Jitka Čechová – piano
Jiří Vodička – violin
Jan Páleníček – cello
Recording of the month
The Smetana Trio works with leading conductors – i. a. Jiří Bělohlávek, Libor Pešek, Serge Baudo, John Axelrod, Michael Boder, Tomáš Hanus, Stanislav Vavřínek – and Czech and foreign orchestras, including, for example the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra della Svizzera italiana Lugano, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonic, the ONPL Orchestra Nantes, the Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice, the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra Olomouc.
The Smetana Trio has made a number of recordings for Czech and international labels and has recorded regularly for Supraphon since 2000. This cooperation has brought a number of prestigious awards both at home and abroad – e.g. a CD with works by Smetana, Suk and Novák (Supraphon 2005) received prestigious awards from the French magazines Diapason and Le Monde de la musique. This recording was also chosen by the British BBC Music Magazine as its chamber music recording of the month in August 2005. Another Smetana Trio recording, this time works by Dvořák (Supraphon 2006), was again voted by the BBC Music Magazine as the best recording of the month in September 2006 and later received the BBC Music Magazine Chamber Award for 2007 and also the prestigious French Diapason D’Or. The recording of trios by Tchaikovsky and Dvořák (Supraphon 2008) received the BBC Chamber recording of the month in December 2008. Other Supraphon recording project, released in autumn 2012, are complete piano trios by J. Brahms. The most recent recordings are with works by J. Brahms – 1st part of complete concertos (Double Concerto and Piano Concerto No.1 – TRIART Recording 2013) and complete recording of trios by Shostakovich and Ravel (Supraphon 2014) – MusicWeb International – recording of the month, June 2014. In 2015 the Smetana Trio is realizing the new recording of the complete trios by B. Martinu.
Jitka Čechová completed her piano studies at Prague Conservatory under Jan Novotný and continued at the Academy of Performing Arts under Peter Toperczer. She completed her postgraduate studies under Eugen Indjic in Paris and Vitali Berzon in Freiburg, and took master classes under Rudolf Kehrer in Weimar, and Eugen Indjic and Lazar Berman in Piešťany.
She has been the laureate of numerous international competitions and the subject of critical acclaim as a soloist in many European countries as well as in South Africa, South America and Japan.
She performs regularly on prestigious international stages and festivals both at home and abroad (Edinburgh, Graz, Paris, Frankfurt, Baden-Baden, the Bodensee Festival, Prague Spring, Ticino Musica etc.). For Jitka Čechová, chamber music is one of the essential elements of her musical identity. She has made a number of solo and chamber recordings for Czech and international labels. In 2014 she finished a large project of the complete piano works by Bedřich Smetana for Supraphon (8 CDs).
Jiří Vodička is one of the most distinguished Czech violinists. In his early youth, he gained much attention by winning a number of competitions in 2000 only, e.g. International Violin Competition J. Kocian, Prague Junior Note, Cirenie Talentov. In 2002, he won the 1st prize at the International Violin Competition in Hradec Králové and a special prize for the best participant in the Master classes of Václav Hudeček. In 2004, he won the 1st prize in the International Violin Competition Louis Spohr in Weimar.
At the age of 14, he was admitted to the Institute of Arts at Ostrava University in the class of the renowned teacher Zdeněk Gola. Since 2007 he follows a career as soloist with major Czech pianists as his partners: Martin Kasík, Adam Skoumal and Lukáš Vondráček, and since 2010 he has begun to give his attention as violin teacher of Prague Conservatory.
Jiří is a permanent soloist of the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra at home and on tour. He also is performing regularly with the Prague Philharmonia, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Czech Chamber Orchestra, National Theatre Orchestra and other. Many of his concerts were recorded by Czech Radio and Television.
In 2008, at the age of 20, Jiří Vodička - against several hundred instrumentalists from all over the world - won the first prize at the world renowned Young Concert Artist Competition in Leipzig, gaining admittance to the final round in New York in 2009, where he obtained the 2nd prize.
Jiří Vodička is a guest of prestigious music festivals, e.g. Prague Spring, Young Prague, Grand Festival of China, Hohenloher Kultursommer, Choriner Musiksommer and on the invitation by Gidon Kremer at Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus. He will play at the opening concert of the Musiktage Salzgitter, he will be the soloist in the Prague Symphony Orchestra series under the baton of Jiří Kout, and he will also perform with the Wuhan Philharmonia with Maestro James Liu Peng. Jiří Vodička is playing a fine old Italian violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, made in Turin, 1779, kindly loaned by Florian Leonhard Fine Violins, London.
In 2015 he became the new concert master of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
Jan Páleníček studied at the Conservatory and the Academy of the Performing Arts in Prague under Saša Večtomov and Miloš Sádlo. Close contacts with Paul Tortelier, the world-famous French cellist, made for a happy culmination to his early development. He studied chamber music under his father, Josef Páleníček, and in the class of Josef Vlach – first violin in the legendary Vlach Quartet.
Participation in international competitions has brought Jan Páleníček numerous awards. As a soloist he plays regularly with leading Czech and international orchestras, including the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra Ostrava, the Lugano Festival Orchestra (Switzerland), the Suk Chamber Orchestra, the Hradec Králové Symphony Orchestra, the Pardubice Chamber Philharmonic, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic, the Brno State Philharmonic, the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra - Zlín, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra (Germany), the Prague Philharmonia, the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra Olomouc, and the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic-Durban (South Africa).
His concert tours have taken him not only to numerous Europe countries, but to America, Africa and Japan as well.
He has made numerous recordings for both Czech and internationals labels, and for radio and television.
His recordings of the sonatas of Brahms, Martinů, and Rachmaninov and the concertos of Dvořák, Tchaikovsky and Haydn have been exceptionally well received. For a number of years he taught at the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.
Listen to music samples
of our interpreters >>
Track: Shostakovich - Piano Trio No. I in C minor, Op.8
Interpreter: SMETANA TRIO