Czech Philharmonic

Semyon Bychkov, Chief Conductor & Music Director


Wednesday 24 June 2020 streamed live from 8pm CET

Click here for a video message from Semyon Bychkov

Performing to an audience in excess of 500, the Czech Philharmonic’s concert on Wednesday 24 June is the culmination of a series of concerts that the Orchestra has presented since the beginning of lockdown which started with two players wearing masks and has built to an orchestra of 62 players. With borders opening across the Schengen area on 15 June, the concert celebrates the re-opening of galleries, museums, cinemas and theatres in the Czech Republic. 

Held in the grounds of the neo-gothic Sychrov Castle just outside Prague, the performance will be conducted by Chief Conductor and Music Director Semyon Bychkov in his first appearance with the Orchestra since the start of the pandemic. Current regulations stipulate that audience seating will be arranged 20 centimetres apart and regulations on masks are being relaxed all the time. 

The concert – on the evening of Midsummer’s Day – opens appropriately with Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture and Scherzo followed by Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E flat major. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 will close the concert which will be broadcast live on Czech TV and via the Czech Philharmonic’s Facebook.

Prior to the concert each of the musicians taking part, in addition to conductor Semyon Bychkov, trumpet soloist Stanislav Masaryk and, presenter Marek Eben, will be tested for coronavirus. 

Attesting to the importance of the occasion, the concert will be attended by Czech Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek in collaboration with the National Heritage Institute. The concert is a thank you to the doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals from across the Czech Republic who have been fighting the pandemic and will form a large proportion of the invited guests. The Czech Philharmonic’s first Covid-19 benefit was also in their honour and raised a record 7.5 million crowns (£250,000) from an international audience of more than 180,000.

The Czech Philharmonic launched a series of summer chamber concerts as soon as it was possible for audiences in the Czech Republic to attend concerts at the beginning of June. The belief in music’s power to change lives has always been a fundamental tenant of the Czech Philharmonic philosophy. In addition to raising funds for healthcare workers during the coronavirus lockdown, the Orchestra organised three further benefit concerts – in collaboration with Czech TV, Czech Savings Bank (Česká spořitelna) and Škoda Auto – raising funds for the charity ŽIVOT 90 and the People in Need Foundation (Člověk v tísni). The concert on 13 June marked World Blood Donor Day.