The Czechs have received worldwide attention for their recent successes in soccer and tennis, but Czechs have pursued excellence for a long time. The English historian wrote in 1776 that Prague was the conservatory of Europe. Mozart and Beethoven enjoyed their first real successes in Prague and felt that only in Prague did the audiences understand them. Today's classical orchestra really came from Prague, the orchestra in Mannheim that Mozart loved so much was hired in Prague. Half of Beethoven's orchestra in Bonn was Czech.
With international tensions eased, we now have the opportunity to more easily present these artists in concert here. Although it will not last forever, with the current difference between our economies, you can present world class concerts at very affordable prices. Some brief information is below. More historical and biographical information as well as press reviews, repetoire, discography, and sample programs are on other pages on this site, see the previous page.
(Jan. 18 to Feb. 20, 1999 -- Miami to Boston)
Since its inception in 1924, the Nonet has enjoyed an excellent reputation throught Europe and South America. It is well recieved by critics and audiences alike and has attracted the attention of many important composers, who have written over three hundred compositions from this inspiration. The Nonet has made several recordings. The Czech Nonet consists of violin, viola, violoncello, contrabass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn, but they often play music for smaller ensembles, like Beethoven's famous Septet.
Prague Wind Quintet:
(Mar. 1 to 31, 1999 -- Phoenix to Vancouver)
The wind quintet is an ensemble of Czech origin. Beethoven's one time colleague, the Czech flutist and composer Antonin Reicha, invented this ensemble and wrote 26 wind quintets which set the standard just like Beethoven set the standard for the string quartet. The year 1998 is the 70th anniversary of the Prague Wind Quintet. The original quintet was established in 1928 by the oboist and long-time permanent conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra Vaclav Smetacek (1906-1986) and was reorganized in 1968 with new members. They have toured throughout Europe and the USA. They have recorded entensively and have received critical acclaim for their instrumental mastery and unique feeling for style.
Norbert Heller, piano:
(Selected dates Sep. 15, 1998 to Jan. 31, 1999 available)
Norbert Heller is a distinguished Czech pianist with an impressive career in both solo and chamber music. He has won competitions, performed with major European orchestras and has made a number of critically acclaimed recordings. Heller studied with the famous Czech pianist Ivan Moravec and chamber music with violinist Joseph Vlach of the Vlach Quartet. He was the pianist of the Czech Trio and often accompanies other prominent Czech artists. He is an artist and personality of the highest quality who has made a deep impression on critics and audiences.
The Prague Horn Trio:
(Apr. 3 to 23, 1999 -- New York to St. Louis)
The French horn, with its rich tone and warm colors, is almost everyone's favorite instrument, but in reality the horn is not French but Bohemian. The horn emerged in 1640 from Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. Most of the early horn soloists were Czechs who seemed to be constantly touring Europe, inspiring works like Bach's famous Brandenburg Concerto No. 1. After the Czech composer Rejcha went to Paris, it became known as the French horn. The Prague Horn Trio continues this Czech horn tradition. These three prominent members of the Czech Philharmonic horn section display the high Czech standard of horn playing. The sound of the horn attracts attention from many people (including composers), as evidenced by sound tracks of recent hit films like Independence Day.
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