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The Vltava Philharmonic

3. září 2020

The Capital City of Prague plans to build a new concert hall, housed in the broader framework of a contemporary music centre that will achieve global standards (in terms of acoustics, capacity, layout, design, technical and architectural solution, urban setting) and thereby seal Prague’s international reputation as a cultural metropolis and symbol of Czech music traditions. The project is moving to the next phase as the Prague Council approved its continuation.

Update: The council of the capital city Prague have approved the continuation of the Vltava philharmonic project (15/2/2021)

→ Czech version

The vision

Prague is a magical place in the centre of Europe. It has long-term ambitions to not only to beat as the heart of Europe but also be a city that residents love and identify with—a city that is a true home to its 1.5 million residents, is dynamically evolving its cultural and economic centres and is an attractive tourist destination, a city that aims to not only be the Czech Republic’s cultural metropolis but Europe’s sought-after cultural destination. This is its legacy, accumulated over the span of many centuries, when it was at the crossroads of cultures and had a considerable influence over the cultural progress of the entire continent. At the same time, Prague wants to be a city that stimulates the imagination and creative activity of its residents and visitors. It strives to offer unforgettable experiences that enrich our lives and elevate our spirits.

Despite the above, we must admit that one of the most serious problems Prague is facing is the conflict between certain elements of modern times and the material and spiritual legacy of its past. This conflict has resulted in a number of flawed and often irreversible interventions into the city’s centuries-old urban and architectural appearance, for example, in the historical city centre of Prague, which was not and could not be designed for today’s intensity of use.

For this reason, Prague needs to look for new centres, to clearly identify these locations for development over the coming century in a manner that will allow future generations to be proud of the city.

To make these new centres natural extensions of the existing historical centre, we will need to instil a process of their emergence into the public and a cultural dimension that will respond to the calls to create a new concert hall corresponding to the demands of the 21st century.

No new concert hall for symphonic music has been built in Prague for more than 100 years. The most recently built venue, the Smetana Hall at the Municipal House, opened its doors at the end of 1912. The Dvořák Hall at Rudolfinum opened in 1885. Even though both venues have undergone renovations, they are still historical venues. They do not meet the demands of the 21st century and no longer even completely service the needs for symphonic music in general.

The project to construct a new concert hall will provide the fundamental drive to develop a new city centre for Prague. It will provide an abundance of options to develop an interesting building and create a new cultural and architectural centre in the city.

The transformation site at Holešovice-Bubny-Zátory is one of the largest and most important of Prague’s brownfields. The new philharmonic building at the Vltavská site will drive initiation as a symbol of the area’s rebirth and launch a new dimension in the city’s natural development.

The Vltava River has been the chief artery of Prague since times immemorial. The entire city is built around it, has grown alongside it and bloomed. Its significance to Prague is enormous. Building the new concert hall on its banks is therefore more than merely symbolic, it signifies natural progress in the city’s development. Bonding the Philharmonic with the river will reinforce continuity in Prague’s development along its fluvial artery.

Erecting the new centre to house the Vltava Philharmonic will be an enormous task. The cultural and social maturity of the present generation may be well inferred from the ambitious tasks it sets for itself and how it achieves them. To want nothing is not equal to being wise and humble; on the contrary, it suggests smallness and cluelessness, without a vision and without a view of the future.

Prague’s aims to be known not only as a city of monuments but also as a centre of inspirational, living culture. Constructing the new Vltava Philharmonic will considerably strengthen and support this ambition.

The Vltava Philharmonic will be a living, open space serving the residents of Prague every day and functioning as a space to welcome all the citizens of the country on a regular basis.

All our efforts are being directed to achieve pride in the Vltava Philharmonic. We possess the foundations to build on and a well-respected Czech music tradition that for us represents commitment and inspiration.

The Vltava Philharmonic will strengthen the role of a respected and successful Prague in Europe. The music centre will be an instrument to cultivate the urban environment and encourage diverse activities for Prague’s residents and visitors. It will link the historical heritage in cultural traditions with new trends in culture and arts.

The city’s new, main cultural and architectural feature will become an important must-see highlight for visitors from around the world.

There is no better time to devise and prepare similar plans than the present, but it may be affected by the global pandemic and related economic recession and downturn. Only the economically or socially prepared will be successful during the future boom.

