The source of our pride

Why does Prague need a new philharmonic building?

There has been no new concert hall for symphonic music in Prague for more than 100 years. The newest, Smetana Hall in the Municipal House, was opened at the end of 1912. The Dvořák Hall of Rudolfinum is even older, dating back to 1885. Although both halls have been renovated, they are still rather historic. Not only do they fail to conform to the demands of the 21st century, but in addition, they do not meet most of the requirements for symphonic music.

The implementation of this concert hall project will be a major impulse for the development of the new Prague city center. It offers plenty of possibilities for the realization of an interesting construction and also for new cultural and architectural landmarks of the city.

Prague’s ambition is to promote itself not only as a city of monuments, but also as a center of inspirational live cultural events. The implementation of the new Vltava Philharmonic Hall significantly strengthens and supports these ambitions.

The Vltava Philharmonic Hall will be a lively and open space serving Prague residents on a daily basis but also a place regularly visited by people from other parts of the Czech Republic.

A new cultural and architectural landmark of the city, which will become an important focal point for visitors from around the world.

Current Situation and Vision

I. The Perfect Instrument

The concert hall for symphonic music was last built in Prague more than 100 years ago. The youngest, Smetana's Hall of the Municipal House, was opened at the end of 1912. Dvořák's Rudolfinum Hall was even established in 1885. Although both halls have been reconstructed, they are still historical halls, which not only do not meet contemporary requirements for symphonic music, but lack the necessary spatial and technical standard of 21st century buildings.

We wish to achieve a design for a unique philharmonic building called the Vltava Philharmonic Hall, to achieve a top level of acoustics in the main concert hall and perfect spatial and visual parameters. The new philharmonic hall should bring something fundamentally new and different from what the existing Czech concert halls offer.

II. A Live Location

Today Vltavská is a disorderly and very busy place. However, there is a strong potential of an urban centre present there, which is waiting to be shaped by a public urban building of fundamental social importance. It should serve both the citizens of Prague and visitors from near and far.

We wish to acquire an extraordinary cultural building and thus create a centre of cultural and social life that will be a meeting place for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

III. Focal Point

Two parts of Prague 7 - upper and lower Holešovice - intersect in the Vltavská metro station area. Both are adjacent to the river. In a broader sense, it is the transformation area Holešovice - Bubny - Zátory, which is one of the largest and most important Prague brownfields. It is a place that has been gathering crucial urban impulses for 150 years, which could be transformed into a new key public space.

We wish to have a building that, through its architectural quality and the design of the surrounding public space, will complete a generations-long effort to create a strong local focal point that will connect upper and lower Holešovice.

Historic Milestones of the Project

Harmonogram

Project Schedule

Harmonogram

Project team

Martin Krupauer

The Team Leader for the Vltava Philharmonic Hall project, which was established by a resolution of the Prague City Council. He graduated from the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague and from the Faculty of Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. He has a wealth of professional experience as an architect in both the Czech Republic and abroad. For many years he worked in management of the Solnice Cultural Center and the Bazilika Creative Epicenter in České Budějovice, and he created the concept and subsequent architectural design of the multi-purpose Fórum Karlín hall in Prague. Since 1989, he has owned and run the architectural atelier A8000. He lectures on architecture and regional development. He has worked in a number of international juries of architectural competitions and continues to do so. He is a guest member of the Slovak Chamber of Architects.

Martin Gross

Deputy Head of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall project team and founding member of the Association for the Construction of a New Concert Hall in Prague (founded in 2010), of which he is currently Vice-Chairman. He graduated from the University of Economics in Prague and has long been dedicated to the production, organization and provision of cultural and sporting events. He is also a partner and executive in a production company. In the past, he has participated as a consultant, for example, in the construction and preparation for operation of the Prague O2 aréna, the preparation and construction of the multi-purpose hall Fórum Karlín, also in Prague, and in cooperation with the studio M1 in the preparation of the construction project of the Janáček Cultural Center in Brno.

Monika Habrová

Since 2019, she has led the Vltava Philharmonic Hall project within the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR). She graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the Czech Technical University in Prague and also studied at TU Eindhoven. She worked at the FABRICations studio in Amsterdam that focuses on sustainable urban planning and strategies. Since 2016, she has been working at the Prague Institute of Planning and Development, where she has been involved in architectural competitions and public space projects. She participated, for example, in the project for the revitalization of Bělohorská Street, the concept for the development of the Prague Exhibition Centre, and she was in charge of a design competition for new Prague street furniture - bus stops and railings. Her professional experience includes participation in a study for the Lošbates elementary school, which won second place in an international architectural competition.

