Jiri Belohlavek, In Prague with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Bela Bartok
Jiri Belohlavek talks to Tom Service about rejoining the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Rob Cameron discusses the orchestra's history in Prague. Plus a new book on Bartok.
Tom Service speaks to Jiri Belohlavek, chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic and Rob Cameron, the BBC's correspondent in Prague attends rehearsals for the Prague Spring Festival to look into the orchestra's history, future and unique sound. Tom also discusses a new book on the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok by David Cooper, which he reviews with the writer and translator Kenneth Chalmers.
In Prague with the Czech Philharmonic
Book: Bela Bartok by David Cooper
Tom Service meets Jiri Belohlavek, chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. Belohlavek was first appointed in that role in 1990, but after the Velvet Revolution the orchestra decided to look overseas for a conductor and Belohlavek left. He formed the Prague Philharmonia and then acted as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 2012 until 2015. Then came his return to the Czech Philharmonic. Belohlavek talks to Tom about his relationship with the Czech Philharmonic now and his future plans with the orchestra. He also talks about setting up the Prague Philharmonia, which he feels gave him renewed strength and opportunities.
IN PRAGUE WITH THE CZECH PHILHARMONIC
To find out more about the turbulent history, unique sound and future plans of the Czech Philharmonic, Rob Cameron, the BBC’s Prague correspondent, attended rehearsals at the Municipal Hall for the orchestra’s first concert in this year’s Prague Spring International Festival where they were playing Mahler’s Third Symphony. There he spoke to the orchestra’s General Manager, Robert Hanc, the current leader Josef Spacek, percussionist Daniel Mikolasek and the journalist Frank Kuznik.
BOOK: BELA BARTOK BY DAVID COOPER
David Cooper’s new book traces Bela Bartok’s international career as ardent ethno-musicologist and composer, teacher and pianist, while discussing most of his works in detail. It also explores how Europe’s political and cultural tumult affected Bartok’s work, travel and reluctant emigration to the safety of America in his final years. Tom talks to the author and reviews the book with the writer and translator Kenneth Chalmers.