Prague needs the Vltava Philharmonic! Prague wants the Vltava Philharmonic!

Project Development and Project Team

  • The start of phase 2 of the project is currently being prepared, the main goal of which is to obtain project documentation for the new buildings. The first step begins with an architectural tender, the assignment of which will be based on a usability analysis, prepared jointly by the team of the Vltava Philharmonic (Institute of Planning and Development of the Capital City of Prague and the Prague City Hall) together with interested parties. The assignment will then also be discussed by the Commission of the Prague City Council for the construction of a concert hall.
  • Negotiations are also taking place with the government on its financial participation, and a more detailed economic model of the operation of the building is being developed and is in coordination with other projects within the entire Bubny-Zátory area. 
  • Complete version of the Feasability study can be downloaded here
  • Presentation of the usability analysis for the media can be found here
  • Construction of a concert hall is also declared by the Memorandum on cooperation and mutual support in the development of the new concert hall, between the capital city Prague and The Society for the construction of a new concert hall in Prague, approved Council Resolution no. 587 of 27/4/2010.
  • In October 2019 a project team led by Ing. arch Martin Krupauer was established by resolution of the Prague City council. At the same time the Prague City Council Commission for the creation of a concert hall dedicated to the agenda related to this project was also created.

 

Project team

Martin Krupauer

Martin is the head of the Vltava Philharmonic project team, appointed by the Prague City Council resolution. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Civil Engineering at ČVUT (Czech Technical University and Faculty of Architecture at AVU (Academy of Fine Arts) in Prague. He has rich professional experience as an architect in the Czech Republic and abroad. For many years, he led the cultural centre at Solnice and the creative epicentre “Bazilika” in České Budějovice. He created the concept and designed the poly-functional centre “Forum Karlín” in Prague. Since 1989, he has owned and managed A8000, his own architectural studio. He frequently lectures on architecture and regional development. He has been on the jury of many international architectural competitions. He is a guest member of the Slovak Chamber of Architects.

 

Martin Gross

Martin is the deputy head of the Vltava Philharmonic project team and founding member of the Association for the Construction of a New Concert Hall in Prague (est. 2010), where he presently serves as deputy chairman. He is a graduate of the University of Economics in Prague and has been involved long-term in the production and organizational management of cultural and sports events. He is also the owner and director of a production company. As a consultant, he was involved in the construction and preliminary operations of Prague’s O2 Arena, the preparation and construction of the Forum Karlín in Prague, and in cooperation with the M1 studio, the preparations to construct the Janáček Music Centre in Brno.

 

 

Monika Habrová

Monika has been leading the Vltava Philharmonic project at IPR Prague since 2019. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture at ČVUT (Czech Technical University) in Prague, and before that, she studied at TU Eindhoven. She is a former member of the FABRICations studio in Amsterdam, which focuses on sustainable urban strategies and planning. Since 2016, she’s been with the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Prague), where she focuses on architecture competitions and public space projects. She was involved, for example, with the Bělohorská Street Revitalization Project and in drafting the concept to develop Prague’s Exhibition Grounds. She led the competition for the new Prague urban furniture designs for tram/bus stops and railings. In her own practice, she was involved in the study for the ‘Lošbates’ Elementary School, which won 2nd place in an international architectural competition.

 

Petra Hrubešová

Petra has been a member of the Vltava Philharmonic project team since 2019. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at ČVUT (Czech Technical University) in Prague, she also studied at ENSA Nantes. She has been with the Prague Institute of Planning and Development since 2014, focusing on designing buildings and organizing architecture competitions. In Prague, she was closely involved in defining the architecture competition for the Bělohorská Street Revitalization Project and for the Transformation of the Vítězné (Victory) Square in Prague 6. She also has her own practice, and her team designs public buildings. She was involved in the architectural studies for the swimming pool at Písek, the Museum of the 20th Century in Berlin, and the ‘Lošbates’ Elementary School.

