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The Prague Spring Debut is dedicated to the most promising young conductors, whose talent, qualities and artistic potential hold great promise for the future. Appearing in the Festival for the first time in 2024 will be Jiří Habart, who, in the face of considerable international competition, was one of the three finalists in the prestigious British Donatella Flick Competition of 2023, conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in the final. “He has really found his stride – and conducting the orchestra in a green turtle-neck he had a clear panache,” wrote Lawrence Dunn for Bachtrack about Habart’s performance in the final. In his debut concert, Habart will lead one of the best Czech orchestras – the Prague Philharmonia. “I could unashamedly call the programme ‘Tours of Europe’,” the young conductor said of the concert’s programming.


  • Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Overture Op. 21
  • Krzysztof Penderecki: Concerto for Viola and Orchestra
  • Edvard Grieg: Peer Gynt, Suite No. 2 Op. 55
  • Zoltán Kodály: Dances of Galánta


  • PKF – Prague Philharmonia
  • Jiří Habart - conductor
  • Sào Soulez Larivière - viola (Prague Spring IMC 2023 Laureate)


250 - 700 CZK
21 5 2024
Tuesday 20.00

The evening concert in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum will feature the youthful overture A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the German Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, the second suite from the popular incidental music Peer Gynt by the Norwegian composer Edvard Hagerup Grieg, and the haunting Dances from Galanta by Zoltán Kodály, a 20th century Hungarian classic. “Grieg’s suite with the famous Solveig’s Song will be my personal memory of the competition in London where I conducted it,” says Habart. “Dances from Galanta will transport us into the vortex of real czardas and other lively and poignant melodies of the Hungarian spirit.”

The winner of the 2023 Prague Spring International Music Competition, French violist Sào Soulez Larivière, will be the soloist in a performance of the Concerto for Viola and Orchestra by Krzysztof Penderecki, a classic of Polish music. “Penderecki’s Viola Concerto recalls the legacy of Simón Bolívar as a symbol of liberation and independence,” says Sào Soulez Larivière of the work, which was premiered in Caracas, Venezuela. “Although the tones carry echoes of the past, it is clear that the work speaks to us just as deeply today,” adds the young artist, who was appointed professor at the Mozarteum in Salzburg soon after his triumph in Prague.

The Prague Spring Debut was launched in 2014 on the initiative of Jiří Bělohlávek, former President of the Prague Spring Artistic Council and Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. Since then, it has been a platform enabling the most promising young conductors to collaborate with leading Czech orchestras, thus acquiring invaluable experience and the opportunity to showcase their personality. Among those who have made their debut at Prague Spring are Marek Šedivý, Jakub Klecker, Jiří Rožeň, Robert Kružík, František Macek and Marek Prášil. In addition to the Czech conductors, there have also been two winners of the conducting competition in Besançon, France – Jonathon Heyward and Ben Glassberg (now the newly-appointed music director of the Vienna Volksoper). In 2023, Alena Hron was the first female conductor.

Frýdek-Místek-born Jiří Habart‘s success at the Donatella Flick Competition in London was soon followed by further success at the Zoltán Kodály Conducting Competition in Debrecen, Hungary, where he took fifth place and won three special prizes – the Hungarian State Opera Prize and the prizes of the Budafok Dohnányi Orchestra and the Kodály Filharmónia Debrecen. Habart studied conducting at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno under Jakub Klecker and Tomáš Hanus. He has participated in conducting courses under Tomáš Netopil, Kirk Trevor, Zsolt Nagy and Mark Stringer. Interestingly, he studied baroque violin with Lenka Torgersen, concertmaster of the Collegium Marianum. Since the 2019–2020 season, he has been conducting the opera ensemble of the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava, where he has performed Verdi’s Nabucco, Massenet’s Manon and Smetana’s The Two Widows, Dalibor and The Bartered Bride. He has also premiered stage works by Baroque composers Claudio Monteverdi and Henry Purcell.

To date, Habart has worked with a number of Czech symphony orchestras, including the Brno Philharmonic, the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic in Zlín and the Pilsen Philharmonic. His success in international competitions has also opened up further opportunities abroad.