Johann Sebastian Bach: Dance Suite for Strings (arr. for string orchestra Dmitry Sitkovetsky)

Felix Mendelssohn–Bartholdy: Concerto for Piano, Violin and Strings in D Minor, MWV 04

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky / Jakov Jakoulov: The Seasons, Op. 37a & Four Cherubic Chants for String Orchestra

Ernő Dohnányi: Serenade in C Major, Op. 10 (arr. for string orchestra Dmitry Sitkovetsky)

This evening will feature a diverse range of musical traditions and contemporary music, vibrantly connecting the West and the East – all within a single concert performed by the New European Strings chamber orchestra. When he founded the orchestra, violinist and conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky perhaps felt that it was not enough to perform with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the London Philharmonic Orchestra – that he needed to work with his own ensemble too. The New European Strings nicely embody the musical skills and vision of their founder.

In the first part of their concert, the Dance Suite in G Major will transport the audience to the world of Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the pillars of European music. German composer Felix Mendelssohn, who was fond of lyrical melodies, will contribute too, with his Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Strings. From Mendelssohn’s work, it is clear why he was responsible for reviving Bach’s music, which, by the early 19th century, had nearly been forgotten. The second part of the concert will be a tribute to traditional church music, with modern award-winning composer Jakov Jakoulov’s Four Cherub Songs, and the performance will conclude with a witty and energetic Serenade from Romantic-era composer Ernö Dohnányi.


New European Strings

The violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky founded the New European Strings Chamber Orchestra in 1990 at the Korsholm Festival in Finland, of which he founded and served for ten years as the Artistic Director. The NES brings together the most respected string players from top European ensembles. They have toured throughout Europe. Dmitry Sitkovetsky’s transcription for string orchestra of J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) was recorded by the New European Strings for Nonesuch Records and was released to tremendous critical acclaim in the summer of 1995. In February 1997, they made their first USA tour performing in 14 cities from Los Angeles to New York. The New Yorker, in a review of this recording, wrote: “[T]he New European Strings Chamber Orchestra combines interpretive insight with exemplary playing; even suspicious purists will hear contrapuntal felicities that keyboard players can only suggest.”

Dmitry Sitkovetsky

A renaissance man and a magnetic creative force, Dmitry Sitkovetsky is recognised throughout the world as having made a considerable impact on every aspect of musical life. A prolific recording artist, with a career spanning more than four decades, he is celebrated globally as a violinist, conductor, creator, transcriber, and facilitator – and holds an undisputed and venerable position in musical society as a giant personality and educator.

As violinist and/or guest conductor, the 2022–2023 season and beyond sees Sitkovetsky perform extensively throughout Europe and North America. He performs chamber music at the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival and conducts the Israel Jerusalem Camerata in Israel; plays at the Guadalajara Chamber Music Festival and conducts the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional in Mexico; and is featured in concerts in Berlin, Germany; Mexico City, Mexico; Bucharest, Romania; Havana, Cuba; Istanbul, Turkey; Baku, Azerbaijan; and Sofia, Bulgaria. Sitkovetsky is also the President of the jury of the George Enescu International Violin Competition in Romania and a member of jury at the International Fritz Kreisler Violin Competition in Austria and the Concours Musical International de Montréal in Canada. In summer 2023, he performs in the Verbier Festival’s 30th anniversary season.

Siktovetsky also leads his final and 20th season as Music Director of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra in North Carolina. Throughout the past two decades at the helm of the orchestra, Sitkovetsky curated more than 120 different orchestral programs from Bach to Brubeck with world-class soloists. Among his many accomplishments, he developed the Rice Toyota Presents “Sitkovetsky & Friends” chamber series, consulted on the biggest installation of the Meyer System in the U.S. in the new 3000-seat Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts, and commissioned important new works by composers such as such as Jakov Jakoulov and Mark Engebretson. The 2022–2023 GSO season features Sitkovetsky leading six Masterworks concerts with acclaimed soloists including Michelle Cann, Sergey Antonov, James Ehnes, Trio Zimbalist, and Branford Marsalis.

