ON the eve of its 127th season, the Czech Philharmonic has announced that it is to renew its existing contract with chief conductor and music director Semyon Bychkov.

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The conductor, who has been with the orchestra since 2018, has now signed a new contract which keeps him in the role until 2028. The announcement was made ahead of the Czech Phil's season opener: a concert featuring Beethoven’s Violin Concerto performed by Lisa Batiashvili, and Strauss’s Alpine Symphony.

Semyon Bychkov’s tenure with the Czech Philharmonic began with a tour to celebrate 100 years of Czechoslovak independence. The following year saw the release of The Tchaikovsky Project. Released by Decca Classics, this marked the culmination of four years of Tchaikovsky performance by Bychkov and the orchestra.

More recently, April 2022 saw the start of a new Mahler symphonic cycle by Bychkov and the Czech Phil on Pentatone. The opening disc, featuring Symphony No.4, earned a five-star review from us. That release will be followed, on 14 October, by the release of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony from the same forces.

Continuing the Mahler theme, the orchestra's 2022-23 season will also feature performances of the composer's Sixth and Seventh Symphonies, in Paris, Brussels, Hamburg, Munich, Vienna, Milan and the Gewandhaus Mahler Festival in Leipzig. Both symphonies will also be set down back home in Prague.

At the beginning of September, Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic celebrated the Czech Republic’s EU Council Presidency with a special concert held on a stage floating on the Vltava River. A few weeks later, conductor and orchestra presented their first opera together: Dvořák’s Rusalka, with Asmik Grigorian in the title role.

Describing the first of three concert performances broadcast live and presented as part of the 2022 Dvořák Prague International Music Festival, Czech Radio enthused that 'Semyon Bychkov literally worked magic'.

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Pic: Marco Borggreve

Authors

Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.