Josef Špaček, violin
Praised for his remarkable range of colours, his confident and concentrated stage presence, his virtuosity and technical poise as well as the beauty of his tone, Josef Špaček has gradually emerged as one of the leading violinists of his generation. His performances of a wide range of repertoire demonstrate his “astonishing articulation and athleticism” (The Scotsman) and “a richness and piquancy of timbre.” (The Telegraph).
He appears with orchestras including the Orchestre de Paris, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Bamberger Symphoniker, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Deutsches Symphonie- Orchester Berlin, WDR Sinfonieorchester, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, SWR-Symphonieorchester, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and the Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen.
Highlights in the 2023/24 season include debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Jakub Hrůša, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Nathalie Stutzmann, the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Tomáš Netopil, as well as a residency with the Residentie Orchestra The Hague with Anja Bihlmaier and Jun Märkl.
Josef Špaček collaborates with eminent conductors such as Jakub Hrůša, Semyon Bychkov, Manfred Honeck, Thomas Adès, Krzysztof Urbański, James Gaffigan, James Conlon, Maxim Emelyanchev, the late Jiří Bělohlávek, Petr Popelka, Thomas Søndergård, Cornelius Meister, Michael Sanderling, David Zinman, Eliahu Inbal, Tomáš Netopil, Pietari Inkinen, Marc Albrecht, Aziz Shokhakimov, Christian Vasquez, Sylvain Cambreling, Jahja Ling and Lio Kuokman.
He equally enjoys giving recitals and playing chamber music and is a regular guest at festivals and in concert halls throughout Europe (among others at the Rudolfinum in Prague, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam, the Kronberg Academy, the Evian Festival, the Kaposfest and at Schloß Elmau), Asia and the USA (among others at Kennedy Center, Washington D.C., 92Y in New York, La Jolla in San Diego, the ChamberFest Cleveland and the Nevada Chamber Music Festival). In the summer of 2021 he made highly successful debuts at the Verbier Festival and Leif Ove Andsnes’ Rosendal Festival. With cellist Timotheos Gavriilidis-Petrin and pianist George Xiaoyuan Fu he forms the Trio Zimbalist.Other chamber music partners include Gil Shaham, Kian Soltani, James Ehnes, Clemens Hagen, Julian Steckel, Gerhard Oppitz, Noah Bendix-Balgley, Máté Szücs, Miroslav Sekera, Tomáš Jamník, Federico Colli, Sharon Kam, Kristóf Baráti, Zoltan Fejervari and Suzana Bartal.
In April 2022 Supraphon released Josef Špaček’s latest CD recording on which he is joined by cellist Tomáš Jamník. It features works for violin and cello by Janáček, Martinů, Schulhoff and Klein, including a transcription of Janáček’s string quartet no. 1 for violin/cello duo. His previous Supraphon release is a highly praised recording of the violin concertos of Dvořák and Janáček, coupled with the Fantasy of Suk, with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek. The Sunday Times wrote: “The violinist’s individual, deeply considered and virtuosic account of Dvorak’s solo part is the highlight of this keenly conceived programme”, adding that “in this repertoire, Špaček is second to none today.” It was the “Recording of the week” of The Sunday Times, “Recording of the month & of the year” of MusicWeb International and it received 5* in Diapason. Other recordings to date are a recital disc with works for violin and piano by Smetana, Janáček and Prokofiev with pianist Miroslav Sekera (Supraphon), works for violin solo and violin and piano by H.W. Ernst (Naxos) and an early CD with the complete Sonatas for Solo Violin by Eugène Ysaÿe.
Josef Špaček studied with Itzhak Perlman at The Juilliard School in New York, Ida Kavafian and Jaime Laredo at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and with Jaroslav Foltýn at the Prague Conservatory.
He was laureate of the International Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, and won top prizes at the Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand, the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition in Denmark and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York.
He served as concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the youngest in its history. The orchestra named him “Associate Artist” as of January 2016. He held this post until the end of the 2019/20 season and has since devoted himself exclusively to his solo career.
Josef Špaček performs on the ca. 1732 “LeBrun; Bouthillard” Guarneri del Gesù violin, generously on loan from Ingles & Hayday.
He lives in Prague with his wife and their three children. In his spare time he enjoys cycling.