Sitkovetsky also enjoys a flourishing career as a conductor, having worked with such orchestras as Academy of St-Martin-In-The-Fields, Dallas Symphony, London Philharmonic, Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Lucerne Symphony, Orchestra della Toscana, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, and Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Japan Century Symphony, amongst others. In 1990, he founded the New European Strings Chamber Orchestra (NES) – bringing together the most distinguished string players from the top European ensembles, from both Russian and Western musical backgrounds (reflecting Dmitry’s own life story). Since 2003, Sitkovetsky has served as the Music Director of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina, to whom he has brought such soloists as Emmanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Garrick Ohlsson, and Pinchas Zukerman. Previous positions of artistic leadership have included the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y Leon (Artist in Residence, 2006–2009), Russian State Symphony Orchestra ‘Evgeny Svetlanov’ (Principal Guest Conductor, 2002–2005), and the Ulster Orchestra (Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor, 1996–2001).

In 2019, he celebrated the release of a recital disc on the Melodia label, recorded with Tchaikovsky Competition-winner Lukas Geniušas – with a programme designed as an homage to the legendary duo of Fritz Kreisler and Sergei Rachmaninov. His celebrated career as a violinist is documented in an extensive discography of more than 40 recordings, reflecting the impressive breadth of his repertoire. His recording collaborators to date include such orchestras as the London Symphony, Philharmonia, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, working with such legendary maestros as Sir Colin Davis, Mariss Jansons, Sir Neville Marriner, and Yehudi Menuhin. As soloist, he has performed with the world’s leading orchestras – including the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland, LA Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, New York Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, and Philadelphia, amongst others.

Given his unmatched ability to turn any project into a highly anticipated artistic event, Sitkovetsky has also been invited to create, develop and lead a number of festivals, including the Korsholm Music Festival, Finland (1983–1993, and 2002), the Seattle International Music Festival (1992–1997), the Silk Route of Music, Azerbaijan (1999), and the Festival del Sole, Tuscany (2003–2006). During his tenure at the Korsholm Festival, he hosted Alfred Schnittke, Krszystof Penderecki & Rodion Shchedrin as composer-in-residence, performed with such luminaries as Martha Argerich, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Evgeny Kissin, Mischa Maisky to name but a few.

Sitkovetsky is also in high demand as a jury member, musical expert and educator. Recent jury roles have included the Indianapolis International Violin Competition, Concours Musical International de Montréal, International Tchaikovsky Competition, and the Enescu Violin Competition. Additional highlights include Sitkovetsky’s debut TEDx talk, The Power of Curiosity; the launch of his first book, Dmitry Sitkovetsky: Dialogues; and his interview series on, It Ain’t Necessarily So.

Dmitry Sitkovetsky’s name has also become synonymous with the art of transcription. His iconic orchestral and string trio versions of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations have taken on a life of their own – enjoying regular performances and acclaimed recordings by many of the leading performers of today. Following this unprecedented success, Sitkovetsky has gone on to arrange over six60ty works of major repertoire by such composers as Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, Schnittke, and Shostakovich. In 2015, he unveiled his transcription of Stravinsky’s Le baiser de la fée, commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and premiered by Augustin Hadelich at Carnegie Hall. The 2017/2018 season saw the successful premieres of a new multi-genre/multimedia work, Devil, Soldier & Violin (inspired by Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale), with sold-out performances across Russia. Summer 2018 saw the world premiere of Sitkovetsky’s transcription of Sarasate’s Navarra Fantasy, commissioned by the Verbier Festival. This performance – marking the festival’s 25th anniversary – was broadcast live worldwide on, with an all-star lineup of musicians, including Lisa Batiashvili, Leonidas Kavakos, Mischa Maisky, Vadim Repin, Maxim Vengerov, Tabea Zimmermann, and Pinchas Zukerman – as well as Dmitry Sitkovetsky himself. The latest transcription, Bukovina Songs/Preludes by Leonid Desyatnikov, was recorded online by the NES during the Pandemic, and reached an audience of more than 250,000, is now much in demand and has been performed in Bucharest, Oviedo, Ljubljana, Baku, Korsholm, and Jerusalem.

Jan Bartoš

The international press has described Jan Bartoš as “one of the finest European pianists” and “an emotional and sophisticated interpreter.” He has appeared in solo recitals, with major orchestras and in chamber music concerts worldwide and enjoys a prolific recording career as an exclusive artist on the Supraphon label. His recordings of the music of Janáček, Mozart, Beethoven and Novák have earned international critical praise from critics at Gramophone, Diapason, BBC Music Magazine, The Times, American Record Guide and The Guardian among other outlets.

