech Philharmonic and Libor Pesek and his first prize at the Prague Spring Competition. He earned the title of laureate at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Young Performers (1989). In 1990, Mr. Ivan Ženatý made his debut in London, in 1991 at the Berliner Philharmonie and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, in 1994 in Tokyo and in 1996 in New York and Buenos Aires. Nowadays, he appears repeatedly as a guest artist with such prestigious ensembles as BBC Symphony Orchestra of London, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Berliner Symphoniker, as well as with all of the orchestras in his homeland, in prior with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Symphony Orchestra and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra.
As far as the Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek is concerned, he is one of the most sought after conductors of our times. He became chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic in 1990, before teaching the art of conducting at the Prague Academy of Music. He has also been named chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and is currently chairman of the Prague Spring International Music Festival.
Dvořák's Romance for violin and orchestra, Op. 11 was written in 1875. If it is one of the composer's least known works, it is nonetheless one of the most poignant.
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