Conductor Jiri Belohlavek founded the Prague Philharmonia Orchestra in 1994 to play the large repertory for smaller orchestra works, particularly of the Classical and 20th Century eras, and to do so with the approach of a chamber orchestra.
It is a large ensemble as chamber orchestras go, numbering forty musicians, and sometimes expanding to as high as four dozen. Nevertheless, the orchestra maintains the chamber orchestra principal of listening closely to their colleague's playing and interacting in performance.
The Prague Philharmonia first assembled for rehearsal on August 22, 1994, beginning activities by working on Beethoven's First Symphony with conductor Belohlavek. It debuted on October 28, 1994 in the Spanish Hall of Prague Castle, where it participated under Belohlavek's leadership in the official concert marking the establishment of the Czech Republic after the new nation's separation from Slovakia. Its first subscription was on November 17, 1994, featuring works of Suk, Mozart, and Beethoven. Its first international tour was to Switzerland, June 22-25, 1995.
The Prague Philharmonia performs with leading national and international soloists. A partial list of stars who have appeared with it included Sarah Chang, Kyoko Takezawa, Dmitri Sitkovetski, Raphael Wallfish, Andras Schiff, Ivan Moravec, and Heinrich Schiff. It has played in festivals in Le Mans, Berlin, Leipzig, Flanders, and Hamburg, as well as most major festivals in the Czech Republic. In addition it has toured abroad to Madrid, Berlin, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Italy, Jordan, Japan, France, Belgium, and Austria.
The orchestra broadcasts frequently on Czech radio and television, and has had a busy recording schedule with the Czech labels Multisonic, Clarton, Bohemia Music, Lotos, Studio Matous, and Supraphon. ~ Joseph Stevenson, Rovi