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Česká filharmonie (Czech Philharmonic Orchestra) is a symphony orchestra based in Prague and is most well known and respected orchestra in Czechia. In the long term belongs to the top of best orchestras in Europe in a survey organized by the French magazine Le Monde de la Musique.
The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra was formerly the orchestra of the Prague National Opera. It played its first concert under its current name on January 4, 1896 when Antonín Dvořák conducted his own compositions, but it did not become fully independent from the opera until 1901. In 1908, Gustav Mahler led the orchestra in the world premiere of his Symphony No. 7. The orchestra first became internationally known under the baton of Václav Talich, who was principal conductor from 1919 to 1931, and again from 1933 to 1941. Subsequent chief conductors included Rafael Kubelík (1942-1948), Karel Ančerl (1950-1968), Václav Neumann (1968-1989) and Vladimir Ashkenazy (1996-2003). Zdeněk Mácal has been the chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic since September 1, 2003. In September 2007, Mácal announced his sudden resignation from the chief conductor post, although he is scheduled to fulfill his remaining conducting engagements with the orchestra, without administrative responsibilities. Principal guest conductors of the orchestra have included Sir Charles Mackerras, a noted music specialist, and currently Manfred Honeck.

Honours and awards

Premiere of Antonín Dvořák's Piano Concerto in G minor op.33, Czech Philharmonic conducted by Václav Talich and with Karel Ančerl Czech Philharmonic won many prestige awards, ten Grand Prix du Disque de l'Académie Charles Cros, five Grand Prix du disgue de l'Académie française and several Cannes Classical Awards. The Czech Philharmonic was nominated for Grammy Awards in 2005, and also two Wiener Flötenuhr awards, with Pavel Štěpán, Zdeněk Mácal and Václav Neumann (1971 and 1982).

Chief Conductors
1901-1903 Ludvík Čelanský
1903-1918 Vilém Zemánek
1919-1931 Václav Talich
1933-1941 Václav Talich
1942-1948 Rafael Kubelík
1950-1968 Karel Ančerl
1968-1989 Václav Neumann
1990-1992 Jiří Bělohlávek
1993-1996 Gerd Albrecht
1996-2003 Vladimir Ashkenazy
2003-2007 Zdeněk Mácal

^ Matthew Westphal. "The Top Ten European Orchestras, According to Ten European Media Outlets", Playbill Arts, 10 Oct 2006. Retrieved on 2007-08-25.

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