Radek BaborákFrench horn
Horn player and conductor Radek Baborák is one of the most outstanding personalities on the current classical music scene. In a solo career spanning over 25 years, he has impressed audiences in the most important cultural centres all over the world with his outstanding musical performances.
Talent is a gift from God, but it shouldn’t be relied on solely. Theory and analysis will come in handy.
He studied the horn with Professor Karel Křenek. Under his tutelage, Baborák became the outright winner of the Concertino Praga radio competition, won 3rd place in the Prague Spring Competition, came first in the contemporary music contest, and became a prize-winner in the Grand Prix UNESCO. From 1990 to 1994 he continued in his studies at the Prague Conservatoire in a class under Professor Bedřich Tylšar. During his studies, he won the 1993 Genève competition, the 1994 Markneukirchen competition, ARD in Munich in 1994, the 1995 Grammy Classic Award and the Dawidov Award.
At the age of eighteen he was offered the position of the first horn player in the Czech Philharmonic without the need of going through an audition, which is quite exceptional. He remained there for two years. From 1996 to 2000, he worked as the horn soloist in the Munich Philharmonic. In 2001 he signed an exclusive contract with the Bamberg Symphony. He concluded his work with orchestras in the seasons 2003 to 2010 with the Berlin Philharmonic.
festivals – recording – concerts
He is a guest of prestigious festivals such as Salzburger Osterfestspiele, Maggiomusicale Fiorentino, Suntory Hall Chamber Music Garden, International Music Festival Utrecht, Julian Rachlin and Friends Dubrovník, Smetanova Litomyšl, Pražské Jaro, etc.
He has made many recordings for recording companies such as EMI, Supraphon, Exton, Arte Nova, Artesmon, and Animal Music.
Radek Baborák performed as a soloist with the following orchestras: Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony, Bach Akademie Stuttgart, Berlin Baroque Soloists, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, London Royal Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra Vienna, NHK Symphony Orchestra.
Chamber music is a significant and important part of Radek Baborák’s musical career. He founded and functions as the Artistic Director of the Baborak Ensemble whose basic structure is French horn and string quartet, the Czech Horn Ensemble, which continues in the 300-year tradition of horn music in Bohemia and the Prague Chamber Soloists string ensemble founded in 1960 by Václav Neumann. He is a member if the Afflatus Quintet, with which he won the first prize in the ARD competition in Munich. In recitals he performs in duo with the pianist Yoko Kukuchi, the winner of Salzburg’s Mozart competition, with the organist Aleš Bárta and harpist Jana Boušková. He is a member of the Berlin – Munich – Vienna Octet and he cooperates with the Berlin Baroque Soloists.
Radek Baborák has worked as an Associate Professor at Bologna Fondazione Arturo Toscanini, he is a visiting professor at TOHO University Tokyo and Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sophia, and teaches at HAMU in Prague. He has taught horn courses in Germany and Switzerland.
I come from a family of music teachers, so when I started teaching at the Bologna Fondazione Arthura Toscanini at the age of twenty, it felt absolutely natural to me, even though all the students were older than I was. Since then I have given masterclasses or workshops everywhere I went to perform as a soloist. I am a guest teacher at Escuale de Reina Sofie in Madrid and I have worked as a visiting professor at several universities in Tokyo. I’ve spent a few years at the Prague’s HAMU, where I am passive at the moment. And I continue at the Barenboim-Said Akademie Berlin.
I have to say frankly that I don’t enjoy teaching the technical details – how to play the horn – because it is often impossible to explain everything theoretically and it cannot be mastered without a certain degree of intuition anyway. On the other hand, I find great pleasure in studying phrases, musical expression of compositions, their overlap outside the musical world, the tone quality. I think and I hope that this is important for students as well.
I first visited Kroměříž as a student taking part in a conservatoire competition. I got enthralled and so I’m looking forward to visiting again and to meeting the students and audience in Moravia.
