|Boni pueri, boys’ choir
Marek Štilec, conductor
|Patricia Janečková, soprano
|Church of St. James the Elder, Lednice
L. Hofmann Regina Coeli (world premiere)
The Czech boys’ choir Boni pueri, soprano Patricia Janečková and Wranitzky Kapelle under Marek Štilec will perform works of not only better-known Handel and Franck, but also Regina Coeli and Mass of St. Alois by the Austrian classical composer Leopold Hofmann.
The Czech Boys’ Choir Boni pueri, led by Pavel Horák, was founded in 1982 in Hradec Králové, but its name refers to the choir that was active since the 13th century at the Church of St.Vitus, Wenceslas and Vojtech at Prague Castle. The 200-strong choir, which includes boys aged 4 to 19, has so far performed more than 4,000 individual concerts in Japan, Canada, the USA, South Korea, Hong Kong, China and throughout Europe. Boni pueri also perform at major state occasions and symposiums around the world.
Boni pueri have performed alongside distinguished artists, recorded for television and radio, collaborated with prominent ensembles and orchestras around the world, and have been invited to perform at music festivals around the world.
Highlights of the choir’s work include performances of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, appearances in the Mahler Gala Project, and a monumental performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. Other projects include the promotion of works by old Czech composers – J. C. Fischer, P. J. Vejvanovský, J. K. Vaňhal and J. V. Tomášek. Zelenka’s recording Sub olea pacis et palma virtutis won the prestigious Cannes Classical Awards in 2003. However, the choir’s repertoire also includes works of the 20th and 21st centuries: the children’s opera Brundibár by Hans Krása, the 4D audiovisual project Voices of Light by composer Robert Jíša and Requiem by Aleš Březina.
In 2015, the Czech boys’ choir Boni pueri was once again awarded the title of Cultural Ambassador of the Choral Federation to the European Union “AMBASSADEUR CULTUREE DE LE´UNION EUROPÉENNE”.
Marek Štilec is one of the most outstanding representatives of the young generation of Czech conductors. After studying violin at the Prague Conservatoire under Dana Vlachová, he switched to conducting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He continued his training with Michael Tilson Thomas, Colin Metters, Jorma Panula, Jac van Steen, Gerd Albrecht or Vladimir Kiradyev, and participated in the International Järvi Academy-masterclass with Leonid Grin.
He has worked with major Czech and international orchestras (New World Symphony, Das Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester Mannheim, London Classical Soloists, Berlin Camerata, Sinfonietta Bratislava, Sarajevo Philharmonic) and has conducted more than two dozen choral ensembles (Prague Philharmonic Choir, Houston Symphony Chorus, Martinů Voices, Kühn Mixed Choir). Since 2019 he has been the choirmaster of the Czech Boys’ Choir Boni Pueri. Furthermore, he is sought-after opera conductor by many prominent singers (Thomas Hampson, Gabriela Beňačková, Štefan Margita, Petr Nekoranec, Simona Šaturová).
He is the founder of Wranitzky Kapelle, an orchestra dedicated to historically informed interpretation of music from the second half of the 18th century. He has also collaborated with the Czech Ensemble Baroque and Ensemble 18+. Due to his focus on Romantic and Classical music, he is sought after by record labels worldwide (ArcoDiva, Naxos, CPO, Radioservis, Supraphon), where he has already recorded over 30 CDs.
He is the artistic director of the Mahler Jihlava Festival and the author of the projects “Czechs in Vienna” and Akademie Prague – Mannheim.
She first performed with an orchestra at the age of ten and made her solo debut on the stage at thirteen in 2011 as Annie in Britten’s The Little Sweep. The German-born Slovakian soprano living in Ostrava came into the “child prodigy” category and into the public consciousness in 2010 after winning the Czech-Slovak TV competition Talentmania. Since then, she has grown into a singer under Eva Dřízgová-Jirušová and has given concerts in Austria, Germany, Portugal and France, performed at many international music festivals in the Czech Republic and collaborated with personalities such as Adam Plachetka and Peter Dvorský. In 2015 she made her debut in Mozart roles at the State Theatre Košice and the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava. She has worked with the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra Ostrava, the Symphony Orchestra of the Capital City of Prague, the Czech Republic, the Czech Republic, the Czech Republic, the Czech Republic, the Czech Republic, the Czech Republic, the Czech Republic, the Czech Republic. Prague FOK, Camerata Janáček, Collegio Marianum and has a long-standing artistic relationship with the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava. The fact that her voice really suits the interpretation of early music is evidenced by her absolute victory in the Concorso Internazionale Musica Sacra in Rome in 2016, which, among other things, enabled her to participate in master classes under the direction of Renato Bruson, soloist of Teatro alla Scala in Milan. She is currently studying singing at the University of Ostrava with already mentioned Eva Dřízgová-Jirušová. It will be her fourth appearance at the Lednice-Valtice Music Festival.
The unique chamber orchestra Wranitzky Kapelle started its activities with a concert in the Karlskirche in Vienna in April 2019. Its founding members are conductor Marek Štilec, concertmaster Jiří Sycha and harpsichordist Filip Dvořák, and it is made up of top musicians with an interest in the historically informed interpretation of Viennese classical music. The orchestra is particularly devoted to Czech composers who were active in Vienna in the second half of the 18th century and thus also seeks to strengthen Czech-Austrian cultural ties. The ensemble is based in Nová Říše in region Vysočina, the birthplace of the Vranický brothers, inspirational for the ensemble name. In the very short time of its existence, it has received repeated invitations to the prestigious Austrian festival Allegro Vivo, Helsinki Baroque Music Festival, Mahler Jihlava Festival, Leoš Janáček International Music Festival, Klasika Viva Festival and others. Orchestra further collaborates with the Czech boys choir Boni pueri, performs with leading soloists from Vienna (Simona Eisinger, Alexandra Kahrer and others) and has also performed with world trumpet virtuoso Gabor Boldoczky. Furthermore, the ensemble organises the Canonia Neorisensis subscription series at the monastery in Nová Říše and recorded a CD of the works of Pavel Vranický for the ArcoDiva label together with oboist Vilém Veverka.