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  • Family Day: Pianos for Schools Concert, KVSO, Jan Kučera, Ondřej Gregor Brzobohatý


Antonín Dvořák: Mazurek for Violin and Orchestra Op. 49, B. 90

Dmitri Bortniansky: Piano Concerto in D major

Philippe Gaubert: Trois Aquarelles (No 3. Sérénade)

The highpoint of Family Day at the Dvořák Prague Festival will be a concert presenting young musicians who are receiving their musical training at elementary schools of the arts. Students have been invited to participate at this concert as part of the Karel Komárek Family Foundation project “Pianos for Schools”, which has been donating new pianos to those institutions. The conductor and composer Jan Kučera, the concert’s patron, has this to say: “I am greatly honoured to be the artistic supervisor of this concert for the project Pianos for Schools. For the youngest generation of musicians, this is truly a wonderful experience and a boost for their further endeavours. With Ondřej Gregor Brzobohatý, my friend for many years, we will be introducing three talented young soloists, some of whom will be playing with a big symphony orchestra for the first time. I hope you will keep your fingers crossed for them!”


Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra

The Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1835, is the oldest Czech orchestra and one of the oldest in Europe. An important moment in the orchestra’s history was the European premiere of Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony on 20 July 1894. The ensemble has performed with renowned conductors (including Jiří Bělohlávek, Charles Mackerras, Libor Pešek) and soloists (Emil Gilels, Ivan Moravec, David Oistrakh, Josef Suk, Mstislav Rostropovich, Jiří Bárta, Zuzana Růžičková, Eva Urbanová). Václav Neumann, Vladimír Matěj, Josef Hercl, and Radomil Eliška are among the regular conductors who played a major part in shaping the orchestra. Jan Kučera held the post of chief conductor from 2015 to 2021. Besides summer promenade concerts, the orchestra has regular subscription series and numerous special projects, and it works in cooperation with the prestigious Antonín Dvořák Singing Competition. It regularly devotes itself to the youngest generation: ca. 5,000 children from all around the Karlovy Vary region attend the orchestra’s educational concerts.

Jan Kučera

The conductor, composer, and pianist Jan Kučera, born in 1977 in Klatovy, is one of the most versatile Czech artists. He studied composition with Bohuslav Řehoř, conducting with Miriam Němcová and Miroslav Košler at the Prague Conservatory and, subsequently, conducting with Vladimír Válek at the Academy of Performing Arts Prague. Within his conservatory graduation concert, he debuted as a conductor with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and premiered his three tone poems, based on motifs from works by Czech writers (Kundera, Hrabal, Kolář). He has composed symphonic and chamber pieces, cantatas, and songs, as well as incidental music for more than 30 productions for theatres in Prague and elsewhere in the Czech Republic. He has also created musical arrangements, including symphonic adaptations of songs and melodies from Czech films.

As a conductor, Jan Kučera has regularly collaborated with leading Czech orchestras, with whom he has performed or recorded the classical repertoire, as well as more than 100 symphonic pieces by contemporary composers, many of them in premiere. Between 2002 and 2010 he mainly worked with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. In June 2007, in co-operation with Canada’s renowned Compagnie Marie Chouinard, he and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra performed Igor Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps. In the same year, he received an honourable mention in the conducting competition within the Prague Spring festival. In October 2007, he conducted the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra’s acclaimed performance at the Musikverein in Vienna of Dvořák’s New World Symphony, which he also presented during a tour of Japan, together with Beethoven’s symphonies. Within the Czech Republic’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2009, he and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra recorded for Supraphon the national anthems of the 27 EU member states. Owing to his musical versatility and promptitude, he has been frequently invited to participate in crossover concerts too. He has also collaborated with the Prague Symphony Orchestra, with whom he has performed Smetana’s My Country, Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and other works.

Jan Kučera has also been active in the opera domain. At the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava, he conducted the productions of Martinů’s Mirandolina and Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel. At the National Theatre in Prague, he prepared the music and conducted the production of Shostakovich’s Antiformalist Rayok / Orango, the world premiere of his own comic opera Red Mary and Rossini’s La cenerentola. In 2016 he wrote a ballet The Three Musketeers for National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava. His second ballet music The Taming of the Shrew will be premiered in November 2018 in the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen.

In 2015–2021 he was engaged as the chief conductor of the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra.

