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Mozart versus Salieri: Rivalry?
Prague Sinfonia Orchestra/ Christian Benda


The Prague Sinfonia Orchestra embodies the Velvet Revolution's spiritual, cultural and social renewal and owes its existence to Václav Havel's ideas.

After the political opening of the "Velvet Revolution" Václav Havel, new president of the Czechoslovakia, invites Christian Benda for a concert held at the seat of the government, the Prague Castle.
Since then, the best musicians regularly meet in Prague to perform concerts, recordings and prepare for tours abroad under Christian Benda's baton.

They appear in South America (with special great acclaim in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia in the presence of the First Lady), North America, Asia (in Shanghai, at Singapore's Esplanade, in Kuala Lumpur received by the king and the royal family), and in Europe at festivals such as Schwetzingen, Echternach (Luxemburg), George Enescu (Bucharest), Wratislavia Cantans (Poland), Klangbogen Wien, Lugano Festival, Menuhin Festival (Switzerland).

They have interpreted the music of prominent composers in its place of origin, like Mozart at the Theater an der Wien, Rossini at Teatro San Carlo (Napoli) and Teatro Alighieri (Ravenna), and of course Dvořák at Prague Rudolfinum.

Among the soloists having performed with them we also find Lazar Berman, Michel Béroff, Till Fellner, Josef Suk, Uto Ughi, Boris Pergamenschikov, Philippe Entremont, Jean-Philippe Collard, Cristina Ortiz, Fabrizio von Arx, Simon Estes, Barbara Hendricks.

They boast numerous CD and TV recordings of the standard repertoire including the complete Schubert overtures in two CD's and all of Rossini's overtures in four volumes for labels such as FSM, Naxos, RCA Red Seal, and recently Sony Classical.

The Prague Sinfonia Orchestra's interpretative approach is focused on the music of the classical period. Under the motto "crystal clear in a velvet sound", its aesthetic goal is to balance the opposites through a light and lively modern interpretation, without loosing the historical values of Central Europe.

During the celebrations of the Czech National Day, Václav Havel became the orchestra's Honorary President in a gala concert at the Czech National House in New York City where the orchestra acquired its permanent shape, and where he stated:

"I am happy to have around me Christian Benda and his musicians who are developing their art in favor of the humanistic ideas I defend." Václav Havel

With Barbara Hendricks at Prague Castle