The 69th Prague Spring International Music Competition 2017 offers a combination of two very different disciplines. The first is the youngest, only becoming part of the competition in 1994; this is its fifth appearance in the event – the harpsichord. The Prague Spring is one of only a handful of organisers worldwide who run a competition for this instrument. The second discipline is, conversely, the one chosen for the first year of the competition, 1947, and this year sees its twelfth appearance – the violin.
The harpsichordists will be arriving in Prague first, launching the entire competition on 7 May by drawing lots to determine the order of play in the Martinů Hall, where all three rounds will take place. In view of the atmosphere and sensitivity of the instruments, the preparatory committee for this discipline recommended that the final concert also be held at the Prague Music Academy venue. Another innovation, which will increase the appeal and prestige of the competition, is the untraditional format of the final round, where competitors will be accompanied by two ensembles. In the case of Bohuslav Martinů’s Harpsichord Concerto candidates will perform with the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic, led by its Chief Conductor Vojtěch Spurný. Competitors will also be required to rehearse, perform and conduct Bach’s Triple Concerto for Violin, Flute and Harpsichord, and this with members of the ensemble Collegium 1704.
The violinists will be competing in the National House of Vinohrady from 9 May. They will be accompanied by leading pianists – Václav Mácha and Miroslav Sekera. The final round will take place in the Rudolfinum with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leoš Svárovský. This year’s violin competition is dedicated to the memory of the excellent Czech violinist Josef Suk, and it is our pleasant duty to thank Mrs Marie Suková for all her support during the preparations for the Josef Suk Award, which will be conferred upon the best participant.
This year the second round will again feature premieres of works by Czech composers – in the case of the harpsichord, Petr Wajsar’s Harpsycho for Harpsichord and, for the violinists, the solo piece by David Lukáš The Ballad of Nacken and the Violinist. We would like to take the opportunity here to thank the Czech Radio Music Publishing Department which has been supplying us with sheet music for many years now and will once again be publishing both works in its catalogue on the day of the premieres.
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