Supporting us

Jakub Hrůša (1981)

 Jakub Hrůša is one of the most active and influential representatives of Czech musical culture and Czech conductor academies in the world. He is a regular guest at leading orchestras in both Europe and the USA. He currently works as chief conductor of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, and principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In the years 2009–2015, he worked as music director and chief conductor of the orchestra PKF – Prague Philharmonia. His most important engagements include numerous, repeated invitations to the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Orchester de Paris, Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He is also a regular guest at the BBC Proms and in the coming season, he will make his début at the Salzburg Festival. Aside from the concert repertoire Hrůša is very close to opera, being a frequent guest at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, the Vienna State Opera, London’s Royal Opera, Opera national de Paris and the Frankfurt Opera, and occasionally on the Czech opera scene. He recently won the BBC Music Magazine Award for recording songs by Dvořák and Martinů, as well as a DVD recording of Vanessa’s opera from the Glyndebourne Festival. An active interest in the personality of Josef Suk, Antonín Dvořák’s son-in-law, was reflected in his work last year at the Dvořák Festival in Prague and in the most recent season of the Czech Philharmonic orchestra. Suk’s complete orchestral work is now his priority recording project. The common denominator of his activities abroad is the persistent promotion of works by Czech creators. For this activity in 2020 he was awarded the Antonín Dvořák Prize by the Academy of Classical Music.

The motives for Jakub Hrůša’s support of the Vltava Philharmonic are evident: “Czech musical art, both past and present is one of the foremost things our country can be proud of in front of the whole world. Many creators and performers have been for centuries, and still are, ranked among the world’s best. But so far, we lack the facilities provided by modern concert halls of this category. Prague urgently needs a space where not only the music of Mozart, Smetana and Dvořák, can be perfectly captured and resonate majestically but also where the powerful music of noble Baroque polyphonies, the enveloping compositions of great romanticism or the latest contemporary music can be greatly appreciated. Only then will we be able to take full advantage of the precious talents of our country in the field of musical art. Only then, will our music really be able to shine."

 

Martin Kratochvíl (1946)

A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, he received a doctorate in philosophy and psychology, from Charles University in Prague. He became a renowned jazz musician and the leader of the legendary group Jazz Q with whom he recorded dozens of albums in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe. He also acts in an acoustic formation along with the American guitarist Tony Ackerman and the Iranian percussionist Imran Musa Zangi. In his time, he was the best Czech keyboard player and a pioneer in the playing of synthesizers. He has also composed music for eleven feature films and some five hundred documentaries. After 1989, he became producer of the first film financed by private funds (Tank Battalion). In 1988, he founded the multimedia group Bonton which became a dominant player in the entertainment market. In recent times, this conglomerate of eighteen companies has found new owners. Kratochvil is fully engaged in performing, composing and recording music and documentary films in his Budíkov studio. He is an avid lover of Mountaineering in the Himalayas and is also a private pilot.

Regarding his support of the project Vltava Philharmonic Martin Kratochvil says: “The ideas behind my approval are simple: A guy heavily involved over the years in music as well as in the production and business side of it, will be very pleased with the fact that he can still keep his finger on the pulse of time and that he might modestly help these good things that will surely outlive him. It might be worth adding that God will help us to do it. So, let’s go for it ..." 

 

Robert Kolář (1959)

Director of the Academy of Classical Music (AKH) was there at the inception of The international Dvořák music festival in Prague, whose first edition was held in 2008. A graduate of the Technical University in Brno, he also worked in in both chambers of the Parliament of the Czech Republic in the 1990’s when he became an MP and at the beginning of the new millennium a senator. Together with the intendant Vladimir Darjanin they created and built from Dvořák’s Prague a project, which currently ranks among the most important cultural festivals in the Czech Republic. As part of AKH’s activities, he is behind the announcement of the Antonín Dvořák Award or the organization of an educational program for Czech managers in the culture sector, the Cultural Leadership Summit. In 2018 with the current intendant Jan Simon, they expanded the portfolio of AKH to include other activities – the international competition Concertino Praga in cooperation with Czech Radio and the project Young Philharmonic Orchestra Dvořák’s Prague, based at the Summer Music Academy in Kroměříž. They also focus on publishing related activities. Since 1998 Robert Kolář has acted in the statutory body of the firm Moravian oil mines in Hodonín and subsequently in other companies of the KKCG group.

