Artist in residence Josef Špaček is looking forward to returning to the Netherlands

Czech violinist and former child prodigy Josef Špaček won many awards and was concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra for ten years. On May 3, he will solo in Berg's Heavenly Violin Concerto.

Josef Špaček (1986) has never before been a guest at the Residentie Orkest, but next season he can be frequently admired as artist in residence of the Residentie Orkest, Royal Conservatoire The Hague and Amare . The violinist expects much from the collaboration: 'It is a comprehensive role and that I get to present myself here in such a diverse way is quite an honor. Both the orchestra and the hall are strangers, I look forward to our acquaintance.' 

Personal top three violin concertos 

Josef brings with him the violin concertos of Dvořák, Beethoven and Berg: his personal top three. He received rave reviews internationally for his recording of Dvořák's Violin Concerto , and The Sunday Times bombarded his performance as "Recording of the week. "Dvořák is close to me, his music feels almost natural. I haven't had Berg's Violin Concerto in my repertoire for very long; it's a gem. But at one for me is still Beethoven's Violin Concerto, a masterpiece I return to every time." 

In addition to solo performances with the Residentie Orkest , Josef plays a recital in the Nieuwe Kerk and master classes with students from the Royal Conservatoire The Hague are scheduled. "I enjoy working with young people and teaching, for as long as I can remember. At home in Prague I have a number of private students and I spend every summer in Horažďovice, a beautiful old town in the Czech Republic, where I teach students at the Ševčík Academy." 

Youngest orchestra member 

Josef began playing the violin at age three and quickly proved to be a musical prodigy. Music was something he inherited from home, his father being a cellist in the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Josef's trophy cabinet is well stocked. For example, he is a multiple prize winner of the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition and in 2012 he was in the final of the Queen Elisabeth Competition. 

Even before he graduated in 2011 from the Juilliard School in New York, where he was taught by Itzhak Perlman, he had already been appointed concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. There, Josef was not only the youngest concertmaster ever, but also the youngest member of the orchestra. "I had a great time there, but it was no longer compatible with my solo and chamber music performances." He is glad to have experienced that side of the profession as well. "As a soloist, you are in many ways a loner anyway. I miss the social element of the orchestral profession, but not all the meetings and administrative obligations, which my position entailed, at all." 

Special offer 

Five years ago, Josef received an unexpected phone call from a Czech violinist living in the Netherlands. "He had found me through YouTube and asked if I would play his 1732 Guarneri del Gesù. Of course I didn't have to think long about that." Not long after, Josef had to be in the Netherlands for a performance in Utrecht's TivoliVredenburg. "The day before the concert I got my hands on the Guarneri. It clicked immediately so I decided to play on it the next day, immediately a live recording for the radio. It was love at first sight; I'll never forget that concert. I have been playing this violin ever since. Our 'relationship' began on Dutch soil, for that reason alone I am happy to return."

"He is one of today's fascinating artists. He impressively manages to lift notes by a wide variety of composers from the score and translate them into personal stories of integrity."

- Sven Arne Tepl, general and artistic director Residentie Orkest

Come hear Josef Špaček in Berg's Violin Concerto on May 3.