Czech Radio Ensembles
The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra was established in 1926 and its history dates back to the virtually beginning of Czech Radio's broadcasts. During its existence the orchestra has built up a very high reputation, thanks to its rich programme and ever-improving artistic standards. It has become an essential part of the Czech concert scene and a welcome guest at concert halls abroad.
The PRSO has been led by many important conductors over the years, including C. Munch, F. Konwitschny, H. Scherchen, G. Rozhdyestvensky, S. Baudo, L. Segerstam, C. Mackerras and V. Neumann. Among composers whose work the orchestra has premiered are A. Honegger, A. Khachaturjan and K. Penderecki.
Under Vladimír Válek, who has led it in the period 1985-2011, the orchestra has reached a very high professional level. Since the 2011-12 season, chief conductor Ondrej Lenárd has taken over the artistic leadership of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra with Ronald Zollman as its main guest conductor. At the present time, the orchestra performs concerts within the framework of a season ticket system at the Dvořák Hall at Prague's Rudolfinum. It is a regular guest at several important cultural events (such as the Prague Spring, the Prague Autumn, Smetana's Litomyšl, the Moravian Autumn, etc.). The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra is proud to regard itself as one of the most important radio orchestras in Europe. The artistic standing of the orchestra is confirmed by the positive reaction it meets on foreign tours, both from audiences and critics. The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra has appeared in Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, Turkey, Switzerland, France, Greece, England, South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, and the United States. The orchestra also boasts a rich recording career. It records for leading companies such as Supraphon, Radioservis, Pony Canyon, Clarton. The latest projects realised in cooperation of Czech Radio and Supraphon include recordings of the complete symphonies of A. Dvořák, P. I. Tchaikovsky and the piano concerts of V. J. Tomášek.
The Brno Radio Orchestra of folk instruments (BROLN) was established in February 1952 with the task of providing interpretations of folk songs and instrumental music to a professional standard. Its make-up is based on that of traditional folk bands, with a basis of strings, dulcimers and clarinets, to which are added such characteristic folk instruments as bagpipes, pipes and mouth harp. After a hiatus of several years the orchestra was revived in April 2006 under František Černý.
The history of the Big Band goes back to the 1960s, when it was called the Dance and Jazz Orchestra. It was founded by and first led by the excellent Czech jazz musician and composer Karel Krautgartner. Over the years many personalities whose names have become part of Czech jazz history have passed through the orchestra: among them Luděk Hulan, Richard Kubernát, Václav Král, Laco Déczi, Milan Ulrich. In 2002 Felix Slováček was replaced as chief conductor of the Czech Radio Big Band by Václav Kozel. Since 1 January 2013, the Big Band has been cooperating with Czech Radio under a two-year contract resulting in performances and licence agreements and cementing the relationship between the Big Band and Czech Radio. This has marked the start of a new era for the ensemble as Czech Radio’s long-term collaborator under the leadership of Gustav Brom.
The Disman Children's Radio Ensemble was established in September 1935 and was led until 1973 by its founder, the renowned teacher and radio director Miloslav Disman. The ensemble was then taken over by Jan Berger until it came under the leadership of Zdena and Václav Flegl. As well as taking part in radio programmes, the ensemble has its own repertoire.
The choir was established in 1945 and first conducted by Bohumil Kulínský, followed by Čestmír Stašek. Since 1992 the choir has been led by Blanka Kulínská. The children perform at many radio events in the studios, direct transmissions and public concerts. The choir has achieved a high artistic standard and the children often represent Czech choral art on Czech Radio and abroad.