Janáček philharmonic OstravaNovinkyJPO sets off with Czech soloists to represent Czech and Eastern European music in Japan

JPO sets off with Czech soloists to represent Czech and Eastern European music in Japan

22. 4. 23

The Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava (JFO) is going on a two-week tour to Japan. The trip will take place from 26 April to 10 May and the JFO will play a total of nine concerts together with Czech and local soloists. The most important stop will be the prestigious Gargan Music Festival in Kanazawa, where the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava will be the only Czech music ensemble to represent European music. The orchestra will perform six times over three days. Then the orchestra, including leading Czech soloists, will embark on an extraordinary tour to three other Japanese cities. Despite the lack of adequate facilities for both rehearsals and concerts, the JFO maintains its high standard and reputation as one of the best orchestras in Central Europe. From the rehearsal rooms of the pavilion at Černá louka, where the orchestra has found temporary facilities, it regularly travels to top concert halls from all over the world.



“We can’t wait to hear the orchestra again in first-class acoustic conditions. The last time we had this opportunity was in March in Katowice in the NOSPR hall,” says JFO director Jan Žemla, referring to the recent concert in the almost sold-out National Orchestra of the Polish Radio.”Japan, where our orchestra will now be heading, is famous for its concert halls – of those where we will be playing, the Ishikawa Ongakudo in Kanazawa and Harmony Hall in Fukui, are among the top-notch ones for symphonic music, with a capacity of about 1,500 seats. The acoustics of both of these halls were supervised by the world’s leading studio Nagata Acoustics, which is also responsible for the new concert hall in Ostrava,” Žemla points out.

Eighty musicians of the Janáček Philharmonic, their accompaniment and Czech and foreign guests will go on tour in Japan. “In the current absence of a quality hall, the opportunity to perform in the best halls in Europe and the world is very desirable for us. High-quality acoustic conditions have a direct influence on the performance of the compositions themselves and can significantly advance the performance of the orchestra, soloists and conductor, which is ultimately valuable not only for the musicians themselves but also for the audience, who take away an extraordinary musical experience,” adds Jan Žemla.


Ishikawa Ongakudo concert hall in  Kanazawa


The programme of concerts of the foreign tour consists mainly of works by Czech composers. “The repertoire is based on the programme of the Gargan Music Festival, the theme of which this year is the music of Central Europe, so naturally we are playing the best-known works by Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, Josef Suk and Leoš Janáček. However, we will not omit works by Zoltán Kodály or Ferenc Liszt,” explains Ondřej Daněk, JFO Orchestra Manager. A very special experience will be the concert performance of a shortened version of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, for which the JFO orchestra cooperates partly with Czech and Japanese soloists and also with a local choir. “We are also very much looking forward to the interpretation of Janáček’s Sinfonietta, in which we will join forces with local trumpeters. Thanks to its unusual scoring, the Sinfonietta is rarely played on tours, but in Japan, this piece is very popular, thanks to several references in the novel 1Q84 by the famous Japanese writer Haruki Murakami,” adds Ondřej Daněk.

As part of the varied musical programme of the tour, soprano Tereza Mátlová, tenor Tomáš Černý and conductor Leoš Svárovský will perform with the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra. “Among the local artists, we will be joined by the winner of the prestigious Besançon Conducting Competition in 2019, Nodoka Okisawa,” Daněk explains.

Japan is one of the most attractive classical music markets in the world today. European classical music is extremely popular here, and compositions by Czech composers, especially Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák, are part of the permanent repertoire of many Japanese music ensembles. However, they are especially appreciated in the interpretation of Czech symphony orchestras.

The orchestra is going to Japan again this year after 15 years. During the planned 14-day tour they will perform in Kanazawa, Musashino, Fukui and Chigasaki. As the only Czech orchestra representing European culture at the invitation of the organisers of the Gargan Music Festival, the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra Ostrava once again proves that it is an orchestra of the highest level, which, despite the lack of its own concert hall and adequate facilities, regularly and honourably performs in the best concert halls around the world.

The JFO tour to Japan is realized with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the National Restoration Plan, the European Union, the Statutory City of Ostrava and the Moravian-Silesian Region.