When Tomas approached me, my reaction was very spontaneous and I promised to cooperate at once. My motto is that in 21st century it is no longer appropriate to compete in music, so the competition shall be replaced by education. The courses like this one are evidence of this stance, and the person who brings such an endeavour into life as Tomáš Netopil does deserves great respect.”
Josef Špaček is a leading Czech violinist. Currently, he combines a solo career with his work as the Concert Master with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. He performs all around the world. The Czech version of Forbes magazine includes him among the most prominent young Czechs in the “30 under 30” category.
There’s not need to be afraid to be ambitious and forceful, as long as it goes hand in hand with modesty and self-reflection.
Josef Špaček is quickly establishing himself as one of the best violinists of his generation. He has studied under the guidance of renowned teachers such as Ida Kavafian and Jaime Laredo at the Curtis Music Institute in Philadelphia, as well as Itzhak Perlman of Juilliard in New York City. In May 2012, he was a finalist at the Queen Elisabeth International Competition in Brussels; in 2009 he won the International Michael Hill Violin Competition in New Zealand; in 2008 he placed third and won the youth jury award at the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition in Denmark; and three years later he won second prize at the prestigious Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York.
Josef Špaček’s major solo performances have so far included subscriber’s concerts with the Czech Philharmonic under Valerij Gergijev, a debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Jiří Bělohlávek, a Berlin debut with the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra and Thomas Sanderling, an Amsterdam debut in Concertgebouw with the Netherlands Philharmonic and Thomas Søndergård, a Tokyo debut with the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra and Jakub Hrůša, and a debut in Padua with the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto conducted by Gerard Korsten. In addition to this he also debuted in recitals at the Kennedy Centre in Washington and at La Jolla in San Diego.
Josef Špaček performs solo in Europe, USA and Asia with Philadelphia Orchestra, PKF – Prague Philharmonia, Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Essen Philharmonic, Tonkünstler Orchestra Lower Austria, RAI National Symphony Orchestra Torino, Kansas City Symphony, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, etc.
He has collaborated with conductors such as Jiří Bělohlávek, Jakub Hrůša, Valery Gergiev, Christoph Eschenbach, Manfred Honeck, Semyon Bychkov, Asher Fisch, Roy Goodman, Eliahu Inbal, Jun Märkl, Thomas Søndergård, Thomas Sanderling, Giordano Bellincampi, Tomáš Netopil, Marco Angius and Rossen Milanov.
recitals – recordings
Josef Špaček also takes part in recitals on European stages (e.g. in the Rudolfinum in Prague, Konzerthaus in Vienna and the spa town Schloβ Elmau) as well as in Asia and the United States.
In 2015 he recorded violin concerts by Dvořák and Janáček as well as Suk’s Phantasy with the Czech Philharmonic and Jiří Bělohlávek, all for the Supraphon recording company. The recording immediately gained accolades, amongst others as “Recording of the Week” for The Sunday Times and “Recording of the Month and of the Year” for MusicWeb International. In 2013 he recorded works of Smetana, Janáček and Prokofiev for the same company as a debut recording. In 2010 he recorded, this time for Naxos, the works of H. W. Ernst. His first CD, which was released in 2006 by Artesmon, contains the complete Sonatas for solo violin by Eugène Ysaÿe.
Looking back I think there won’t come better times than the years of student life. It is the time of discovering, absorbing all sorts of knowledge and experience. All of that shaping of one’s personality is then reflected also in the artistic character of the person that gradually emerges. The more you learn, the broader your outlook and the more creative you get.
I like it when students already have a vision of their own at an early age, an idea of what they want to achieve in life. Don’t be afraid to be ambitious and forceful, but at the same time stay modest and don’t forget the importance of self-reflection. Be curious and ask about anything.”
I have visited Kroměříž several times. It is one of the most beautiful towns, rich in culture, and thus an ideal place for a music academy. I am looking forward to my stay in Moravia.
Tomáš is a great and respected figure on an international scale. It certainly is great that he makes an effort for such an important thing as the education of future generations. I deeply admire him for that and support him in this endeavour and hope that the project will continue to develop successfully.