Concertino Praga 2021 - Final Competition Round in Concert, Solo Category
Outstanding concert artists are not just virtuoso technicians, able to master any score. They must also be resistant to the stress that accompanies every performance; they must keep their adrenaline and nerves under control, and they should certainly also radiate an indescribable charisma. The public finals of the Concertino Praga competition serve to let the contestants demonstrate not only their artistry and mastery of their instruments, but also how they withstand the rigours of concert performance. They will be accompanied by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Vahan Mardirossian, in the presence of a live audience and a discriminating jury consisting of renowned figures from the world of music. The prizes for the winners – including an audience award – will be announced and presented on the spot. Under the joint organisation of Czech Radio and the Academy of Classical Music, the Concertino Praga will brighten the air, bringing youthful élan with a touch of sportsmanlike rivalry to the dignified Rudolfinum.
Among the Concertino Praga jury members for the solo performance category will be Christine Anderson, the longstanding head of the “Debut in German Broadcasting Culture” project, along with British violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Professor Ewa Kupiec from the Hochsule für Musik in Hanover, pianist Ivo Kahánek, and the trumpet player Sergei Nakariakov.
Conductor and pianist Vahan Mardirossian is of Armenian origin, and since 1993 he has been living in Paris, where he graduated from the conservatoire. For several years, he has been the chief conductor of the Orchestre de Caen in France and the music director of the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia. Since the 2019/2020 season he has held the post of chief conductor of the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong and from January 2020 the post of music director of the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie. He makes regular guest appearances with a number of European and Asian orchestras, including the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonia, the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, the Toulon Opera Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, and the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. Mardirossian has performed as a pianist on a number of esteemed concert stages, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, and he has collaborated with the world’s leading conductors, including Kurt Masur and Paavo Järvi. His discography covers a wide range of styles from the Baroque to music of the 20th century. He was awarded a prestigious Diapason d’Or for his album of piano music by Franz Schubert.
The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra is one of the most important and oldest orchestras in the Czech Republic. For many decades, it has been a versatile orchestra with a broad repertoire of concert music and opera. Among the permanent and guest conductors to work with the orchestra have been Václav Talich, Karel Ančerl, Václav Neumann, Vladimír Válek, and Charles Mackerras. Its present chief conductor is Alexander Liebreich. A number of composers from around the world have performed their own works width the orchestra, including Sergei Prokofiev and Aram Khachaturian. The orchestra has always been heavily involved with recording activity, and it has to its credit the making of recordings of many Czech classics that are not a usual part of the repertoire. This is not its first appearance at the Dvořák Prague Festival: in 2014, for example, it took part in the world premiere complete concert performance of Dvořák’s first opera Alfred with its original German libretto, and in 2019 it gave a unique performance of Dvořák’s first musical setting of the libretto King and Collier in a modern-era premiere.
The Rudolfinum is one of the most important Neo-Renaissance edifices in the Czech Republic. In its conception as a multi-purpose cultural centre it was quite unique in Europe at the time of its construction. Based on a joint design by two outstanding Czech architects, Josef Zítek and Josef Schultz, a magnificent building was erected serving for concerts, as a gallery, and as a museum. The grand opening on 7 February 1885 was attended by Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, in whose honour the structure was named. In 1896 the very first concert of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra took place in the Rudolfinum's main concert hall, under the baton of the composer Antonín Dvořák whose name was later bestowed on the hall.