Conductor Jakub Hrusa served for three seasons as associate conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and upon departure took on three conducting posts simultaneously, one as associate conductor of the highly respected Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. And all this came before his 25th birthday! By then Hrusa was also holder of a recording contract with Czechoslovakia's leading classical label, Supraphon. To assert he was then one of the most promising Czech conductors of his generation would have been something of an understatement, as he has gone on to gain further prestigious conducting posts, both in the concert and operatic worlds, and he has appeared on several acclaimed recordings. Hrusa has conducted orchestras throughout Europe, the U.K., U.S., Australia, and Japan, and in a broad range of repertory: while he has favored Czech music, particularly works by Dvorák, Smetana, Suk, and Janácek, he has scored success in music of Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and many others. In opera Hrusa has led acclaimed performances of works by Bizet, Dvorák, Massenet, Puccini, Britten, and others. Besides Supraphon, he has recorded for DG and Neos. Jakub Hrusa was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, on July 23, 1981. He played the piano in his youth and also became proficient on the trombone. He eventually developed an interest in conducting and enrolled at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts, where he studied conducting with Jirí Belohlávek, Leos Svarovsky, and Radomil Eliska. Hrusa played both the trombone and piano in the student orchestra there and graduated in 2004. By that time he had already held the post of associate conductor with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra for two years. He concluded his service with the CPO in 2005 and that same year took on a trio of assignments: (the aforementioned) associate conductor of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, chief conductor of the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic in Zlin, Czechslovakia, and principal guest conductor of the Prague Philharmonia. Hrusa held his posts in France and Zlin until 2006, the year he signed the recording contract with Supraphon. The deal called for six recordings, and the first two of them appeared in 2006, the latter containing Dvorák's Suite in A and Suk's Serenade for strings and Fantastic Scherzo, all with the Prague Philharmonia. Hrusa had much critical success with the Prague Philharmonia and in 2008 became principal conductor of the ensemble. That same year he conducted acclaimed performances of Bizet's Carmen at both the Glyndebourne Festival and with Glyndebourne on Tour. He also led a performance of Massenet's Werther at Opera Hong Kong. Hrusa debuted in the U.S. in 2009, leading concerts with the Milwaukee and Indiana Symphony orchestras. From 2010, Hrusa has served as music director of Glyndebourne on Tour. In August 2011 Hrusa led an acclaimed performance of Britten's The Turn of the Screw at the Glyndebourne Festival. In September he was named music director at the Royal Danish Opera, effective 2013. But in January 2012 he resigned the post owing to announced budget cuts. He also left the Prague Philharmonia in 2015, but made significant debuts at La Scala, the Vienna State Opera, and the Frankfurt Opera in the 2015-16 season.
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Symphonic Music - Released May 18, 2018 | PentaTone
What an excellent idea it was to put the Concertos for Orchestra by two friends as close as Bartók and Kodály together on a single record! The first, written for Koussevitzky and the Boston Orchestra, has been a hit for over 70 years in programmes and concerts the world over; but the second has, quite unjustly, been conspicuous in its absence since its first performance in 1941. The fruit of a commission from the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra in 1939, the Concerto for Orchestra by Kodály was supposed to have been first performed by the writer in person, but the plan was scotched by the war, which prevented Kodály from leaving his country. The score arrived in the US in the luggage of... Bartók, who carefully packed it up when he began his exile. Short, and made up of a single movement, Kodály's work doesn't bear the mark of the political events of the time. It is a work in a rather pastoral mood, in which elements of baroque concerto grosso are mixed in with traditional popular melodies. The very delicate orchestration almost overshadows the massed ranks of the orchestra demanded by the composer, who would shortly leave behind symphonic composition to write his famous Psalmus Hungaricus and oratorios, before one final Symphony put the capstone on his oeuvre. Jakub Hrůša does perfect justice to this seductive score, painting it in diaphanous colours and a most convincing mystery, at the head of the excellent Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. The young Czech conductor doesn't stop at merely putting these two works on the same record, but works to underline the subterranean links that join them together. His approach to the Concerto for Orchestra by Bartók, which came a few years after Kodály's piece is the opposite of the monumental orchestral work that we normally hear. This renewed version expresses a piercing melancholy which even the thundering of the final Presto can't dissipate. © François Hudry/Qobuz