Petra Hrubešová

She has been a member of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall team since 2019. She graduated from the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the Czech Technical University in Prague and also studied at ENSA in Nantes. Since 2014, she has been working at the Prague Institute of Planning and Development, City Hall, where she is engaged in the design of buildings as well as the organization of architectural contests. In Prague, she assisted in the creation of architectural studies and worked as a project manager in the revitalization of Bělohorská Street and also helped to organize an architectural competition for the transformation of Vítězné náměstí (Victory Square). She also has her own architectural practice, with a team of architects focusing on the design of public buildings. Among others, she participated in architectural studies for a swimming pool in the city of Písek, the museum of the 20th century in Berlin and an elementary school in Lošbates.

  • Zdeněk Hřib on the Vltava Philharmonic Hall
  • Jakub Hrůša on the Vltava Philharmonic Hall
  • Dagmar Pecková on the Vltava Philharmonic Hall
  • Petr Hlaváček on the Vltava Philharmonic Hall

Project Ambassadors

Dagmar Pecková

opera singer

Dagmar Pecková became an ambassador in support of the construction of a new concert hall in Prague for, in her own words, the following reasons: „I have travele...

Dagmar Pecková became an ambassador in support of the construction of a new concert hall in Prague for, in her own words, the following reasons: „I have traveled the world. I've seen lots of cities, but Prague really is unique. The architectural heritage we have been given by our ancestors is stunning, but a commitment at the same time. Not only should we take care of these monuments and hand them over to the generations that follow, we should also leave something magnificent of our own behind. We too should pass on the legacy of our time to future generations. The Vltava Philharmonic Hall undoubtedly achieves this task.”


Mezzo-soprano Dagmar Pecková studied at the State Conservatory in Prague and, after an engagement in Sächsische Staatsoper in Dresden, she was for several years a member of Staatsoper in Berlin. During a successful professional career, she has performed on world opera and concert stages such as Bayerische Staatsoper, Carnegie Hall New York, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Hamburgische Staatsoper, National Theater in Prague, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Opéra National de Paris, Opera Zürich, Royal Opera House Covent Garden London, San Francisco Opera, Sächsische Staatsoper, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Theater Basel, Théâtre du Châtelet Paris, Teatro Sao Carlo in Lisbon, Wigmore Hall in London, and elsewhere.

She has repeatedly performed at prestigious international music festivals such as the Edinburgh International Festival, Salzburg Festspiele, Prague Spring, Smetana's Litomyšl and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, where she was a resident artist in 2004. She has sung under the artistic guidance of major conductors such as J. Bělohlávek, S. Bychkov, S. Cambreling, P. M. Davies, C. Von Dohnanyi, C. Dutoit, C. Eschenbach, V. Fedoseyev, M. Honeck, N. Järvi, C. Mackerras, K. Nagano, F. Luisi, V. Neumann, L. Pešek, K. Petrenko, G. Prétre, P. Schneider, S. Young and W. Sawallisch.

She has also repeatedly collaborated with prestigious orchestras such as the Bamberger Symphoniker, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, DSO Berlin, London Symphony, Münchner Philharmoniker, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Orcherstre de la Suisse Romande, Pittsburg Symphony, Orchestras of WDR, SWR, MDR and NDR, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, PKF - Prague Philharmonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, RSO Frankfurt, Staatskapelle Berlin, Staatskapelle Dresden, FOK Prague Symphony Orchestra, The Philharmonia, Tonhalle Zürich, Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Symphoniker, and others.

Her recordings have been released by Hänsler Classic, Teldec, Warner Music and Supraphon, where she is releasing other albums (Wanted, Mahler's The Song of the Earth, Nativitas, The Magical Gallery and Exaltatio). She was awarded a Supraphon Golden Disk for her albums Nativitas and Wanted in 2019.

She also works intensively on her own concert projects, such as the operatic recital Sinner (2015), the cabaret revue Wanted (2017), and Christmas songs Nativitas (2018) and Exaltatio (2020). She also founded the Zlatá Pecka Music Festival in her birthplace in 2017.

Jakub Hrůša

conductor

“Czech musical art, both past and present, is one of the foremost things our country can be proud of in front of the whole world. For centuries, many composers ...

