The Bamberg Symphony is an extraordinary orchestra in an extraordinary city. Since 1946, it has been delighting audiences worldwide with its characteristically dark, rounded, radiant sound. In that time it has given well over 7,300 concerts in more than 500 cities and 63 countries, and as the Bavarian State Philharmonic it regularly criss-crosses the globe as cultural ambassador to the world for Bavaria and all of Germany. The circumstances surrounding its birth make the Bamberg Symphony a mirror of German history. In 1946, ex-members of Prague’s German Philharmonic Orchestra met fellow musicians who had likewise been forced to flee their homes by the war and its aftermath. Together they founded the »Bamberg Musicians’ Orchestra«, soon after renamed the Bamberg Symphony. Its lineage can be traced back through the Prague Orchestra to the 19th and 18th centuries, so that the Bamberg Symphony’s roots reach back to Mahler and Mozart. Now, more than seventy years after it was founded, and with Czech-born Jakub Hrůša, the Orchestra’s fifth Chief Conductor, at the helm since September 2016, once again there is a living link from the Bamberg Symphony’s historic roots to its present.
Jakub Hrůša is one of the most active and influential representatives of Czech musical culture and of the Czech school of conducting around the world. He regularly conducts top orchestras in Europe and the USA. He is currently the chief conductor of the Bamberg Symphony and the principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic and of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. From 2009 to 2015 he served as the music director and chief conductor of the PKF − Prague Philharmonia. Among his most important engagements have been repeated invitations from the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He guest conducts regularly at the BBC Proms, and awaiting him in the coming season is his Salzburg Festival debut. Maestro Hrůša has an equal affinity for the concert repertoire and opera. He appears regularly as a guest at the opera festival in Glyndebourne and with the Vienna State Opera, London’s Royal Opera, the Opéra national de Paris, and the Frankfurt Opera, while appearing occasionally at Czech opera houses as well. For his recording of compositions by Dvořák and Martinů and for a DVD recording of the opera Vanessa at the festival in Glyndebourne, he recently won a BBC Music Magazine Award. His active interest in the composer Josef Suk, Antonín Dvořák’s son-in-law, has been reflected in his activity with this year’s Dvořák Prague Festival and the subsequent season of the Czech Philharmonic. Suk’s complete orchestral music is now his priority recording project. A common denominator of his activity abroad has been his steadfast promotion of the music of Czech composers in particular. For this activity, the Academy of Classical Music has awarded him the 2020 Antonín Dvořák Prize.
The violinist Jan Mráček has been one of the most prominent performers of his generation. He began playing violin at the age of five, and he studied at the School of Music of the City of Prague and the Prague Conservatoire. At the age of 13 he first appeared on the stage of the Rudolfinum alongside Josef Suk. His many competition successes include second prize at the 2010 Prague Spring Competition, when at the age of 19 he became the youngest laureate in its history. He appears regularly with Václav Hudeček, and since 2012 he has been an assistant at the Václav Hudeček Academy. In 2011 he became the youngest soloist in the history of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, and three years later he won the Fritz Kreisler International Violin Competition in Vienna. Since 2015 he has been serving as concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic. He appears as a soloist around the world together with such great conductors as Maxim Vengerov, James Judd, Jac van Steen, and Vladimir Fedoseyev.