Josef Špaček

Violin

Praised for his remarkable range of colours, his confident and concentrated stage presence, his virtuosity and technical poise as well as the beauty of his tone Josef Špaček has gradually emerged as one of the leading violinists of his generation. His performances of a wide range of repertoire demonstrate his “astonishing articulation and athleticism” (The Scotsman) and “a richness and piquancy of timbre.” (The Telegraph).

Read more

Praised for his remarkable range of colours, his confident and concentrated stage presence, his virtuosity and technical poise as well as the beauty of his tone Josef Špaček has gradually emerged as one of the leading violinists of his generation. His performances of a wide range of repertoire demonstrate his “astonishing articulation and athleticism” (The Scotsman) and  “a richness and piquancy of timbre.” (The Telegraph). 

He appears with orchestras including the Orchestre de Paris, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the Bamberger Symphoniker, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Capitole de Toulouse, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino, the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, the Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen and the Kammerakademie Potsdam.

Josef Špaček collaborates with eminent conductors such as Jakub Hrůša, Semyon Bychkov, Manfred Honeck, Valery Gergiev, Thomas Adès, Krzysztof Urbański, James Gaffigan, James Conlon, Maxim Emelyanchev, Jiří Bělohlávek, Thomas Søndergård, Cornelius Meister, Michael Sanderling, David Zinman, Eliahu Inbal, Tomáš Netopil, Paul Daniel, Marc Albrecht, Aziz Shokhakimov, Christian Vasquez, Jahja Ling and Lio Kuokman.

He equally enjoys giving recitals and playing chamber music and is a regular guest at festivals and in concert halls throughout Europe (among others at the Rudolfinum in Prague, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam, the Kronberg Academy, the Evian Festival, the Kaposfest and at Schloß Elmau), Asia and the USA (among others at Kennedy Center, Washington D.C., 92Y in New York,  La Jolla in San Diego, the ChamberFest Cleveland and the Nevada Chamber Music Festival). 

His chamber music partners include Gil Shaham, Kian Soltani, James Ehnes, Clemens Hagen, Gerhard Oppitz, Noah Bendix-Balgley, Máté Szücs, Miroslav Sekera, Tomáš Jamník, Sharon Kam, Kristóf Baráti, Zoltan Fejervari and Suzana Bartal.

Supraphon released a highly praised recording of the violin concertos of Dvořák and Janáček, coupled with the Fantasy of Suk, with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek. The Sunday Times wrote: “The violinist’s individual, deeply considered and virtuosic account of Dvorak’s solo part is the highlight of this keenly conceived programme”, adding that “in this repertoire, Špaček is second to none today.” It was the Recording of the week” of The Sunday Times, “Recording of the month & of the year” of MusicWeb International and it received 5* in Diapason. Other recordings to date are a recital disc with works for violin and piano by Smetana, Janáček and Prokofiev with pianist Miroslav Sekera (Supraphon), works for violin solo and violin and piano by H.W. Ernst (Naxos) and an early CD with the complete Sonatas for Solo Violin by Eugène Ysaÿe.

Josef Špaček studied with Itzhak Perlman at The Juilliard School in New York, Ida Kavafian and Jaime Laredo at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and with Jaroslav Foltýn at the Prague Conservatory. He was laureate of the International Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, and won top prizes at the Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand, the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition in Denmark and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York.

He has served as concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the youngest in its history. The orchestra named him “Associate Artist” as of January 2016. He will leave this post by the end of the 2019/20 season in order to devote himself exclusively to his solo career.

Josef Špaček performs on the ca. 1732 “LeBrun; Bouthillard” Guarneri del Gesù violin, generously on loan from Ingles & Hayday.

He lives in Prague with his wife and their three children. In his spare time he enjoys cycling.

