Josef Špaček

Violin

Josef Špaček has gradually established himself as one of the most accomplished violinists of his generation. He 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.

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Josef Špaček has gradually established himself as one of the most accomplished violinists of his generation. He 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.

Highlights during the 2017/18/19 seasons include a return visit to the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Marc Albrecht, as well as debuts with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Capitole de Toulouse and Thomas Søndergård, the Bamberger Symphoniker and Manfred Honeck, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Maxim Emelyanchev, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Michael Sanderling, the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and David Zinman, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and Aziz Shokhakimov, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and Tomáš Netopil, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Christian Vasquez, the Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen and Daniel Blendulf and the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra and Lio Kuokman. He continues to appear as soloist of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra for concerts, both in Prague and on tour, conducted by Semyon Bychkov, Jakub Hrůša and Thomas Adès.

Previous highlights include subscription concerts with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, a return visit to the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino and James Conlon, his debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Jiří Bělohlávek, his Berlin debut with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and Thomas Sanderling, his Amsterdam Concertgebouw debut with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Thomas Søndergård, his Tokyo debut with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Jakub Hrůša and debuts with the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto and Gerard Korsten, the Sønderjylland Symphony Orchestra and Johannes Wildner and the Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen and Adrien Perruchon (recorded by Mezzo Live HD TV), as well as recital debuts in among others Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and La Jolla, San Diego. 

In addition to the afore-mentioned orchestras Josef Špaček has appeared with orchestras across Europe, the US and Asia, such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Prague Philharmonia, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Essener Philharmoniker, Tonkünstlerorchester Niederösterreich, Orchestre National de Belgique, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony and Queensland Symphony Orchestra. 

The late Jiří Bělohlávek was an avid supporter of Josef Špaček and regularly invited him. Other conductors he works with include Semyon Bychkov, James Conlon, Christoph Eschenbach, Asher Fisch, Valery Gergiev, Roy Goodman, Jakub Hrůša, Manfred Honeck, Eliahu Inbal, Jun Märkl, Rossen Milanov, Tomáš Netopil, Thomas Sanderling and Thomas Søndergård.

Josef Špaček gives recitals and takes part in chamber music festivals in Europe (among others at the Rudolfinum in Prague, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Evian Festival, Kaposfest and Schloß Elmau), Asia and the USA (among others at Kennedy Center, Washington D.C., La Jolla, San Diego, ChamberFest Cleveland and Nevada Chamber Music Festival). 

Supraphon released highly praised recordings of the violin concertos of Dvořák and Janáček, and of the Fantasy of Suk, with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek (among others “Recording of the week” of The Sunday Times, “Recording of the month and of the year” of MusicWeb International and 5* in Diapason), as well as a recital disc with works for violin and piano by Smetana, Janáček and Prokofiev with pianist Miroslav Sekera. In 2010 he recorded works by H.W. Ernst for Naxos. His first CD, which was released in 2006, includes a complete recording of the Sonatas for Solo Violin by Eugène Ysaÿe. 

He has served as concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the youngest in its history. The orchestra has named him “Associate Artist” as of January 2016.

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

Representation

General Management: Nymus Artists
Japan: Amati Tokyo

Concerts

  • Oktober 20, 2018, 7:45 pm
    Gleinstätten, Austria
    Schloss Gleinstätten
    Recital
    J.S. Bach – Sonata no. 1 in g minor, BWV 1001
    Ysaÿe – Sonata no. 4 in e minor, op. 27 no. 4
    Prokofiev – Sonata for Solo Violin in D major, op. 115
    Paganini – Caprice no. 24
    Ysaÿe – Sonata no. 3 in d minor, op. 27 no. 3 'Ballade'

    http://www.schlosskonzerte.gleinstaetten.net/
  • November 9, 2018, 8:00 pm
    Charneux, Belgium
    Chapelle de Monty (Charneux)
    Herve
    Ysaÿe – 6 Sonatas for violin solo, op. 27

    https://www.chac.be/musique
  • November 10, 2018, 8:15 pm
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ
    Amsterdam
    Ysaÿe – 6 Sonatas for violin solo, op. 27

    https://www.muziekgebouw.nl
  • November 16, 2018, 8:45 pm
    Mantova, Italy
    Teatro Sociale di Mantova
    Orchestra Leonore
    Dvořák – Violin Concerto in a minor, op. 53

    http://www.fondazionepromusica.it
  • November 17, 2018, 9:00 pm
    Pistoia, Italy
    Teatro Manzoni
    Orchestra Leonore
    Conductor: Daniele Giorgi
    Dvořák – Violin Concerto in a minor, op. 53

    http://www.fondazionepromusica.it
  • December 1, 2018, 7:00 pm
    Bonn, Germany
    Anneliese Brost Musikforum Ruhr
    Bochumer Symphoniker
    Conductor: Steven Sloane
    Fibich – Concert Polonaise

    http://www.bochumer-symphoniker.de
  • December 15, 2018, 7:00 pm
    Lviv, Ukraine
    House of Organ and Chamber Music
    Ukrainian Festival Orchestra
    Conductor: Theodore Kuchar
    Stravinsky – Violin Concerto in D major

    https://gastroli.ua/en/Lviv
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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
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“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