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Czech National Symphony Orchestra
February 18 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Performing Brahms Violin Concerto + Beethoven Symphony No. 7
Featured Soloist: ROBERT MCDUFFIE
Grammy-nominated violinist, Robert McDuffie, enjoys a dynamic and multi-faceted career. While appearing as soloist with the world’s foremost orchestras, he has also shared the stage with Chuck Leavell and the late Gregg Allman in Midnight Rider and with actress/playwright Anna Deavere Smith in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. Philip Glass dedicated his Second Violin Concerto, The American Four Seasons, to Mr. McDuffie. Mike Mills of the iconic band R.E.M. has composed a Concerto for Violin, Rock Band, and String Orchestra for him. Robert McDuffie is the founder of both the Rome Chamber Music Festival in Italy and the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in his native city of Macon, Georgia. Mr. McDuffie holds the Robert McDuffie Violin Faculty Chair at the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Robert McDuffie has appeared as soloist with most of the major orchestras of the world. He gave the world premiere of Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto No. 2, The American Four Seasons with the Toronto Symphony and completed a thirty-city U.S. tour with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, pairing the Glass Four Seasons with the Vivaldi Four Seasons. The Mills Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra was also premiered with the Toronto Symphony, followed by performances at the Rome Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and a three-week tour of the U.S.
Under the direction of Music Director Steven Mercurio, the CNSO celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2023. Recognized as one of Europe’s first-rank symphonic ensembles and renowned for its versatility, the orchestra annually presents a broad program ranging from classical music concerts to contemporary genres, film scores, jazz and musicals. Since 2005 the Czech National Symphony Orchestra has also organized the summer Prague Proms Festival, which with its impressive array of prominent international performers, appeals to a diverse audience year in year out.
Composers, conductors, and performers such as Ennio Morricone, Lalo Schifrin, James Morrison, Branford & Wynton Marsalis, Pino Donnagio, Giuliano Taviani, José Carreras, Danny Elfman, Vince Mendoza, Giuseppe Tornatore, Carl Davis, Steven Mercurio, Marcello Rota, Christian Lindberg, Chick Corea, Vladimir Cosma repeatedly come back to Prague to either record with the orchestra or perform in the beautiful Smetana Hall at Prague’s Municipal House, the home concert stage of the orchestra. Highlights from recent concert seasons include a European tour with the legendary Ennio Morricone, and a Prague concert with Anna Netrebko.
Meanwhile in the studio the orchestra worked on recording Plácido Domingo and Vittorio Grigolo’s new Christmas album, also collaborating with Ennio Morricone on his score for the new western film The Hateful Eight directed by Quentin Tarantino. Ennio Morricone then went on to win an Oscar after 500 movie credits! The soundtrack was recorded live and launched by Tarantino, Morricone, and the CNSO at Abbey Road Studios in December 2015. Following on from the collaboration with Columbia Artists Management Inc., the orchestra toured the USA in February and March 2016. In 2017, the orchestra toured extensively with Ennio Morricone and James Newton Howard.
The CNSO has also renewed its longstanding cooperation with Andrea Bocelli, plus accompanied Rolando Villazon and Jonas Kaufmann. The orchestra has collaborated with some of the most prominent pop artists, such as Sting, George Michael, Natalie Cole, Dianne Reeves, Angélique Kidjo, Denise Donatelli, Ute Lemper, and great instrumentalists, such as James Morrison, Branford & Wynton Marsalis, Bobby Shew, Joe Lovano, John Abercrombie, John Patitucci, Dave Weckl, Chick Corea and many more.
Successful tours have taken place over the British Isles, USA, Canada, France, Spain, Dubai, Japan, Mexico, China, Korea, Oman, Australia, and New Zealand. The Czech National Symphony Orchestra’s recordings go on sale worldwide, and the orchestra takes pride in having produced a number of Gold CDs (for more than 30 000 copies sold). Other accolades include the Gustav Mahler Prize, awarded for the interpretation of Mahler’s works, and the prestigious contract the orchestra signed with IMG Artists London and Columbia Artists New York. Achievements also include a long-standing recording project in association with Tokyo-based media company Victor Entertainment.
The Czech National Symphony Orchestra was set up in 1993 by trumpet player Jan Hasenöhrl along with the legendary conductor Zdenek Košler. In 1996, the American Paul Freeman took over as Chief Conductor, and remained in this position for an amazing ten years. At the beginning of the year 2007, Maestro Libor Pešek was named the Chief Conductor and he continues to hold down the post today.