 

Representation

General Management: Nymus Artists
Japan: Amati Tokyo
China: Armstrong Music and Arts

Concerts

  • March 6, 2020, 8:00 pm
    Toulouse, France
    Halle aux Grains
    Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse
    Conductor: Cornelius Meister
    Bruch – Violin Concerto no. 1 in g minor, op. 26

    http://onct.toulouse.fr
Show next concerts
Show less

Reviews

Show more reviews
“Ce grand jeune homme vif et sympathique venait se confronter à l’un des concertos pour violon les plus exigeants du…” →“Ce grand jeune homme vif et sympathique venait se confronter à l’un des concertos pour violon les plus exigeants du répertoire romantique, celui d’Antonin Dvořák. … Les difficultés accumulées n’intimident visiblement pas Josef Špaček qui se lance dans ce défi avec une énergie, une volonté, une virtuosité sans faille, lesquelles mobilisent tout son corps. Le violoniste danse autant qu’il joue cette pièce, avec une élégance naturelle. La clarté de sa sonorité passe aisément celle d’un orchestre très présent et dirigé avec vigueur et relief par Thomas Søndergård. Le soliste occupe tout l’ambitus, jusqu’aux extrêmes aigus avec la même ardeur. Le premier volet de la partition, constitué de l’enchaînement des deux premiers mouvements, est ainsi parcouru comme un conte épique, alternant les épisodes dramatiques et les plages de nostalgie caractéristiques de la « mitteleuropa ». Le violoniste n’élude aucune des difficultés accumulées par le compositeur : doubles cordes, sons harmoniques, trilles diaboliques sont restitués avec panache. Le final, Allegro giocoso ma non troppo, est pris au pied de la lettre. Le soliste et l’orchestre dialoguent sur un rythme de danse d’une jubilation contagieuse. Jusqu’à cette coda conclusive qui semble libérer toute l’énergie accumulée. C’est une acclamation unanime qui salue la performance. Rappelé avec insistance, Josef Špaček offre un bis tout aussi virtuose : le final de la Sonate n° 2 d’Eugène Ysaÿe « Obsession », parcouru du thème obsédant du Dies Irae. Frisson assuré !”” ←
– Classictoulouse, 16/02/2018
“Musicista dall’innata cantabilità, sorretta da una cavata di grande profondità e da un’intonazione vibrante e sicura, a Špaček sembra andare…” →“Musicista dall’innata cantabilità, sorretta da una cavata di grande profondità e da un’intonazione vibrante e sicura, a Špaček sembra andare un po’ stretto lo stile del Mozart più saldamente ancorato alla tradizione settecentesca quale è quello dei giovanili concerti per violino. La sua visione, comunque bilanciata nei passi concertati con l’orchestra, si libera appieno nelle tre cadenze alla fine di ogni movimento, con una libertà nel fraseggio che sarebbe parsa inaudita ai tempi dell’autore, ma oggi apprezzabile nel suo anelito a una rivisitazione in chiave contemporanea di una prassi esecutiva talvolta paludata in un eccessivo rigore filologico. Nell’attesa di ascoltarlo ancora in un opus magnum dell’Otto-Novecento non abbiamo potuto non riconoscere la sua versatilità anche nei due bis concessi a una sala trascinata dalla sua esuberanza giovanile e dal suo sorriso aperto, in grado di contagiare i presenti con l’entusiasmo di far musica. Tra uno sbalorditivo Ysaÿe (Les furies) con la sua ripetuta citazione del Dies irae e un più angelico Bach (Sarabanda dalla seconda partita in re minore) si fa strada la convinzione di trovarsi di fronte a un nome che potrà essere uno dei protagonisti assoluti del concertismo dei prossimi anni.” ←
– L'Ape musicale, 03/06/2017
“Zum Erfolg trug wesentlich der Solist bei, der mit seiner Violine selbst den höchsten Anforderungen von Brahms’ Violinkonzert D-Dur genügte.…” →“Zum Erfolg trug wesentlich der Solist bei, der mit seiner Violine selbst den höchsten Anforderungen von Brahms’ Violinkonzert D-Dur genügte. Wie Josef Špaček sich in diese technisch hoch anspruchsvolle Komposition hineingab, sich völlig vertiefte, ihr Kraft und Fülle verlieh, wie er als gleichwertiger Partner mit dem Orchester kommunizierte, die Energie der Sätze brillant auslebte und der Musik zu einer blendend schönen Wertigkeit verhalf, das war so schön, dass man sich keine schönere Interpretation denken kann. Dazu kam noch die komplexe Kadenz, die voller Tücken steckte und ein Höchstmaß an Konzentration verlangte – das hatte Klasse.” ←
– Emder Zeitung, 18/11/2016