Richard Wagner

from "Tannhäuser"

  • Prelude to Act I
Richard Strauss

Don Juan

Zwei Gesänge

for a low bass voice with orchestral accompaniment op. 51

  • Das Thal
  • Der Einsame

from "Intermezzo"

  • Träumerei am Kamin

from "Die schweigsame Frau"

  • Final monologue of Sir Morosus
Rémy Ballot
Pilsner Philharmonie
Günther Groissböck

Copyrights: Reinhard Winkler
Copyrights: Reinhard Winkler

Rémy BallotThe Paris-born violinist and conductor Rémy Ballot is “Conductor in Residence” at the Richard Strauss Festival. He was the last pupil of Sergiu Celibidache, whom he met at the age of 16. After the death of his teacher, Rémy Ballot founded his own orchestra in Paris, which he conducted for five years. He studied violin with Gérard Poulet at the Paris Conservatoire and received further musical inspiration from Ivry Gitlis.

Since 2011, Rémy Ballot has established himself internationally with his interpretations of Bruckner’s symphonies. Considered by some to be the best Bruckner conductor of his generation, his live recordings of all Bruckner symphonies as part of the Bruckner Festival St. Florian serve as reference recordings and have won numerous awards, including the Diapason d’or Découverte, four times the Supersonic Prize of the online magazine Pizzicato and several nominations for ICMA (International Classical Music Awards) and Grammy.

In his work with the orchestra “Klangkollektiv Wien”, which he founded together with the clarinettist and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra member Norbert Täubl, he is breaking new ground in exploring the repertoire of the First Viennese School. The inaugural concert with works by Haydn, Webern and Schubert was enthusiastically received by the Viennese and German press. This collaboration has also resulted in numerous CDs, which have met with a unanimous, in some cases hymnic, response from specialist critics. In the 2022/23 season, Ballot made his debut with Klangkollektiv Wien at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the Prinzregententheater in Munich. He has been Conductor in Residence at the Richard Strauss Festival since 2024.

Rémy Ballot is also in demand internationally as an orchestra teacher. He works with orchestras in Spain, Albania, Croatia, Japan and Israel, where he was involved in founding the FYMO – Filasteen Young Musicians Orchestra – of the Barenboim-Said Foundation in Ramallah and with which he toured Palestine and Jordan. In 2019 and 2022 he conducted the National Orchestra of Cuba and the Lyceum Mozartiano de la Habana in Cuba in a series of concerts. He has also worked with the Orchestre National Philharmonique des Pays de la Loire, the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, the Vienna State Opera Stage Orchestra, the Ossiach Academy Orchestra and the Salzburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

In parallel to his work as a conductor, he continues his activity as Primarius of the Ballot Quartet/Quintet. In 2020, his CD recording of Bruckner’s String Quartet and String Quintet was praised in extensive reviews in the magazines Diapason and Crescendo and on the ORF radio station Ö1 as new reference recordings. He also won the Supersonic Prize for this CD and was nominated for the ICMA.

(c) Plzeňská Filharmonie
(c) Plzeňská Filharmonie

Pilsner PhilharmonieThe Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra, successor to the Pilsen Radio Orchestra, is an orchestra with a remarkable history and cultural tradition. Over the years, it has developed into an important orchestra whose art of interpretation is appreciated internationally. Its artistic achievements are a flagship not only for the city of Pilsen and the region, but for the entire Czech Republic. After the Second World War, the important era of symphonic music in Pilsen was closely linked to the Pilsen Radio Orchestra, which has given countless performances at home and abroad since 1946 and, as the name suggests, made important recordings and live radio broadcasts. The orchestra’s direction has been shaped by strong personalities such as conductors Josef Hrnčíř, Antonín Devátý, Josef Blacký, Martin Turnovský, Bohumír Liška and many others. The orchestra undertakes numerous tours abroad and performs on renowned stages throughout Europe and the USA. These include the Philharmonie im Gasteig Munich, the Liederhalle Stuttgart, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, the Brucknerhaus Linz, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Tonhalle Zurich and the Dvořák Hall in Prague’s Rudolfinum. In August 2017, the orchestra performed in the new Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg.

Plans for 2024 include another appearance at the Richard Strauss Festival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen as well as projects in connection with the anniversaries of Bedřich Smetana (e.g. Engadin Festival St. Moritz, Festival Europäische Wochen Passau, Konzerthaus Dortmund) and Anton Bruckner (Brixen Cathedral, Schaffhausen). In recent seasons, a number of outstanding instrumentalists and singers have performed with the Pilsen Philharmonic, including Xavier de Maistre, Gautier Capuçon, Sergej Nakarjakov, Daniel Müller-Schott, Lilya Zilberstein, Tai Murray, Pascal Roge, Juliane Banse, Thomas Oliemans, Dimitri Ashkenazy, Jeremy Menuhin, Louis Schwitzgebel and Andrea Bocelli. Important guests in the past have included Ramon Vargas, Montserrat Caballé and a number of important conductors such as Sir Charles Mackerras, Václav Talich, Libor Pešek and Jiří Bělohlávek. The orchestra regularly records for Czech Radio and continues the tradition of the years 1946 – 1993 (Pilsen Radio Orchestra). For other labels, it recently recorded Bohuslav Martinů’s opera The Good Day, which won several prestigious awards. In addition, Antonín Dvořák’s “Rhapsody” or Bohuslav Martinů’s “Complete Works for Cello and Orchestra” (Petr Nouzovský and Tomáš Brauner), which was published by Dabringhaus and Grimm and won the “Classic Prague Awards” in the “Recording of the Year” category in 2017.

