The Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra

The Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1949. Two remarkable internationally acclaimed personalities, Václav Talich (Principal Conductor 1949-1952) and Ľudovít Rajter (1949-1976, until 1961 its Artistic Director) asisted at its birth. Other principal conductors that have played their part in the musical evolution of the orchestra include Tibor Frešo, Ladislav Slovák, Libor Pešek, Vladimir Verbickij, Bystrík Režucha, and Aldo Ceccato. From 1991 to 2001 Ondrej Lenárd was Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra. In the 2003/2004 season Jiří Bělohlávek acted as Artistic Director. In 2004 Vladimír Válek became Principal Conductor. From 2007-2009 he was replaced by Peter Feranec and in 2009 the French conductor Emmanuel Villaume became the Principal Conductor. Simultaneously the conductor Leoš Svárovský has been Permanent Guest Conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra since 2007.

Among the many guest conductors it is necessary to mention world-famous artists like Claudio Abbado, Hermann Abendroth, Karel Ančerl, Serge Baudo, Roberto Benzi, Miltiades Caridis, Sergiu Celibidache, James Conlon, Oskar Danon, Christoph von Dohnányi, Vladimir Fedosejev, János Ferencsik, Mariss Jansons, Neeme Järvi, James Judd, Peter Keuschnig, Dmitrij Kitajenko, Ken Ichiro Kobayashi, Kiril Kondrašin, Franz Konwitschny, Alain Lombard, Fabio Luisi, Jean Martinon, Kurt Masur, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Riccardo Muti, Václav Neumann, Antonio Pedrotti, Karl Richter, Mario Rossi, Witold Rowicki, Kurt Sanderling, Sir Malcom Sargent, Peter Schreier, Václav Smetáček, Pinchas Steinberg, Otmar Suitner, Jevgenij Svetlanov, Ralf Weikert, Carlo Zecchi and others.

Zdeněk Košler was awarded the title of honour of Honorary Principal Conductor in memorium.

Numerous famous compsers have also conducted their own compositions with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, among others Krzysztof Penderecki and Aram Khachaturian.

The Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra regularly appears at music festivals all over Europe (Prague Spring, Prague Autumn, Bratislava Music Festival, Wiener Festwochen, Brucknerfest Linz, Carinthisher Sommer, Berliner Festtage, Festival de Strasbourg, Warszawska Jesień, Athens Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Sagra Musicale Umbra). During its numerous international tours, the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra has performed in most European countries, Cyprus, Turkey, Japan, South Korea and the United States of America. The Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra has made a great many recordings for radio broadcasts, television and record companies, including Opus, Supraphon, Panton, Hungaroton, JVC Victor, RCA, Pacific Music, Naxos and Marco Polo. In June 2010 the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra undertook an exceptionally successful 10th anniversary tour of Japan under the leadership of Leoš Svárovský in prestigious concert halls like the Suntory Hall in Tokyo and the Symphony Hall in Osaka. The previous season of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra was closed in Ingolstadt, Germany, under the baton of Rastislav Štúr and the world-famous cellist Misha Maisky.