Ondřej Gregor Brzobohatý

Ondřej Gregor Brzobohatý is not only a performing musician, but also a composer, lyricist, arranger, and actor. He fell for the enchantment of music mainly thanks to film music, a field to which he has long desired to dedicate himself. In his childhood, he was also influenced by the black musicians Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Louis Armstrong, from whom he still draws inspiration for his song writing. He has written music for films including Angel of the Lord 2, and for the Karlín Musical Theatre he has composed a musical of his own, Holmes: The Legend, with Vojtěch Dyk in the leading role. During the period when live concerts were not possible, he wrote a song for nurses in connection with a fundraising campaign, and he made appearances in a project for the elderly titled We Play at Your Windows, at the streamed concert We’re Testing Krumlov, at a fundraiser for Czech Food Banks presented by the television channel TV Seznam, and at the Concert for the Anniversary of November 17th. He also invented a whimsical tabletop game called Covid-19: We’re All in This Together, Dammit!

Jan Novák

Jan Novák began playing violin at the age of six. At present he is studying under Prof. Jiří Fišer at the Prague Grammar and Music School, and under his guidance he passed the entrance examination to the Prague Conservatoire. In 2017 he took part at the Josef Muzika International Violin Competition, where he won second prize and the award for the best performance of the compulsory composition by Luboš Fišer. That year, he was the winner of the nationwide round of a competition held in Liberec by the Czech Ministry of Education. In 2018 at the Josef Micka Violin Competition he won first prize and an invitation to masterclasses with Václav Hudeček in Luhačovice. The invitation included a scholarship from the Dagmar and Václav Havel Vision 97 Foundation. He also won first prize at the 60th annual holding of the world-famous Kocian International Violin Competition. In the autumn of 2019 he performed at the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival at St Agnes’s Convent. Jan Novák is supported by the Karel Komárek Family Foundation (KKFF).

Sebastian Cretan

Sebastian Cretan was born in 2010 to a musical family with a Czech mother and a Romanian father. He began playing piano at the age of four under the tutelage of M. Skalková. At six years of age as a pupil at the Frédéric Chopin Elementary School of the Arts in Mariánské Lázně, he took part in a competition of pupils at elementary schools of the arts held by the Ministry of Education. He advanced to the national finals, where he took third prize. At the same time, he also entered the nationwide piano competition Little Hands of Karlovy Vary, where he won second prize. In 2019 he appeared as one of the soloists from the Frédéric Chopin Elementary School of the Arts with the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra of Mariánské Lázně performing the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Isaak Berkovich. Soon thereafter he again entered the Little Hands of Karlovy Vary competition, this time winning third prize. Since September 2019 he has been a pupil at the Robert Schumann Elementary School of the Arts in Aš, where his teacher is Olga Fernandez. In June 2020 he entered the Prague Junior Note Competition and earned an Honourable Mention. Besides piano, he also plays trombone, and he spends his leisure time riding his bike and playing with his friends.

Kateřina Zachová

Kateřina Zachová was born in 2003, and since 2011 she has been studying at the Jihlava Elementary School of the Arts, piano level II, with Eva Fišerová. In 2012 she took part in the Per Quattro Mani competition for piano four-hands, where she earned a level-one honourable mention. She won third prize at the same competition in 2016. In 2016 and 2019 she appeared at the Jihlava Young Pianist Exhibition, including the winners’ concert. In 2017 she won a level-one honourable mention in the solo piano category in the main round of a competition of pupils of Elementary Schools of the Arts of the Czech Republic, and two years later at the same competition she won first prize in the chamber music category and took part in the winners’ concert. In 2017 she took part at the Gustav Mahler Festival in Jihlava, and two years later she was nominated for a Vysočina Talent Award.

Vojtěch Čermák

Vojtěch Čermák was born in 2004 and has pursued his studies of violin and flute at the Jihlava Elementary School of the Arts (under Dana Slavíková), the Havlíčkův Brod Elementary School of the Arts (under Tamara Mašlaňová), and currently at the Prague Conservatory. Between 2015 and 2019 he won several level-one honourable mentions and first prizes in the main rounds of a competition held by the Czech Ministry of Education, in the categories of recorder, chamber music, and flute. In 2017 he advanced in violin to the Gold Round at the Youth and Bohuslav Martinů national competition, and in 2019 he won an honourable mention as a flautist at the Pro Bohemia International Competition in Ostrava.

Anna Čermáková

Anna Čermáková was born in 2002. She began playing cello at the Jihlava Elementary School of the Arts, studying under Martina Charvátová, and currently she studies at the Prague Conservatory under Prof. Renata Strašrybková. Between 2011 and 2014 she won three second prizes and one award for outstanding performance in the main rounds of a competition held by the Czech Ministry of Education. Between 2017 and 2019 she won first prize three times at the same competition in the categories for cello, orchestral playing, and chamber music. In 2019 she also took part in the Gustav Mahler Prize Cello Competition, where she won second prize.



Rudolfinum, Dvořák Hall

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.