In the current season, Jan Bartoš recorded Viktor Ullmann’s Piano Concerto with Bamberger Symphoniker and Jakub Hrůša for Bayerische Rundfunk/Supraphon. He returned to tour the US with performances and masterclasses at the San Francisco International Piano Festival and in New York City at the sold-out Bohemian National Hall. Last spring, he gave a recital at the virtual edition of the Hong Kong Arts Festival and returned to the Prague Spring Festival performing the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra under Ilan Volkov. He performed the same concerto with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra led by Kristjan Järvi at the Leoš Janáček International Music,Festival in Ostrava.

Upcoming highlights include recitals at the Shanghai International Arts Festival followed by a recital tour of China. In the previous seasons, Bartoš gave a sold-out solo recital at the Rudolf Firkušný Piano Festival in Prague, performed the complete Janáček piano works at the International Festival Janáček's Brno, and joined the Prague Philharmonia in Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Martinů’s Double Concerto. He has appeared regularly with the Czech Philharmonic, notably under the late Jiří Bělohlávek.

Jan Bartoš’s most recent CD release is the first studio recording of Vítězslav Novák’s Piano Concerto with Jakub Hrůša and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra on Supraphon. The Guardian voted it Classical Album of the Week and The Sunday Times highlighted the release as ‘‘worth knowing in Hrůša and Bartoš’s idiomatic performances.’’ In May 2021, the album won the Czech Republic’s highest recording prize in the Best Classical Album category.

In 2019, Bartoš recorded solo piano works of Leoš Janáček for Supraphon to great critical acclaim. Gramophone selected it as Editor's Choice, noting that it “easily stands alongside reference Janáček offerings,” adding that “Like his erstwhile teacher Ivan Moravec, Bartoš accepts and internalises Janáček’s intimate, conversational sound world for what it is, while imbuing the composer’s often stark textures with a fullness of tonal body and shimmering translucence” (Gramophone). The NPR (National Public Radio) included the recording in “10 Classical Albums To Usher In The Next Decade.”

Bartoš’s other notable CDs on Supraphon include a double album of Beethoven's solo piano works and Mozart Concertos with the Czech Philharmonic and Jiří Bělohlávek. The Beethoven album received a 5- star review from the BBC Music Magazine: “everything in this recording is outstanding [...] The Arietta of Op. 111 is here gorgeous beyond words." The Mozart Concertos were also met with praise from major critics: “Bartoš’s crisp articulation and singing legato are never far from the spirit of the composer's sunnier comedies” (The Sunday Times).

On Alfred Brendel's invitation, Jan Bartoš appears as a solo performer on the 2021 Supraphon DVD My Musical Life that celebrates the piano legend on the occasion of his 90th birthday. Mr. Brendel endorsed Jan Bartoš's playing with the following: “Jan Bartoš is one of my most impressive and exciting young colleagues. In him, virtuosity is coupled with deeply serious musicianship.''

Jan Bartoš has been the recipient of several awards and scholarships, among them the 1st prize at Zaslavsky-Koch Competition (New York), the Peter S. Reed Foundation Award (New York), the International Mieczyslaw Munz Award (New York), the Rotary Musikförderpreis (Germany), Concertino Praga (Czech Republic), the Rucorva Trust Award (the Netherlands), and the Schimmel Prize (Germany).

Jan Bartoš holds a Professional Studies Diploma from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, and a doctorate from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He was the last pupil of the legendary pianist Ivan Moravec. Following his studies in the Czech Republic with Martin Ballý and Miroslav Langer, he continued to hone his artistry abroad under the guidance of Alfred Brendel, Leon Fleisher, James Tocco, and Zenon Fishbein. He undertook masterclasses in chamber music with Juilliard String Quartet's Robert Mann and Emerson String Quartet's Lawrence Dutton.

He is the Founder and Director of Prague Music Performance, an innovative Festival and Institution presenting concerts across musical genres, master classes, lectures and residencies. He is also the Artistic Director of the American Spring Festival and the Ivan Moravec Academy. Jan Bartoš teaches piano and chamber music at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.


Bethlehem Chapel

The Bethlehem Chapel is one of the most important landmarks in Prague. The original building, dating from 1391 and closely associated with the reform movement of Master Jan Hus, was torn down. A modern replica was built at the same site in the 1850s based on a design by the important architect Jaroslav Fragner. At present, the Bethlehem Chapel serves as ceremony hall for the Czech Technical University. It is the site of not only graduation ceremonies for the schools students, but also various cultural and social events.