Supporting Czech culture is a key commitment for us. In early autumn, we became a long-term partner of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the greatest jewels of the Czech cultural tradition. Our support is implemented through a specific educational programme, the Joint Orchestra of pupils of the Elementary School and players of the Czech Philharmonic. Within the project, together with the Czech Philharmonic, we will support young talented musicians who will develop their talents alongside experienced philharmonic musicians. The culmination will be a joint concert in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum in Prague on 26 June 2023.
The joint orchestra has been created in cooperation between the Czech Philharmonic and the Association of Primary Art Schools (AZUŠ ČR) since 2014. Every year, thirty philharmonic musicians and sixty pupils from primary art schools, selected from each region of the Czech Republic, take part in the programme. From January to June, they will all meet for preparatory rehearsals and rehearse their joint performance for the large audience of the Dvořák Hall.
“We always try to support projects that make sense, that we can see the benefits of and that are really targeted. And the project of the Joint Orchestra at the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra fulfils all this. It involves sixty talented musicians, mostly between the ages of 12 and 18, who have been practicing honestly with their teachers at the Elementary School since they were very young and music has become their hobby and, for some of them, their professional path in life,” says Lukáš Zrůst, co-owner and founder of the Progresus investment group: “Unfortunately, even the most talented pupils leave playing musical instruments at this age, so we need to work with them in a very targeted way and motivate them. And what could be a greater motivation than to have the opportunity to sit next to an experienced philharmonic, learn from him, and finally perform their art in the Czech cultural sanctuary alongside them in front of a packed hall. There are also a relatively large number of children who, for financial reasons, are unable to fully develop their talents, and it is these who we want to support on their dream journey. No good script, in my opinion, can remain just on paper. I can’t wait for the Rudolfinum to ring with the sounds of young talent in June.”
The selection of the project participants is entirely up to the cooperating primary art schools, which are best informed about the abilities and motivation of their pupils. Some of the participants of the project will later on lead their way to the Czech Student Philharmonic Orchestral Academy, and even directly to the Czech Philharmonic.
“Joining the Joint Orchestra of pupils of the Elementary School and musicians of the Czech Philharmonic is a great challenge for the emerging generation of artists as well as for professionals. Each of the young participants in this project must have great determination and willingness to work on themselves, a desire to develop their talent and be excited about creating together,” says Petr Kadlec, Head of the Czech Philharmonic’s Educational Programmes Department. “Some have already devoted their lives to music and the younger ones have a unique opportunity to see and, above all, experience first-hand the beauty of musical collaboration under the baton of excellent conductors. The first of them was chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, who worked intensively with the Joint Orchestra from 2014 to 2016, and his work was followed by the current conductor, Petr Altrichter. What is more, for some children, participation in the project is even fatal and after graduating from the Joint Orchestra they choose music as their future profession,” adds Petr Kadlec.