Ondrej Vrabec

Ondřej Vrabec – In spite of his young age, conductor and hornplayer Ondřej Vrabec (1979) is one of the most seasoned Czech artists. However, the majority of his recent musical activity is represented by conducting, benefiting from his rich artistic experience derived from his intensive concert career as soloist, chamber and orchestra player, dating back long before the threshold of his adulthood.

At the mere age of 17, he sat down for the first time on the first chair of the horn section of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and two years later, he was  appointed as solo horn player of this orchestra. He is a graduate of the Prague Conservatoire (horn – prof. B. Tylšar, conducting – prof. V. Válek, H. Farkač, M. Němcová, M. Košler) and of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (conducting – prof. R. Eliška, J. Bělohlávek, F. Vajnar and others). He supplemented his studies with frequent master courses (such as London Masterclasses, Hornclass, French Academy in Telč etc).

The most precious impulse in the forming of his artistic approach was the cooperation with the elite of world wind instrument school (Sergio Azzolini, Maurice Bourgue) and artistic support from some of the very top conductors of today (Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Jiří Bělohlávek, Benjamin Zander and other).

He holds the title of absolute winner of the competition of conservatories in Ostrava, and has garnered several other laureaute titles as a chamber player (Concertino Praga, the competition of the Mozart Society etc.) In 2007, he ranked  4th place in the Prague Spring International Conducting Competition, and gained an honorary mention of the jury as well as two other special awards for the most successful Czech candidate. He has performed in the role of a soloist with  many  Czech and foreign orchestras (among others Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, Sólistes Européenes Luxembourg, Augsburg Philharmonic Orchestra, State Philharmonic Košice, Rzeszow Philharmonic, Lviv Philharmonic) under the baton of world famous conductors (Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Vladimir Ashkenazy etc.). He is often presented to audiences in solo recitals.

He has been always very active in the field of chamber music (especially with the Brahms Trio Prague and the PhilHarmonia Octet, formerly with the Maurice Bourgue Ensemble, the  Juventus Quintet, the Czech Philharmonic Horn Club etc.). He created an extensive sound recordings library for Czech Radio and several gramophone titles. The profile CD of Brahms Trio Prague, realized in a unique manner in his own music and sound directing has gained great responses of critics both at home and abroad. The reviewer of the prestigious American magazine Fanfare termed it the probably best world recording of Trio Es Dur, op. 40 of J. Brahms realized so far. Ondřej Vrabec stimulated, both in direct and indirect ways, the emergence of many contemporary compositions for various instrumental casts in combination with horn. Most of them are dedicated to him and were usually performed or recorded by him in a world premiere. Also his pedagogic activity has been gaining more and more respect – he leads master courses (Japan, Canada, Czech republic) and he regularly cooperates with the Japanese educational society And Vision Inc. Tokio. Students from various parts of the world have been coming to his private lessons to the Prague Rudolfinum.

As a conductor, Ondřej Vrabec regularly cooperates with the majority of Czech professional orchestras including the very top Czech Philharmonic and Prague Philharmonia. He also conducted some foreign ensembles (Reykjavik Chamber Orchestra, State Philharmonic Košice – Slovakia, Galeria Wind Orchestra Tokio, London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, Denmark National Symphony Orchestra etc). He presented himself in international festivals (Prague Spring, Mitte Europa, Český Krumlov). He is a permanent member of the team of conductors of Ostrava Days International New Music Festival, one of the biggest contemporary music events around the globe. His opera performances include two complete preparation of Figaro’s Wedding in the opera in Ústí nad Labem and in the Prague Theatre Komedie. In 2011 he conducted the first-ever Asian tour of the Prague Philharmonia to South Korea. In 2012 he led the Czech Philharmonic in one of it´s season highlights programme. It was recorded on CD by the japanese gramophone company Octavia Records. He also occasionally leads the rehearsals of the Czech Philharmonic on behalf of world famous maestros like Sir John Eliot Gardiner or Manfred Honeck (on their own request). Together with the Czech Philharmonic Collegium, he recorded two gramophone titles – the DVD „Transformations“ (project of the group Čechomor, published by Universal Music, elected as the disc of the year) and the CD of concertos for violin and viola (Gabriela Demeterová, Supraphon).