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The Slovak Sinfonietta

The SLOVAK SINFONIETTA ŽILINA (The State Chamber Orchestra Žilina) is one of the best known professional orchestras in Eastern Europe and holds a very important position in the Slovak musical life. It was founded in 1974 as the only "Classical period" chamber orchestra in Slovakia. Since then the orchestra has attained a prominent position in both the Slovak and Czech Republics, as well as it has achieved a considerable international reputation. Its 34 members are graduates of the major Czech and Slovak music academies and many of them are winners of international competitions and active both as soloists and chamber musicians. The quality of the players together with the experience and musicianship of the founding music director and conductor Eduard Fischer (1930-1993) brought about the quick artistic growth of the orchestra. Following chief conductors were Jan Valta, Leoš Svárovský and Oliver von Dohnányi. Simon Chalk was appointed the Chief Conductor of the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina in September 2015.

In 1977 the orchestra was invited to the Salzburg Festival and designated the official orchestra of that prestigious festival. Soon after followed appearances at the "Prague Spring" and the major festivals throughout Europe, including Wiener Festwochen, Spring Festival and Haydn Festival in Vienna, Sofia's Musical Weeks, Festa Musica Pro in Assisi, Festival de Catalunia in Spain, Festival El Djem in Tunisia, Festival de Bonaguil in France, Music in Old Krakow, Budapest Spring Festival, Bratislava Music Festival, Melos Ethos Bratislava, Mozartfest Schwetzingen, Mozart Sommer Schloss Salem, Schleswick - Holstein Festival, Festival de Manaus in Brasilia, Festival van Vlaanderen, Aspekte Salzburg,  Johann Strauss Festival in Vienna, Bodensee Festival in Switzerland, Ankara Musik Festival, Slovenian Music Days, NCPA Festival Beijing, and many others. The Sinfonietta played at such prestigious international venues as the Musikverein and Konzerthaus Vienna, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Philharmonic Halls in Berlin, Munic and Cologne, House of Artists Prague,  Tonhalle  Düsseldorf, Komische Oper and Konzerthaus Berlin, St. Francis' Cathedral Assisi,  Auditori Barcelona, Palau St. Jordi and Palau de la Musica Catalana Barcelona, Teatro Arriaga Bilbao, the Symphony Hall Osaka, Tokyo's Metropolitan Hall, Theatre de la Monnaie Brussels, Mozarteum Salzburg, Teatro Abadia and Palacio de Deportes Madrid, Tonhalle Zürich, Pavilhao Atlantico Lisbon, NCPA Beijing, Les Invalides and L´eglise de la Madeleine Paris, and the Great Concert Hall of the St. Peterburg Philharmonic among others. Altogether the orchestra has given almost 3000 concerts in almost every country of Europe, in Asia, Africa, Japan, China, Brasilia, Canada and the U.S.A.

We welcome the reurn of the orchestra to the Festival with a progrmme which commences with the Festival Overture of the Levoca-educated composer, Jan Levoslav Bella.


tkTheodore Kuchar is the Principal Conductor of the Slovak Sinfonietta. Mr. Kuchar appears on over one hundred recordings for the Naxos, Brilliant Classics, Ondine and Marco Polo labels. He has served as artistic director and principal conductor of two of Europe’s leading orchestras, the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly the Czech Radio Orchestra) (2005–2014) and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (1994–2004). In the 2011–12 season he began his tenure as the artistic director and principal conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela. From 2002 he has served as music director and conductor of the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra, and of the Reno Chamber Orchestra in the United States from 2003. An avid chamber musician, he served as the artistic director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music from 1990 to 2006. Since 2005 he has been the artistic director of the Nevada Chamber Music Festival. Highlights of recent seasons have included a four-week, twenty-concert tour of the United States with the Czech Symphony Orchestra and guest conducting engagements including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Symphony Orchestra of Wales, English Chamber Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Symphony Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. He has collaborated with major artists including James Galway, Shlomo Mintz, Jessye Norman, Lynn Harrell, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Sarah Chang, Mstislav Rostropovich, Joshua Bell and Frederica von Stade.