Peep into our history

Together with the Czech opera ensemble, this permanent symphonic orchestra is the most significant musical activity in Ostrava after the World War I. In 1929, it was founded as a radio ensemble, thus becoming an important part of the Czechoslovakian musical scene. For major period scores (Bartók, Schönberg) it was joined by the opera orchestra, often also in case of guest appearances of significant conductors and composers, such as Igor F. Stravinsky, Sergei S. Prokofiev, and also Paul Hindemith, who grew fond of Ostrava and visited repeatedly. It was in 1954, however, when the current ensemble was really founded, when Ostrava Symphony Orchestra was established and led by Otakar Pařík. Since 1962, it performed as Státní filharmonie Ostrava (led by Václav Jiráček), and in 1971, led by a longtime chief conductor Otakar Trhlík, its name was changed to the current form Janáčkova filharmonie Ostrava (Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava). During the whole of its existence Janáčkova filharmonie Ostrava was often invited to tours abroad, besides other countries in Europe mainly to the USA, Japan, China, Australia or South Korea.

Janáčkova filharmonie Ostrava has given a number of guest performances at various international music festivals. Besides the already mentioned conductors also other major Czech and foreign guests performed with the JFO, such as V. Neumann, V. Smetáček, J. Bělohlávek, L. Pešek, Z. Mácal, V. Válek, P. Altrichter, J. Hrůša, J. Valčuha, Ch. Mackerras, S. Baudo, H. Rilling, M. Jansons, V. Fedosejev, I. Fischer, H. M. Förster etc. And also other significant soloists performed with the JFO, such as P. Domingo, J. Carreras, M. Caballé, B. Hendricks, E. Urbanová, S. Richter, I. Moravec, J. Suk, A. Navarra, M. Rostropovič, P. Šporcl, S. Nakarjakov, R. Baborák, J. Boušková, D. Ishizaka and a number of other masters of their disciplines.

Current situation

Current performances of the orchestra are strongly influenced by two recent significant chief conductors – Christian Arming and Theodore Kuchar, and also influence of Petr Vronský should not be omitted. The result is an overall plasticity and colorfulness of sound with clear elements of the Slavonic mentality audible mainly in the softness of the strings.

JFO is the first among Czech orchestras in performing contemporary works, including those requiring a big number of artists, often as Czech premieres, mainly thanks to conductor and composer Petr Kotík. For example the guest appearance of JFO at Prague Spring 1999 in huge Stockhausen’s Gruppen for three orchestras became legendary; the performance in the Spanish Hall of the Prague Castle was so successful that the demanding, almost thirty-minute long composition had to be played again. Among other regularly-played authors are John Cage, Morton Feldman, and Iannis Xenakis.

The home hall of the Philharmonic is Dům kultury města Ostravy. In 2014, the orchestra celebrates 60th anniversary. The orchestra opens the season with a new management (Jan Žemla became the director in 2012), new visual style, morediverse offer of concert activities, and a new concert hall in a multi-purpose Gong hall in Dolní oblast Vítkovice.


Janacek Philharmonic Ostrava is launching its 60th concert season with a new vision: to open up. It‘s been one of the best Czech orchestras since its establishment in 1954, but it is not getting old. Even after that long time of strengthening the position as a major body of Czech music it has a lot to show up.

The orchestra is regularly invited abroad (recently for example USA, China, and Korea), and it performs with both young promising stars and famous soloists and conductors. Its repertoire ranges from the very classics to recent undiscovered pieces.

All the musicians belong to the top of their field, but the biggest advantage of the orchestra is its complexity: musicians are well coordinated and at every concert they serve a convincing performance.

And those afraid that 60 years is a bit too much should attend one of our concerts and check out the freshness of our music. That is precisely our mission.

Conductors & Soloists Who Performed With Our Philharmonic

Maris Jansons
Serge Baudo
Václav Neumann
Karel Ančerl
Charles Mackerras
František Jílek
Václav Smetáček
Jiří Bělohlávek
Helmuth Rilling
Kirill Kondrashin
János Ferencsik
Sviatoslav Richter
Josef Suk
Rudolf Firkušný
Plácido Domingo
José Carreras
Diana Ross
Lazar Berman
Monserrat Caballé
Josef Páleníček
André Navarra
Peter Dvorský
Michail Jurovskij

Recently Involved Conductors & Soloists

Leoš Svárovský
Heiko Mathias-Förster
Petr Altrichter
Alexandar Marković
Lukazs Borowicz
Leo McFall
Ivan Ženatý
Radek Baborák
Matej Arendárik
Jiří Hanousek
Shirley Brill
Kirill Gerstein

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