Prague Symphony Orchestra

Prague Symphony Orchestra

Celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2014, the Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK is one of the top Czech musical ensembles, and is the official representative orchestra of the city of Prague. The acronym FOK reflects the orchestra’s original direction: Film – Opera – Koncert. The orchestra recorded the scores to most Czech films of the 1930s; these recordings along with regular concerts and broadcasts on Czechoslovak Radio developed its reputation and ensured its prosperity. These successes enabled Dr Václav Smetáček, who served as Chief Conductor from 1942 – 1972, to build the orchestra into a large symphonic body that was capable of standing up to very strong home competition.

In the years following Dr Smetáček’s tenure, the orchestra has continued to expand and evolve under the vibrant leadership of its chief conductors, notably Jiří Bělohlávek (1977–1990), under whom the PSO underwent significant artistic development. In recent years chief conductors Petr Altrichter (1990–1992), Gaetano Delogu (1995–1998), Serge Baudo (2001–2006) and, most recently Jiří Kout (2006–2013); and long-term collaborators Václav Neumann, Zdeněk Košler and Vladimír Válek; have each enhanced the ensemble through their distinctive and profound musical vision.

The orchestra’s artistic reputation and prestige has led to and also been inspired by its collaboration with internationally renowned conductors including Václav Talich, Rafael Kubelík, Karel Ančerl, Sir Georg Solti, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Sir Charles Mackerras, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Eliahu Inbal, Muhai Tang and Jac van Steen; and celebrated instrumentalists and singers including David Oistrach, Isaac Stern, Josef Suk, Arthur Rubinstein, Rudolf Firkušný, Sviatoslav Richter, Claudio Arrau, Murray Perahia, Ivan Moravec, Garrick Ohlsson, Maurice André, Christian Lindberg, Mstislav Rostropovich, Mischa Maisky, Heinrich Schiff, Katia Ricciarelli, Gabriela Beňačková, Eva Urbanová, Peter Dvorský, Thomas Hampson, Ruggero Raimondi, Renée Fleming and Sergei Nakariakov.

The Prague Symphony Orchestra makes its home at the magnificent Smetana Hall in the Municipal House, one of the most famous art nouveau structures in the city. The orchestra also gives a series of chamber concerts at the Church of St Simon and St Juda, the Dvořák Hall in the Rudolfinum and at Prague’s St. Agnes Convent. Through its extensive international touring schedule, the orchestra has thrilled audiences and shared the richness of Czech cultural heritage around the world including at major venues throughout Europe, the USA and South America; and in Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Turkey, Israel, Oman and Puerto Rico. Though it has grown throughout its eighty-year history, the orchestra continues to pay homage to its original purpose of film, opera and concert programming through its vast recorded catalogue of Czech, film and other classical music works.

» Prague Symphony Orchestra website§