PKF – Prague Philharmonia names new conductor

Emmanuel Villaume will take up the baton in September 2015

PKF – Prague Philharmonia has announced new chief conductor. Jakub Hrůša will pass his baton to Emmanuel Villaume. The agreement was signed at Avery Fisher Hall in New York’s Lincoln Center

The PKF – Prague Philharmonia announced the appointment of conductor Emmanuel Villaume to the position of music director and chief conductor of the PKF – Prague Philharmonia for a three-year term, effective Sept. 1, 2015.

The announcement was made by the orchestra’s managing director Radim Otépka, who praised Villaume’s musical leadership and creative vision together with his command of varying musical styles, according to a press release.

The agreement marks an important new chapter for the PKF – Prague Philharmonia and was signed just minutes after Maestro Villaume took his final bow at this year’s Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala Concert at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall.

“It is a wonderful joy and a privilege to be offered the artistic leadership of such a prestigious musical institution,” Villaume said in a press release. “I have always been inspired by the professionalism, commitment, and elegance of its musicians, who strike a perfect balance in performance between musical precision and passion. I am very much looking forward to building the relationship further, and sharing our love for music with every listener.”

The French-born conductor, who has performed and recorded with the orchestra, has already been engaged to lead the PKF – Prague Philharmonia in two New Year’s Concerts at the Royal Opera House in Oman at the end of this year.  Previous collaborations between Maestro Villaume and the orchestra include a Deutsche Grammophon recording with Anna Netrebko, a Warner Classics release with Bryan Hymel, seasonal concerts and several European tours.

“Emmanuel’s appointment continues our tradition of musical excellence and strong leadership. It additionally opens new opportunities for the orchestra in Prague, as well as internationally,” explains PKF Chairman Martin Klimpl. “These are going to be very exciting years for all of us and we are so thrilled to have him as our next music director and chief conductor.”

Villaume was born in Strasbourg, France in 1964.  His musical education commenced at the Strasbourg Conservatory and continued in Paris, where he received multiple degrees in literature, philosophy and musicology.  Appointed Music Director of the Dallas Opera in 2013, Maestro Villaume also serves as Chief Conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in Bratislava (since 2009).  Previously, Villaume served as Chief Conductor of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra (2008-2013) and as Music Director of the Spoleto Festival USA from 2001 until 2010.

The PKF – Prague Philharmonia is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The centerpiece of PKF’s activities in Prague is its orchestral series at the Rudolfinum Concert Hall.

The PKF – Prague Philharmonia was founded in 1994 at the initiative of Jiří Bělohlávek. He was at its helm until 2005, when he was named the orchestra’s conductor Laureate. Renowned Swiss flutist and conductor, Kaspar Zehnder assumed the role of chief conductor until 2008, when Jakub Hrůša was appointed chief conductor and music director.

The PKF – Prague Philharmonia is supported by by the City of Prague and the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.

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