Performance Sunday, November 16, 2014 | 2 PM

Czech Philharmonic

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
“… Unbounded lyricism and Czech melancholy emerged with the authenticity that only this orchestra can bring,” said The Guardian of the Czech Philharmonic. Conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek, the orchestra performs treasures from its homeland by Janáček and Dvořák. Also on the program, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet ignites fireworks in Liszt’s dazzling Piano Concerto No. 2.


  • Czech Philharmonic
    Jirí Belohlávek, Music Director and Chief Conductor
  • Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Piano


  • JANÁČEK Taras Bulba
  • LISZT Piano Concerto No. 2
  • DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 9, "From the New World"

  • Encores:
  • SCHUBERT Waltz in G-flat Major, "Kupelwieser-Walzer" (arr. R. Strauss)
  • SMETANA Overture from The Bartered Bride
  • NEDBAL Valse triste

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Czech Philharmonic

    The Czech Philharmonic is enjoying a renewed reputation as one of the most exciting ensembles on the world stage. The orchestra regularly performs with artists who include Hélène Grimaud, Lang Lang, Janine Jansen, and Anne-Sophie Mutter. In addition, Garrick Ohlsson, Frank Peter Zimmermann, and Alisa Weilerstein recorded Dvořák's complete symphonies and his three concertos with the Czech Philharmonic under Music Director andChief ConductorJiří Bělohlávek, released in June 2014 by Decca Classics.

    Dvořák himself conducted the orchestra in its debut performance in 1896 at the Rudolfinum in Prague, which is still home to its Prague concerts and is the center for the Orchestral Academy of the Czech Philharmonic. The academy is just one of many education projects through which the Czech Philharmonic engages with new audiences.

    In 2015, the Czech Philharmonic will perform in the world's most prestigious concert halls, including the
    Philharmonie in Berlin and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, as well as the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing and Vienna's Musikverein.Festival appearances in 2014 include the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival. With Mr.Bělohlávek as its music director and chief conductor, the orchestra has undertaken successful tours in Australia, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, and the UK.

    The Czech Philharmonic welcomes many distinguished guest conductors, including Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Jurowski, and David Zinman.

    The Czech Philharmonic has made nine television programs, each of which features one of Dvořák's nine symphonies, and has produced a Czech television documentary about Dvořák, Bělohlávek, and the current work of the orchestra. The documentary, titled Sketches of Dvořák, had its premiere in September 2014.

    ří Bělohlávek

    Jiří Bělohlávek was born in Prague in 1946. He began studying cello and conducting at a young age and was invited to become assistant conductor to Sergiu Celibidache in 1968.

    In 1977, Mr. Bělohlávek took the post of chief conductor for the Prague Symphony Orchestra, a position he held until 1990, when he was appointed chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. After serving as principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra between 1995 and 2000, Mr. Bělohlávek was appointed its chief conductor in 2006. Since 2012, he has again held the post of chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic.

    Mr. Bělohlávek has also regularly conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and San Francisco Symphony, among others. He was recently appointed principal guest conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

    He has also worked in the world of opera throughout his career. Recent and forthcoming highlights include new productions of Dvořák's Rusalka at the Vienna State Opera (2014) and Janáček's Jenůfa at the San Francisco Opera (2016).

    Mr. Bělohlávek has an extensive discography, including a complete Dvořák symphony cycle recently released by Decca Classics, and he is the first conductor since Herbert von Karajan to receive the Gramophone Award for Orchestral Recording two years running. In 2012, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Mr. Bělohlávek an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to music.


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  • Jean-Yves Thibaudet

    Jean-Yves Thibaudet, considered one of the best pianists in the world, has the rare ability to combine poetic musical sensibilities with dazzling technical prowess. Mr. Thibaudet, who has performed around the world for more than 30 years and recorded more than 50 albums, has a depth and natural charisma that has made him one of the most sought-after soloists by today's foremost orchestras, conductors, and festivals. In 2010, the Hollywood Bowl honored Mr. Thibaudet for his musical achievements by inducting him into its hall of fame.

    His recordings have been nominated for two Grammy Awards and have won many prizes, including the Schallplattenpreis, the Diapason d'Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, a Gramophone Award, two ECHO Awards, and an Edison Award. In 2010, Mr. Thibaudet released his latest CD, Gershwin, which features jazz big-band orchestrations of Rhapsody in Blue, Variations on "I Got Rhythm," and the Concerto in F live with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Marin Alsop.

    Mr. Thibaudet was the soloist on the Oscar- and Golden Globe-award winning soundtrack to Atonement and the Oscar-nominated soundtrack to Pride and Prejudice. In 2012, Mr. Thibaudet recorded the soundtrack for the film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,composed by Alexandre Desplat. Known for his style and elegance, Mr. Thibaudet wears a concert wardrobe designed by Vivienne Westwood. Previously a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Mr. Thibaudet was awarded the title of Officier by the French Ministry of Culture in 2012.


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Janácek's Taras Bulba (Death of Ostap)
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra | Jiri Belohlávek, Conductor

At a Glance

This concert presents three colorful and innovative works from the Czech and Hungarian repertory. Since its epoch-making world premiere at Carnegie Hall in 1893, Antonín Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony has become America’s most popular symphony and a breakthrough in the acceptance of African-American spirituals as significant art—yet it also spawned contentious racial and aesthetic controversies, some of which continue to this day. Leoš Janáček, who was deeply influenced by Dvořák, is represented in Taras Bulba, a spectacular orchestral rhapsody full of the composer’s soaring melodies and jagged theatricalities. Like Dvořák in his fascination with America, Janáček was a Czech composer greatly taken with another culture: Russia and its literature. In the middle of the concert is Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major, the more harmonically and structurally adventurous of his two piano concertos. Both Taras Bulba and the “New World” Symphony use a version of the thematic transformation technique that Liszt pioneered in this daring work.
Program Notes
This performance is part of International Festival of Orchestras I.