“Czech musical art, both past and present, is one of the foremost things our country can be proud of in front of the whole world. For centuries, many composers and performers have been, and still are, ranked among the world’s best. But so far, we lack the facilities provided by modern concert halls of this category. Prague urgently needs a space where not only the music of Mozart, Smetana and Dvořák can be perfectly captured and resonate majestically, but also where the powerful music of noble Baroque polyphonies, the enveloping compositions of great romanticism or the latest contemporary music can be greatly appreciated. Only then will we be able to take full advantage of the precious talents of our country in the field of musical art. Only then, will our music really be able to shine.”


Jakub Hrůša is one of the most active and influential representatives of Czech musical culture and the Czech conducting school in the world. He is a regular guest at leading orchestras in both Europe and the USA. He currently works as the Chief Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, and a principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2009 to 2015, he worked as the Musical Director and Chief Conductor of the orchestra PKF - Prague Philharmonic. His most important engagements include numerous, repeated invitations to the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He is also a regular guest at the BBC Proms and in the coming season, he will make his début at the Salzburg Festival. Aside from the concert repertoire, Hrůša is also very close to opera.

He is a frequent guest at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, the Vienna State Opera, London's Royal Opera, Opera national de Paris and the Frankfurt Opera, and occasionally on the Czech opera scene. He recently won the BBC Music Magazine Award for recording compositions by Dvořák and Martinů, as well as a DVD recording of Vanessa, an opera from the Glyndebourne Festival. An active interest in the personality of Josef Suk, Antonín Dvořák's son-in-law, was reflected in his work last year at the Dvořák Festival in Prague and in the most recent season of the Czech Philharmonic orchestra. Suk's complete orchestral work is now his priority recording project. The common denominator of his activities abroad is the persistent promotion of works by Czech composers. For this activity, he was awarded the Antonín Dvořák Prize by the Academy of Classical Music in 2020.

Roman Bělor

director of the Prague Spring Festival

"Thanks to great acoustics and a modern environment, many concert halls around the world have become not only a venue, but also an integral part of ar...

"Thanks to great acoustics and a modern environment, many concert halls around the world have become not only a venue, but also an integral part of artistic performance, like a kind of instrument of instruments, where they are able to provide listeners with artistic performance of unprecedented quality in a 21st century environment. They also offer the necessary capacity of a main hall and a social space, as well as adequate facilities and technical equipment for performers, spectators and organizers. Prague urgently needs to supplement both historic halls with alternative modern space and free them up for further use, which not only corresponds to their qualities, but also to their many limitations."

"The absence of such buildings with the corresponding qualities of a main hall increasingly weakens the position of Prague as a metropolis of music. It is painful both with regard to the truly unique historical musical heritage of Prague and the Czech lands, and to the strong position of contemporary Czech performers and composers. The situation has already become unbearable on a national scale as Brno began the construction of its new hall and Ostrava took significant steps towards the construction of its hall. The fact that contemporary Prague, in contrast to the relatively short period of the First Republic, has completely resigned from the construction of public buildings is generally quite alarming. Taking into account the need to humanize the Vltava environment and thus at the same time urbanize the Bubny area, we are not presented with a desire or a necessity, but rather an obligation!"


The director of the International Prague Spring Music Festival (Pražské jaro, o.p.s.) was born in Prague. After graduating in economics and management at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague (1977-1982, Ing.), he worked for several years in the technical field, but an active interest in music and culture led him in 1989 to the world of cultural management. In 1990, he first became a manager of the Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK and in 1992 he was made its Director. Between the years 1997-2001, he was Chairman of the Association of Czech Symphony Orchestras. At the same time, in the period 1993-2001, he was a member of the Advisory Committee for the Prague Spring. He participated in the preparations for the successful candidacy of the City of Prague for the title of European Capital of Culture for the year 2000. In 2001, the governing board of the Prague Spring, o.p.s. appointed him as Director. Since that year, he has also held the position of Vice-Chairman of the Association of Music Festivals of the Czech Republic. From 2003 to 2005, as a member of the advisory board, he also took part in the preparations for the Czech participation at the World Expo in the Aichi Prefecture in Japan. In April 2005, he served as the Chief Organizer and Chairman of the World Conference of the IAMA (International Artist Managers' Association) held in Prague. For his work on cultural cooperation between the Czech Republic and France, in 1995 he was appointed as a Knight (Chevalier), and in 2001 an Officer (Officier) of the Order of Arts and Literature (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) of the French Republic. In 2012, he became a member of the Council of the UNESCO International Fund for the Promotion of Culture. Since 1998, he has taught as a visiting lecturer in the Department of Music Production at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.

