Jakub Hrůša has been awarded the 2020 Antonín Dvořák Prize. It was announced on 14 September by the Czech Republic’s Academy of Classical Music.

The Academy writes:

“Jan Simon, the programming director of the Academy of Classical Music and the chairman of the Academic Council, said: ‘One of the reasons for the Academic Council’s decision was the phenomenal success of the recording Dvořák & Martinů: Piano Concertos, which won a prize this year in the concert recording category from the prestigious British journal BBC Music Magazine. Jakub Hrůša created this album with the pianist Ivo Kahánek and the Bamberg Symphony, where he has been at the helm for several years.’

“Mr Simon added that the Academic Council took into consideration other special awards won by that Supraphon recording, including a prize from the French journal Classica. The recording became the Album of the Week on the radio stations BBC 3 and BR Klassik, and BBC Music Magazine selected it as the recording of the month. The recording also won the Angel Award in the classical category from the Czech Academy of Music.

“Mr Simon continued: ‘Although what was decisive for the Academic Council was Jakub Hrůša’s many years of systematic, extraordinary success as a performer internationally and his guest appearances with the philharmonic orchestras of New York, Vienna, and Berlin within an incredibly short period of time, Hrůša is truly deserving for his highly visible, important work in furthering the legacies of Antonín Dvořák, Josef Suk, Leoš Janáček, Bohuslav Martinů and many other Czech composers. One example of his efforts to promote lesser-known Czech composers abroad was programming a work by Miloslav Kabeláč for a concert of the Berlin Philharmonic. And when listing Maestro Hrůša’s merit in raising global awareness of Czech music, his performing of Suk’s works and the current project to record Suk’s complete orchestral music is one of the major artistic achievements that influenced the Academic Council in choosing Jakub Hrůša as the new winner of the Antonín Dvořák Prize.’

“Since 2016, Jakub Hrůša has held the position of chief conductor of the Bamberg Symphony (or the Bavarian State Philharmonic), and since 2018 he (together with Tomáš Netopil) has been the principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. He also collaborates with many other important orchestras. The musical website Bachtrack calculated that in 2019 Jakub Hrůša was the fourth busiest conductor in the world (measured by the number of appearances on prestigious stages).

“With the awarding of the Antonín Dvořák Prize, Jakub Hrůša has taken his place alongside other important figures who have received this award since it was established in 2009. The first laureate was the great-grandson of the composer Antonín Dvořák, the violinist, violist, and conductor Josef Suk. Among those to follow him have been the pianist Ivan Moravec, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and Jiří Kylián, a choreographer and dancer of worldwide renown. In recent years, the award has gone to the Czech Philharmonic (2018) and the soprano Gabriela Beňačková (2019).

“Robert Kolář, the director of the Academy of Classical Music, said: ‘I’m very glad that for the awarding of this year’s prize, Academic Council has chosen a person whose current achievements are spreading the fame of Czech music around the world. By this decision, the Academic Council has chosen a winner who fulfils one of the other basic requirements for laureates: the Antonín Dvořák Prize is awarded not only for a lifetime of efforts, but also for concrete projects and actions that bring attention to Dvořák’s legacy and that bring the powerful message of Czech music in a broader context of composers to the music-loving public all around the world.’

“The Antonín Dvořák Prize is a prestigious award in the field of classical music. Its purpose is to highlight individuals, artistic ensembles, and institutions for their extraordinary artistic achievements or their meritorious service for the promotion and popularisation of Czech classical music in the Czech Republic and abroad. It is awarded by the Academy of Classical Music with the support of the Karel Komárek Family Foundation. In accordance with tradition, the traditional crystal cello designed by the eminent designer Jiří Pelcl has been made once again by Moser, a manufacturer of fine glass products.”