The Rudolf Firkusny piano festival is the only festival of its kind in Prague. The programme is entirely devoted to piano music. The Prague autumn music season includes 4 world-renowned concert pianists. Previous participants include: Emanuel Ax, Lukas Vondracek, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Giovanni Bellucci, Lise de la Salle among others.
Rudolf Firkušný (1912 – 1994) was one of the most famous Czech pianists. He performed at prestigious international venues, collaborated with leading orchestras and conductors. He was a pupil of Leos Janacek, Willhelm Kurz and Josef Suk and a great friend of Bohuslav Martinů, who inspired a number of his compositions. As a child prodigy, in just ten years he appeared as a soloist of the Czech Philharmonic in Mozart’s piano concerto. Among his supporters and patrons was the first Czechoslovak president, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk. At the beginning of his artistic career he played a stellar concert in New York during December 1941. Many other famous pianists gave their support. These include Rudolf Serkin, Arthur Rubinstein and Vladimir Horowitz.
Rudolf Firkušný was present at the birth of the Prague Spring International Music Festival in 1946 and where he was recognised as a world renowned concert pianist. In 1948 he left his homeland to protest against the Communist regime. Together with conductor Rafael Kubelik and the soprano Jarmila Novotna, with whom he enjoyed a close friendship, he became a symbol of not only musicianship but also moral strength and fortitude. Czech audiences didn’t get the chance to hear him play again until 1990 with his triumphant return to the country. It symbolically took place at the Prague Spring. This reinforced the importance of the Prague Spring as a spectacular festival honouring artistic personalities of the 20th Century.
Programme 2019 can be found on-line here.
PDF programmes in other languages: 日本語, 简体中文, русский, Deutsch, français.
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