In 2010, he co-founded and is now chairman of the Association for the Construction of a New Concert Hall in Prague and a member of the Coordination Committee of the City of Prague which was created to realize this goal. Apart from music, he is interested in fine art and contemporary history. He is a member of the Association of Fine Artists Mánes and the Club for Old Prague.

Robert Kolář

director of the Academy of Classical Music

"Prague is a cultural metropolis of world significance and Czech music is an important part of world heritage. Although we have the Rudolfinum and Obecní d...

"Prague is a cultural metropolis of world significance and Czech music is an important part of world heritage. Although we have the Rudolfinum and Obecní dům, we lack a truly high-class, large and modern concert complex. It is high time to fix it. Vltava Philharmonic Hall is an ambitious and archetypal project whose implementation would give our country the great cultural and social prestige that rightfully belongs to it.”



The Director of the Academy of Classical Music (AKH), he was involved in the inception of The International Dvořák Prague Music Festival, which was first held in 2008. A graduate of the Technical University in Brno, he also worked in both chambers of the Parliament of the Czech Republic in the 90’s, when, when he became an MP and, at the beginning of the new millennium, a senator. Together with the intendant Vladimir Darjanin, they created and built Dvořák Prague into a project that currently ranks among the most important cultural festivals in the Czech Republic. As part of AKH's activities, he is behind the announcement of the Antonín Dvořák Award and the organization of an educational program for Czech managers in the culture sector; the Cultural Leadership Summit. In 2018, he and the current intendant Jan Simon expanded the portfolio of AKH to include other activities - the international Concertino Praga competition in cooperation with Czech Radio and the project Young Philharmonic Orchestra Dvořák Prague, based at the Summer Music Academy in Kroměříž. They also focus on publishing related activities. Since 1998, Robert Kolář has acted in the statutory body of the firm Moravské naftové doly in Hodonín and subsequently in other companies of the KKCG group.

Martin Kratochvíl

jazz and jazz-rock musician

“The ideas behind my approval are simple: An older man, heavily involved in music as well as in the production and business side of it, will be very pleased wit...

“The ideas behind my approval are simple: An older man, heavily involved in music as well as in the production and business side of it, will be very pleased with the fact that he can still keep his finger on the pulse of the era and that he might modestly help out a good cause that will surely outlive him. May God help us. So let's go for it ...”.


„A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, he received a doctorate in philosophy and psychology from Charles University in Prague. He became a renowned jazz musician and the leader of the legendary group Jazz Q, with whom he recorded dozens of albums in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe. He also acts in an acoustic formation along with the American guitarist Tony Ackerman and the Iranian percussionist Imran Musa Zangi. In his time, he was the best Czech keyboard player and the pioneer of synthesizers. He has also composed music for eleven feature films and some five hundred documentaries. After 1989, he became the producer of the first film financed by private funds (Tank Battalion). In 1988, he founded the multimedia group Bonton, which became a dominant player in the entertainment market. In recent times, this conglomerate of eighteen companies has found new owners. Kratochvíl is fully engaged in performing, composing and recording music and documentary films in his Budíkov studio. He is an avid lover of mountaineering in the Himalayas and is also a private pilot.“

Zdeněk Tůma

“The development of a city is not measured just by how much its population grows or how far its metro has been extended. The furtherance of culture and the buil...

“The development of a city is not measured just by how much its population grows or how far its metro has been extended. The furtherance of culture and the building of public space are also integral to this development. It is sad that in our capital, in the last hundred years, no significant public building has been built that is noted for its architecture internationally and has had a profound impact on the city’s development. The Vltava Philharmonic Hall does just that – it is a marriage of culture and urban planning. The construction of this building will help to move our capital into the 21st century. I am honored to be involved in the process of building the Vltava Philharmonic Hall and it will be a pleasure for me if I am able to contribute to this project’s success.”


Zdeněk Tůma graduated from the University of Economics in Prague, completing his postgraduate studies at the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. At the beginning of the 1990s, he participated in the reintroduction of Economics education at Charles University where he was appointed an Associate Professor. He continues to lecture at Charles University, specialising in central banking and financial regulation. He was Chief Economist at Patria Finance and in 1998, moved to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as a member of the Executive Board. In February 1999, Zdeněk was appointed Vice-Governor of the Czech National Bank and in December 2000, became Governor, serving in this position until 2010. He was a partner at KPMG Czech Republic from 2011-2019, focusing on consulting in the financial sector. He is currently Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ČSOB. He is also a member of the scientific and statutory boards of several universities and a member of the Czech Economic Society, of which he was President from 1999-2001.