The latest news are CDs released by the German agency Ars Produktion: a CD with soprano Karolína Janů or a CD with compositions by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (Alban Beikircher & Chuhei Iwasaki), which was nominated for the highly prestigious Opus Klassik award. Chief conductor since 2021 is Chuhei Iwasaki, the permanent guest conductor since 2023/24 is Jan Schultsz. The Pilsen Philharmonic has been organizing the “Smetana Days” festival since 2013.

Copyrights: Dominik Stixenberger
Copyrights: Dominik Stixenberger

Günther GroissböckGünther Groissböck inspires on the opera and concert stages of the world – with an unmistakably noble vocal sound and almost breathtaking expressiveness, he brings his characters to life and makes every song cycle an authentic experience. After studying at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna with Robert Holl and José van Dam, the Austrian bass was a member of the Vienna State Opera ensemble in the 2002/03 season and then at the Zurich Opera House from 2003 to 2007. He made his debut at the Salzburg Festival in 2002 and celebrated his highly acclaimed role debut there in 2014 as Ochs in “Rosenkavalier” under the direction of Harry Kupfer; in 2011, he made his debut at La Scala in Milan and – as Landgrave Hermann (“Tannhäuser”) – at the Bayreuth Festival, where he has been a regular guest ever since, including as Gurnemanz (“Tannhäuser”). Since then, he has been a regular guest, including as Gurnemanz (“Parsifal”), Fasolt (“Rheingold”) and Pogner in the acclaimed “Meistersinger” production by Barrie Kosky and Philippe Jordan. As one of the most sought-after singers in his field, celebrated by audiences and press alike, Günther Groissböck makes guest appearances at the world’s leading opera houses. He is particularly closely associated with the Vienna State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where he has appeared since his debut in 2010 as Colline (“La Bohème”), Ochs (“Der Rosenkavalier”), Landgrave Hermann (“Tannhäuser”) and Filippo II (“Don Carlo”), among others.

Guest engagements have also taken him to the Opéra de Paris, La Scala Milan, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, De Nationale Opera in Amsterdam, the Deutsche Oper and the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, where he caused a sensation in February 2020 as Ochs in “Rosenkavalier” in the new production by André Heller and Zubin Mehta. His particular enthusiasm for lieder singing is evident in the programs developed with a love of detail and in-depth knowledge of the repertoire, with which he can be heard in London, Salzburg, Munich and Vienna, among others. Together with Malcolm Martineau, he produced his latest album “Nicht Wiedersehen!” with songs by Strauss, Mahler and Hans Rott, which was awarded the Choc de Classica, with Gerold Huber the double album “Winterreise” / “Schwanengesang” and “Herz-Tod” with works by Brahms, Wagner, Wolf and Mahler, and with the Philharmonia Schrammeln the Wienerlied album “Gemischter Satz”. Günther Groissböck is also at home in the symphonic field, whether in Haydn’s “Creation” or Shostakovich’s 13th Symphony “Babi Jar” – he always impresses with musical expression, stylistic confidence and a special understanding of the text. Concerts have taken him to the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Munich and Berlin Philharmonie, the Vienna Musikverein and the Vienna Konzerthaus, Carnegie Hall and Boston Symphony Hall, among others.

He has worked closely with conductors such as Philippe Jordan, James Levine, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Zubin Mehta, Andris Nelsons, Antonio Pappano, Kirill Petrenko, Sir Simon Rattle and Christian Thielemann. His most recent DVD releases include “Der Rosenkavalier” (Salzburg, 2015; The Metropolitan Opera, 2017; Staatsoper Unter den Linden, 2021) as well as Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Philippe Jordan and the Paris Opera Orchestra; other recordings include “Das Rheingold”, “Lohengrin” and “Fidelio” with Marek Janowski, Mahler’s 8th Symphony and Anton Bruckner’s “The Great”. With his highly acclaimed directorial debut with “Tristan Experiment” at the Theater an der Wien in 2021, Günther Groissböck took on an exciting new challenge, which will be continued in his direction of the new production of Verdi’s “Don Carlo” at Oper Klosterneuburg in summer 2023. Other future plans include recitals at the Vienna Musikverein, London’s Wigmore Hall (3rd season in a row), Brussels’ Théatre de La Monnaie and the Elbphilharmonie, among others. King Marke (“Tristan”), Gurnemanz (“Parsifal”), Pogner (“Meistersinger”) and Sarastro (“Die Zauberflöte”) at the Vienna State Opera, Archibaldo “L’amore dei tre re” at La Scala in Milan, Ochs (“Rosenkavalier”) and King Heinrich (“Lohengrin”) at the Berlin State Opera, Gurnemanz (“Parsifal”) and King Marke (“Tristan”) at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

His acclaimed role debut as Boris Ismailov (“Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk”) at the Vienna State Opera was followed by concert performances in Boston and at New York’s Carnegie Hall with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons. His new song album “Männerliebe und -leben” with Malcom Martineau with songs and cycles by Beethoven, Schumann, Wolf, Pfitzner and Rudi Stephan, among others, will be released by Gramola / Naxos international in November 2023.