Janáček Philharmonic is a world-class symphony orchestra based in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Comprising around a hundred first-rate musicians it is known for the unique softness of its strings and tight brass ensemble. Mr Heiko Mathias Förster has held the position of Artistic Director since 2014.
Recent highlights include concerts with opera stars Anna Netrebko and Jonas Kaufmann, tours to Warsaw Autumn Festival, Arts Centre Seoul, Konzerthaus Wien, Tonhalle Zürich, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées Paris and appearances with guest conductors & soloists such as Antoni Wit, Mikhail Jurowski, Jakub Hrůša, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Reinhold Friedrich, Olga Kern, Johannes Moser and Kirill Gerstein.
Browse our event calendar
(only in Czech)
We offer more than 50 varied symphonic concerts to local audiences annually, aiming to introduce to them the most stimulating repertoire (including Czech and world premiers) and the finest guest artists. The 2015/16 season sees Mikhail Jurowski as newly appointed Principal Guest Conductor and Reinhold Friedrich as Artist In Residence. Piotr Beczala, Sonya Yoncheva, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Johannes Moser, Ingolf Wunder and Alexander Ghindin are among the main highlights of the season. Feel free to browse our performance calendar (in Czech only).
Every year we are invited to many festivals in both the Czech Republic and abroad, and furthermore we perform concert series in Europe (Germany-Switzerland-Austria this year), Asia and North America for a number of promoters. The orchestra is especially superb in the world-famous Czech symphonic repertoire such as Dvořák`s symphonies or Smetana`s and Janáček`s opera overtures, and also in opera-gala programmes. Recent destinations include New York (2012), Seoul (2013), Paris (2014), Beijing (2015) or Munich (2015). Follow our tours on our blog (Czech & English).
During the concert season we spend many days in our highly-equipped studio with the best recording engineers recording both commercial and artistic music for a wide range of partners and recording companies. Our live recordings are also highly praised; in 2014 we launched a 4-year project to record Janáček’s live complete on 5 CDs. Our recordings have been issued by labels such as Naxos, Brilliant Classics, Supraphon, Centaur, New World Records, Stradivari Classics and many others. Should you be interested in recording please see more info (ZIP, 5.0 MB).
Our big engagement is to look after the musical education of our audience. We focus mainly on the youth: we have series of special family concerts as well as matiné concerts for schools, we promote tens of musical workshops and we also run a children's choir. In addition to that we offer a three-years musical academy for the elderly people that has been highly appreciated. We also perform series of special evening concerts for young prodigy conductors and soloists to encourage their musical careers.
'An amazing performance with inner understanding and beautiful lightness for nuances.'
Steve Smith, The New York Times
'...a razor-sharp performance by the hometown orchestra, the Janáček Philharmonic.'
Frank Kuznik, bachtrack.com
'...especially the string group, which was during the way sounding brilliant, and a great cello soloist, a good brass group and welldone harp work.'
Henning Høholt, Kulturkompasset
'The advantages of Janacek Philharmonic based in the top-level interpretation of many of the orchestra members were pointed out in brilliant final gradation of the suite.'
Milan Bátor, operaplus.cz
Raising from a Radio Orchestra founded in the mid-wars period when Paul Hindemith, Leoš Janáček, Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky frequently visited Ostrava, a big symphony orchestra was launched in 1954. Thanks to demanding artistic direction it soon became one of the leading Czech orchestras and started to tour abroad only two years later (1956). Many world-known conductors and soloist made their artistic attribution to the orchestra since then: Maris Jansons, Serge Baudo, Václav Neumann, Karel Ančerl, Jiří Bělohlávek, Helmuth Rilling, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Iván Fischer; Rudolf Firkušný, Svjatoslav Richter, Frank-Peter Zimmermann, André Navarra and many others.
The Velvet Revolution and the two upcoming decades (90s and 00s) sees the orchestra touring a lot to the West, including tours with the opera stars such as Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Diana Ross or Joseph Calleja in the same time when Christian Arming becomes the youngest Artistic director in the orchestra`s history.
Mr Heiko Mathias Förster, the former chief conductor of orchestras in Brandenburg, München and Recklinghausen (Neue Philharmonie Westfalen) has also enjoyed guest invitations at several orchestras, including Moscow Philharmonic, Israel Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian State Orchestra, Orchestre de Colonnes Paris, and Berlin Radio Orchestra, and is regularly invited to Prague for opera and symphony performances.
'Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava has enormous musical potential, and I believe that together, we can reach the heights.' he said during his inauguration in 2014.
Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava CV in English (PDF)
Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava CV in German (PDF)
Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava CV in Czech (PDF)
Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava CV in Polish (PDF)
2015/16 Season Programming Brochure in Czech only (PDF, 8.5 MB)
Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra – profile group photo (JPG, 7 MB)
Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra – concert picture (JPG, 2 MB)
Heiko Mathias Förster CV in English (PDF)
Heiko Mathias Förster CV in German (PDF)
Heiko Mathias Förster CV in Czech (PDF)
Heiko Mathias Förster – four high-resolution profile photos (ZIP, 2.7 MB)
Information on recording in English only (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Photos of the recording studio (ZIP, 3.5 MB)
Czech logo (ZIP, 1.4 MB)
English logo (ZIP, 1.4 MB)