The PKF – Prague Philharmonia, originally called Prague Philharmonia, was founded in 1994 at the initiative of the world-famous conductor Jiří Bělohlávek (1946-2017). Soon after its founding, the PKF – Prague Philharmonia joined the ranks of the most respected Czech orchestras and established great renown in Europe and elsewhere in the world.
The PKF – Prague Philharmonia is beloved for its characteristic sound, created in large part by the key focus of its repertoire: Viennese Classicism, pieces by Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. The repertoire also includes Romance compositions, as well as modern and contemporary music, performed within a Special Concert series unique among the selections of Czech orchestras. As far as Czech composers are concerned, the orchestra finds itself – thanks to Jiří Bělohlávek – most ‘at home’ with the work of Bohuslav Martinů.
At the threshold of the 2015 -16 season the respected French conductor Emmanuel Villaume will take the helm of the orchestra in order to enrich it with his distinctive perspective on a limitless repertoire of classical music and a dynamism all his own. His predecessor for seven seasons in the post of Chief Conductor and Music Director was Jakub Hrůša, a representative of the younger generation now ranked among the global conducting elite. Second Chief Conductor of the PKF – Prague Philharmonia was from 2005 to 2008 the Swiss conductor and ﬂautist Kaspar Zehnder. The ensemble’s founder, the globally celebrated Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, was at its helm until 2005, when he was named the orchestra’s Conductor Laureate.
The PKF – Prague Philharmonia is a regular guest at international music festivals, frequently performs at prestigious world concert halls and is a regular partner of world-famous conductors and soloists, including András Schiff, Thomas Hampson, Isabelle Faust, Sara Chang, Mischa Maisky, Rolando Villazón or Anna Netrebko.
The orchestra has recorded over 80 CDs released by leading Czech and world international publishers, such as Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, Supraphon, EMI, Warner Classics and Harmonia Mundi. A number of them have been awarded prizes, such as the Diapason d’Or.
The Municipality of Prague and the Czech Ministry of Culture have been long-term supporters of PKF – Prague Philharmonia.