Why did Robert Kolář decide to support the planned construction of the new Vltava Philharmonic concert hall in the capital? "Prague is a cultural metropolis of world significance and Czech music is an important part of world heritage. Although we have the Rudolfinum and Obecní dům, we lack a truly high class, large and modern concert complex. It is high time to fix it. Vltava Philharmonic is an ambitious and archetypal project whose implementation would give our country the great cultural and social prestige which rightfully belongs to it."

 

Roman Bělor (1958)

The director of the International Prague Spring Music Festival (Pražské jaro, o.p.s.) was born in Prague. After graduating in economics and management at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague (1977–1982, Ing.), he worked for several years in the technical field, but an active interest in music and culture led him in 1989 to the world of Arts and cultural management.

In 1990, he first became a manager of the Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK and in 1992 he was made its director. Between the years 1997–2001, he was Chairman of the Association of Czech symphony orchestras. At the same time, in the period 1993–2001, he was a member of the Advisory Committee for the Prague Spring. He participated in the preparations for the successful candidacy of the City of Prague for the title of European Capital of Culture for the year 2000.

In 2001, the governing board of the Prague Spring, o.p.s. appointed him as director. Since that same year he has also held the position of Vice-Chairman of the Association of Music Festivals of the Czech Republic. In 2003–2005, as a member of the advisory board, he also took part in the preparations for the Czech participation at the World Expo in the Aichi Prefecture in Japan. In April 2005, he served as chief organizer and chairman of the World Conference of the IAMA (International Artist Managers’ Association) held in Prague.

For his work on cultural cooperation between the Czech Republic and France in 1995, he was appointed as a Knight (Chevalier), and in 2001 Officer (Officier) of the Order of Arts and Literature (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) of the French republic. In 2012 he became a member of the board of the International Fund to support UNESCO Culture (Council of the UNESCO International Fund for the Promotion of Culture). Since 1998, he has taught as a visiting lecturer in the Department of Music Production at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.

In 2010, he co-founded and is now chairman of the Association for the construction of a new concert hall in Prague and a member of the Coordination Committee of the City of Prague which was created to realize this goal. Apart from music, he is interested in fine arts and contemporary history. He is a member of the Association of Fine Artists Mánes and the Club for Old Prague.

According to Roman Bělor, the construction of a new representative concert hall in Prague is becoming more urgent as time progresses: "Thanks to great acoustics and a modern environment, many concert halls around the world have become not only a venue, but also an integral part of artistic performance, like a kind of instrument of instruments where they are able to provide listeners with artistic performance of unprecedented quality in the 21st century environment. They also offer the necessary capacity of a main hall and social space, as well as adequate facilities and technical equipment for performers, spectators and organizers. Prague urgently needs to supplement both historic halls with alternative modern space and free them up for further use, which not only corresponds to their qualities, but also to their capacity.

The absence of such buildings with the corresponding qualities of a main hall increasingly weakens the position of Prague as a music metropolis. It is painful both with regard to the truly unique historical musical heritage of Prague and the Czech lands, and to the strong position of contemporary Czech performers and composers. The situation has already become unbearable on a national scale as Brno began construction of its new hall and Ostrava took significant steps towards implementation.

The fact that contemporary Prague, in contrast to the relatively short period of the First Republic, has completely resigned from the construction of public buildings is generally quite alarming. Taking into account the need to humanize the Vltava environment and thus at the same time urbanize the Bubny area, we are not presented with a desire or a necessity, but rather an obligation! "

The site

The territorial study showing the future appearance of the Bubny area and location at Vltavská is available for download at www.iprpraha.cz/bubny

General project timeline

1/Analytical phase (until 02/2021) – completed

 

2/Design phase (approx. until 12/2025)

  • Acquisition of the necessary studies and other documents
  • Preparation of the assignment of an international architectural competition (tender)
  • International architectural design competition
  • Negotiated procedure without publication and signing of contracts for project documentation
  • Preparation of project documentation and tender documentation


3/Implementation phase (approx. until 12/2031)

  • Supplier selection
  • Processing of implementation documentation
  • Construction of the Vltava Philharmonic

Project schedule download

Dates are indicative and will be specified depending on the progress of the project.

Documents to download

Communication

Contact person: Marek Pražák and Karel Samec, Svengali Communications (prazak@svencom.cz and samec@svencom.cz)

Vltavska_filharmonie_foto

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