Martinů Strings Prague
United Kingdom tour, 12 – 21 September 2020
with Czech violin virtuoso, Milan Al-Ashhab
The Czech Republic’s acclaimed, Martinů Strings Prague ensemble will be touring the United Kingdom from the 12 – 21 September 2020. The Czech violin virtuoso Milan Al-Ashhab, first-winner of the Vienna Fritz Kreilser Violin Competition, and prize-winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition, joins the ensemble on tour.
Exemplifying the Czech historical string performance tradition, Martinů Strings Prague has become acclaimed for its distinctive rhythmic vitality, pronounced melodic song like lyricism, musicality and expressive Slavonic sound. The Martinů Strings Prague comprises of the Czech Republic’s leading chamber musicians whose extensive professional performance experience has been gained as soloists, chamber musicians, and with leading Czech symphonic orchestras.
The ensemble honors the musical legacy of composer Bohuslav Martinů, who along with Leos Janacek, was one of the twin giants of Czech music in the twentieth century, a composer with a distinctly individual voice and a versatility that led him to excel in every medium from operatic stage works to symphonies to string quartets.
The Martinů Strings Prague will be touring the United Kingdom from the 12 – 20 September 2020, with Czech violin virtuoso Milan Al-Ashhab, first-prize winner of the Vienna Fritz Kreilser Violin Competition, and prize-winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition.
The ensemble recently appeared on tour in the summer of 2019 in a series of sold-out concerts in Germany, and France performing in Versailles and Paris. Previous tours have seen the ensemble perform in Slovakia and Hungry, performing predominantly Czech music. And In 2013 the ensemble embarked on a critically acclaimed concert tour of Sweden. The Martinů Strings Prague performs throughout the Czech Republic, and regularly appear at the annual Bohuslav Martinů Music Festival in Prague.
In a critically acclaimed commemorative concert at the Spanish Synagogue in Prague, the Czech press wrote of the Martinů Strings Prague:
”The Prague based Martinů Strings comprises an ‘’ensemble of extraordinary musicians,’’ who all being connected and tuned in with each other, and taking full advantage of a chamber orchestra setting, performed as one, creating a performance of one unified living breathe. Uniform phrasing and perfect intonation, with a display of deep felt passion for the music, created an intimate crystal clear sound which characterized the dramatically challenging evening. In Shostakovitch's Chamber Symphony, a work of remarkable depth and scope, the ensemble delved into it fully, giving the work its all, using it fully, and which was the culmination of the evening,’’ Jana Vašatová.'' Týdeníku Rozhlas (Radio Weekly).
The ensemble is based in Prague’s historic Dominican monastery located in Prague’s city centre, where it performs its unique subscription concert programs in the monastery’s ornate 17th century Baroque Hall. The repertoire of the Martinů Strings Prague comprises of works of Czech and noted world composers, music from the Baroque period up to the present, including premiere performances of contemporary living composers, and new works commissioned for the ensemble.
All Music Guide (2013)
‘‘The Martinů Strings Prague honors the musical legacy of composer Bohuslav Martinů, who along with Leos Janacek, was one of the twin giants of Czech music in the twentieth century, a composer with a distinctly individual voice and a versatility that led him to excel in every medium from stage works to symphonies to string quartets. Martinů (who was among the most prolific composers of the twentieth century) managed to become not only the greatest Czech composer of his generation, but a major international figure, known especially for his concerti and chamber music.’’
The Czech violin virtuoso Milan Al-Ashhab is dazzling audiences with his musical sensitivity and technical virtuosity.
Milan performed a critically acclaimed sold-out concert recital in Prague’s 1,200 seat Rudolfinum – Dvorak Hall during the renowned 74th Prague Spring International Music Festival (Czech Republic) in May 2019. Furthermore, 2019 has seen Milan make his debut in the concert program of the Berliner Philharmoniker in the Chamber Music Hall with acclaimed Czech pianist and composer Adam Skoumal, performing works of Nathan Milstein, Claude Debussy, Franz Schubert, Maurice Ravel, Adam Skoumal, Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, Ernest Bloch and Franz Waxman.
Milan has appeared with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra performing the Shostakovich violin concerto with Czech conductor Jiri Belohlavek. In June 2019, he appeared with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Maestro Yuri Simonov, performing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35, and Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major, K. 218.
Asked by Maestro Daniel Barenboim to join the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra on tour in the summer of 2019. Milan joins the orchestra for concerts in Sevilla (Spain), Buenos Aires (Festival de Musica y Reflexion), BBC Proms London, Salzburg Festival, Waldbuhne Berlin, and the Lucerne Festival.
In September 2019, Milan Al-Ashhab makes his debut in China, performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in the ancient city of Nanjing at the acclaimed Forest Festival with Jiangsu Symphony Orchestra. During September 2019, he also undertakes a 7-day solo recital tour of the U.K. and returns to tour the U.K. in 2020 with the Martinu Strings Prague chamber ensemble.
Last season, Milan Al-Ashhab dazzled the Viennese music public with his performance of the Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor in Vienna at the renowned Musikverein concert hall with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. September 2018 saw Milan begin awarded the First Prize at Vienna’s prestigious Fritz Kreisler International Violin Competition in Austria. Along with a monetary prize, as stated on the competitions website, the competition first prize winner, will receive an invitation for a guest solo performance with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra – plus a number of other important concert engagements and CD recording opportunity. Milan Al-Ashhab is also prize-winner of the Tchaikovsky Violin Competition.
Milan Al-Ashhab made his New York-American concert debut in August 2018 in the Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Music Center. Previously, in May 2018 in New York, Milan Al-Ashhab was unanimously awarded First Prize at the New York Concert Artists competition.
Milan has performed recitals and concertos with orchestra’s both in the Czech Republic and abroad, he has appeared with the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava, the Hofer Symphoniker, the Europera Jugend Orchestra, the L'Armonia Terrena, and others.
Milan’s repertoire ranges from Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Opus 77, and Violin Concerto No. 2 in C-sharp minor, Opus 129. Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, opus 19, and Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63. Bartok Violin Concerto No. 2, BB 117. Miklos Rozsa Violin Concerto, Op. 24. Violin concertos of Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Brahms, Bruch, Mendelssohn, Lalo, Josef Suk Fantasy in G minor, Op. 24, and all Mozart’s Violin Concertos.
Milan Al-Ashhab has worked with renowned violinists as Shlomo Mintz and Ida Haendel, He has also garnered first prize victories at a number of prestigious Central European violin competitions. He was awarded First Prize in the Czech Republic’s prestigious Kocian International Violin Competition in 2006. And in 2007 was awarded the First Prize at the Georg Philipp Telemann Competition in Poland. In 2017 he won First Prize at the Czech Conservatories Nationwide Violin Competition in Prague.
Milan is a graduate of the Most Music School (Czech Republic) having studied with Květoslava Hasilová, and from the Prague Academy of Music, where he studied with the Czech Republic’s leading violin teachers, Ivan Štraus. He undertook post-graduate studies in Vienna at the Universität für Musik und darstellende kunst (University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna) with Peter Schuhmayer.
Milan Al-Ashhab performs on a Francesco Gobetti (Venezia 1711) on loan from the Maggini Stiftung in Langenthal, Switzerland.