©Foto-archiv Filharmonie Brno

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©Foto-archiv Filharmonie Brno

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©Foto-archiv Filharmonie Brno

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©Foto-archiv Filharmonie Brno

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Dennis Russell Davies

Chief Conductor & Artistic Director

 

Dennis Russell Davies’s activities as opera and orchestral conductor, and as pianist and chamber musician, are characterized by an extensive repertory stretching from pre-Baroque to the latest music of our time. He is noted for exciting, well-structured concerts and for his close working relationships with a variety of composers such as Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, John Cage, Aaron Copland, Thomas Larcher, William Bolcom, Heinz Winbeck, Lou Harrison, Luciano Berio, Laurie Anderson, Hans Werner Henze, Kurt Schwertsik, Balduin Sulzer, and Manfred Trojahn. Davies has recorded many of Philip Glass’s operas and symphonies, notably the 5th symphony - dedicated to Davies. He premiered Glass’s 10th symphony at a 2012 New Year’s concert in Linz, and on Glass’s 80th birthday in 2017 Davies premiered Glass’s 11th symphony in Carnegie Hall.

 

Widely considered to be one of the most innovative and adventurous conductors/programmers in the classical music world, Davies has successfully challenged and inspired audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Since 2018 Dennis Russell Davies is Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Filharmonie Brno. In the fall of 2020 he assumed the position Chief Conductor of the MDR-Sinfonieorchester Leipzig.

 

After Davies’s first appointments as Music Director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (1972-1980) and Co-Founder & Chief Conductor of the American Composers Orchestra (1977-2002), he has served as Principal Conductor & Classical Music Program Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Davies has also appeared as Guest Conductor in the United States with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco Symphonies, and Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras. Festival orchestras that Davies has led include Aspen Music Festival, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (Santa Cruz, CA; 1974-1990) and the Saratoga Music Festival. Since 2009, Dennis Russell Davies is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

 

In Europe, Davies has served as General Music Director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, then Opera Bonn and the Beethovenhalle Orchestra, subsequently leading the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, and the Symphony Orchestra Basel. In 2013, during his long and successful tenure in Linz as Chief Conductor of the Linz Opera and Bruckner Orchester (2002-2017), Davies inaugurated the new Linzer Musiktheater conducting the World Premiere of Philip Glass’s opera “Spuren der Verirrten” (“The Lost”), commissioned for the occasion. Davies’s regular European orchestral partners include the Gewandhaus Leipzig, the Royal Concertgebouw, as well as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Munich and Hamburg Philharmonics, Filharmonica della Scala, RAI National Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and Bamberg Symphony.

 

He has conducted new productions at the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Opera National de Paris, the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals, the Hamburg and Bavarian State Operas, and Teatro Real Madrid – a total of more than 140 new productions by many of the theater world‘s most important stage directors. Recent opera engagements include multiple performances of “Salome” and “Wozzeck” at the Vienna State Opera.

 

Dennis Russell Davies‘ extensive discography includes complete symphonies of Philip Glass, Bruckner, Haydn, and Arthur Honegger. Other notable recordings include Copland’s Appalachian Spring with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (1979), for which he won a Grammy Award.

 

Born in Toledo, Ohio in 1944, Davies studied piano and conducting at the Juilliard School in New York. From 1997-2012 he was Professor for orchestral conducting at the University Mozarteum Salzburg. In September 2020 he assumed the position of Guest Professor at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno. Dennis Russell Davies has been awarded the German Bundesverdienstkreuz, the Austrian Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst, as well as the title “Commandeur des Arts et Lettres” bestowed by the French Government.

Filharmonie Brno

(Brno Philharmonic)

The roots of Filharmonie Brno go back to the 1870s, when the young Leoš Janáček endeavored to establish a Czech symphony orchestra in Brno. The works of the famous twentieth-century composer constitute the core of the orchestra’s repertory, and to this day Filharmonie Brno considers itself to be the authentic performer of his oeuvre. Since its foundation, the orchestra has given well over 300 performances of works by Janáček globally, and has recorded Janáček’s complete symphonic and cantata works.

 

The present orchestra was created in 1956 by merging the Brno-based Radio and Regional orchestras, and since then has been among the leading Czech orchestras in terms of both size and importance. On its tours abroad, it has performed about a thousand concerts throughout Europe, the United States of America, Latin America, and both the Middle and Far East. Filharmonie Brno is a regular guest at festivals in the Czech Republic and abroad, frequently joining forces for these appearances with the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno.

 

Throughout its history, the orchestra has had a number of Czech and international conductors, including Kurt Masur, Yehudi Menuhin, Karl Ancerl, Sir Charles Mackerras, Bretislav Bakala, František Jílek, Petr Altrichter, Jirí Belohlávek, Jakub Hruša and Tomáš Netopil, and has thrived on musical partnerships with a number of exceptional soloists such as Yefim Bronfman, Rudolf Buchbinder, Elina Garanca, Sophia Jaffé, Wilhelm Kempff, Olga Kern, Gidon Kremer, John Lill, Johannes Moser, Julian Rachlin, Sviatoslav Richter, Fazil Say, and Eva Urbanova, to name only a few. Maestro Davies is in his third season as the orchestra’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Director.

The orchestra regularly records for the Czech Radio, Czech Television and a number of music labels such as Supraphon, Sony Music, IMG Records, BMG, Classic FM, Universal, Channel 4, also receiving a growing number of commissions from global clientele through the agency Czech Orchestra Recordings.

 

Since 2000, Filharmonie Brno has been organizing the open-air summer festival at the Špilberk castle in Brno, and in 2012 has become the organizer of the renowned traditional festivals Moravian Autumn, Easter Festival of Sacred Music and Exposition of New Music. The orchestra sponsors the internationally-lauded children’s choir Kantiléna, has been involved since 2010 in the young musicians’ festival Mozart’s Children, and in 2014 founded the Filharmonie Brno Orchestra Academy.

 

Today Filharmonie Brno is not only a strong player in the field of symphonic music at home and abroad, but also the primary organizer of the musical season in the second largest Czech city, an active instigator of festivals and a creative leader in orchestral programming.

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