Supporters

David Mareček

General Director of the Czech Philharmonic

"Music is the specific language of art and has the power to cultivate its listeners and combine them with other art lovers. The Vltava Philharmonic Hall, like Rudolfinum in its time, when it used to be known as the Temple of Art, will serve exactly this purpose: the cultivation of the spirit and bringing people together. The Czech Philharmonic has been striving for the very same goals throughout its existence.”

Tomáš Řehák

Director of the Municipal Library

"Nearly 130 years ago, the Municipal Library in Prague was founded and is now the oldest and largest public music library in the Czech Republic. We have already been thinking about transferring it to the future Vltava Philharmonic Hall for many years. In addition to this being a logical and synergistic part of the natural center of musical life, it will also be, and in the best sense of the word, a Trojan horse which opens the doors of the Philharmonic Hall to nearly 200,000 regular users of the library. Thanks to this, the Philharmonic Hall will be an open and lively cultural space throughout the day; a place that with the interconnection of music of the highest quality and a cultivated public space will inspire other European cities.”

Daniel Sobotka

Director of the Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK

"This concert hall is an opportunity. It would be wonderful if Praguers could hear their own Prague Symphony Orchestra in a way that previously only visitors to top theaters abroad could experience when the orchestra was on tour. I say this as a biased participant in the embryonic Vltava Philharmonic Hall. But as Praguer, i have more basic things on my mind: the concert hall is a powerful and complex impulse for the development of quality of life in the city, its transport infrastructure, and it is a marketing gauntlet thrown down to the whole world, a profitable tourist attraction. I consider it fortunate and far-sighted that it is a concert hall that will become such a driver, and not another shopping mall, office complex or parking zone.

Proposed construction scope for the Vltava Philharmonic Hall

We perceive the Vltava Philharmonic Hall building as a complex of several reciprocally communicating blocks whose operations will be able to complement, link or combine with each other, or will be able to function independently. This will ensure that the Vltava Philharmonic Hall building is a living and creative social center, all day round, seven days a week.

The halls of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall will be the heart of the place with their facilities and public spaces – foyer. The block known as the Creative Hub, with a music library at its center, will take on the same important role as the halls. Creative activities will take place in the adjacent rehearsal rooms, studies, and education space.

Both of these blocks, of great importance to the Vltava Philharmonic Hall, will be supported in terms of operations and production by technical and technological production facilities.

Both of the most prominent Czech symphony orchestras based in Prague – the Czech Philharmonic and the FOK Prague Symphony Orchestra – will have amenities in the building. Both orchestras will also find the corresponding residential space within the building.

In light of the unique location of the land designated for the construction of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall, from which views open up of the magnificent Prague panorama, it is only natural that other space also comes under consideration - a roof or a terrace

The running of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall would be unimaginable without catering, offering a wide range of services to visitors and at the same time capable of serving employees and performers and providing services for ad hoc events.

Not all space will be open to the public - this would be impossible. Nevertheless, we would like to offer visitors the chance to see into those places that are normally closed to the public. The construction schedule will therefore include a tour route that will take visitors throughout the premises and make it possible for them to see into the areas they would not normally be able to - the rehearsal rooms, studios, and even the auditoriums at times when there are no rehearsals or concerts.

The Vltava Philharmonic Hall is not just about the building itself. It is also about the outdoor space that surrounds the building and combines with it to form a single whole. The outdoor public space is a place to meet, a place to linger, and a place where different types of events can be staged. a place that attracts people to visit. The banks of the River Vltava are also an integral part of this outdoor space.

Transport links were also factored in when defining the construction schedule. It is for this reason that an underground parking lot is part of the project, as well as a place for passengers to get into and out of arriving buses and taxis. Consideration has also been made of bringing in supplies and making sure performers are able to reach the hall, as well as space in which mobile units can park.

Vltava Philharmonic Hall: catalyst for development of the Bubny-Zátory area Preliminary competition schedule

In much the same way as we have learned how to recycle waste, we have to learn how to recycle land. And Holešovice Bubny – Zátory is a key transformation area at a Prague-wide level that can be recycled/revitalized.

The Vltava Philharmonic Hall building will become the primary initiator and accelerator in the development of the neglected Bubny-Zátory area. It should be the fundamental impulse in the gradual revitalization of an entire, dismal-looking area in Prague 7 – Holešovice.

Procurement procedure was announced in 2018 for the compilation of a planning study that would trigger the transformation of the area and provide the opportunity to build a unique new city district there. More about the project here.