The NCPO Teplice History
The exact date when the spa orchestra in Teplice was established and took up activities cannot be ascertained. The official establishment was preceded by long-time concerting on both the colonnade and promenades. The charter and official confirmation bear the year 1831.
Teplice was called a saloon of Europe at that time and various characters of the European culture along a number of rulers with frequent and numerous suites, chieftains and earls visited Teplice with a view of treatments. It was the place where Johann Wolfgang Goethe met Ludwig van Beethoven, who was working here on his compositions, as did Richard Wagner, personally for the first time. Teplice hosted concertos of Fryderyk Chopin and Ferenc Liszt. We could see Robert Schumann, Bedřich Smetana and other artists among guests of that time.
Since the end of the century the orchestra featured regular symphonic repertoires performed by the most sought conductors and soloists of that time. Eugen d´Albert, Felix von Weingartner, Richard Strauss, pianists Ferruccio Busoni, Conrad Ansorge, Emil Sauer, Ernö Dohnányi, Frederic Lamond, violinists Pablo de Sarasate, Eugéne Ysaye, Bronislav Hubermann, Fritz Kreisler, Alexander Pečnikov, Henri Marteau, violoncellists David Popper, Julius Klengel, Hugo Becker, Anton Hekking, singers Lili Lehmannová, Ernestina Schumann-Heinkeová and many others were among this high-profile artists.
The end of nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century were under a sign of boom and prosperity of musical life in Teplice. In the period before and after the First World War the orchestra was notably expanded. However, its activity ceased with the end of the Second World War and the German theatre closing down.
After the war Teplice wanted to bring back the cultural and social face of the spa. In 1948 a new orchestra was established – The Town Spa Orchestra. A number of conductors changed in the orchestra during the first year of its existence. In January 1949 Miloslav Bervíd, whose pivotal task was to reform the spa orchestra to a symphonic orchestra capable of managing the most difficult performances, took the position of the orchestra director.
In September 1956 Bohumil Berka, who left the most visible and permanent artistic trace here, was appointed the art director. He remained as the head of the orchestra till 1972. Several, later very important, characters like Martin Turnovský, Libor Pešek and Vladimír Válek changed in the position of the second conductor.
In 1972 Jaroslav Soukup was named in the position of art director and chief-conductor. He enlarged the number of the orchestra staff, which has borne the name of Severočeská Philharmonic since 1979. He also came with the idea of building a concert hall in Teplice, a concert hall meeting all that-time requirements. In 1986 Kulturní Dům was opened and Severočeská Philharmonic found here a perfectly built-up work place with a concert hall of high aesthetic and acoustic standard.
After the events of 1989 Jan Štván was in the position of the chief conductor for the period of one year. Years 1991 to 1997 then passed under the sign of systematic artistic work of the director and chief conductor Tomáš Koutník. He contributed to the interpretative mastership and dramatic revival of the orchestra. He realised several compact recordings with Severočeská Philharmonic. A recording of the set of eight symphonies by Franz Schubert released for the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth can be regarded as the biggest deed.
In the season 1997 - 1998, the season of the celebration of 50th anniversary of re-establishment of the philharmonic, a young Canadian Charles Olivieri-Munroe took the position of the chief conductor.
Severočeská Philharmonic is a regular guest at estrades in Prague and other big cities in Bohemia. Its performations abroad are more and more frequent. That is not only at purely symphonic programs but also at opera shows or cantata concertos. Severočeská Philharmonic concerted most frequently in Germany, and in Italy, Austria, Spain and Switzerland.