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Smetana Piano Trio


Winners BBC Music Magazine 

Chamber Award 2017


The Smetana Trio is today one of the foremost Czech ensembles and with cellist Jan Palenicek continues the tradition of the renowned piano trio founded in the 1930s by his father, pianist Josef Palenicek. 

The trio performs throughout the Czech Republic with regular tours to USA, Japan, Britain, France, Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland. They also collaborate frequently with international orchestras.

Jan Palenicek - cello - studied with two of the greatest Czech cellists of their generation, Sasa Vectomov and Milos Sadlo. He studied chamber music with Joseph Vlach, leader of the Vlach Quartet and Paul Tortellier. Jan has given concerto and chamber performances throughout Europe as well as in Japan, USA and South Africa and he has recorded over twenty four CDs. He has taught at the Conservatoire and at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.


Jan Talich - violin - is known nowadays an exceptional figure not only on the Czech cultural scene, but also internationally recognised. In his rich career he is able to connect, at the highest level, his knowledge and experiences of several professions. He performs as a soloist, chamber player, conductor and pedagogue the world-over.
His longest path has been that of his solo career. Whilst still at the Prague Academy he won the both national and international competitions (Zagreb 89). These helped him begin his solo career, which lasts until today. He has performed with piano partners such as Itamar Golan, Gottlieb Wallish, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Jean Bernard Pommier.
For 5 years he was a member of the Kubelík Trio, with whom he recorded the complete Czech writings for piano trio. He left to take up the post of first violinist of the Talich Quartet.
The quartet, founded by his father in the year 1964, is one of the world’s best ensembles. During the 20 years of his time in the quartet they have performed regularly in the best concert halls of the world and have recorded tens of CDs.
Jan Talich plays the extraordinary violins made by J. Gagliano in 1780 and by G. P. Maggini in 1600.


Jitka Cechova piano - is a major international prize-winner and has a solo career, enjoying regular appearances with orchestras throughout Europe. Festival engagements include the Prague Spring, Graz, Paris, Frankfurt and Edinburgh. For Jitka Cechova, chamber music is one of the essential elements of her musical identity. Jitka has also made a number of recordings including the complete piano works of Smetana as a series of seven CDs for Supraphon. 



On Wednesday 19 April 2017 in Kings Place in London, the pianist Jitka Čechová received the prestigious BBC Music Magazine Award on behalf of the Smetana Trio for their recording of the complete piano trios of Bohuslav Martinů. The Smetana Trio won this major award in the category of Chamber Music for the first time ten years ago – in 2007 for their recording of Dvořák’s trios. The Czech ensemble has been achieving international success with their new album of compositions by Bohuslav Martinů ever since it was released, as testified to by its reviews: Diapason d´Or, BBC Music Magazine Disc of the Month, Sunday Times Album of the Week, TIP Harmonie.

Pianist Jitka Čechová had this to say about receiving the award: “We are very happy, for two reasons. First of all because this will open up many more doors on world stages to the specific music of Bohuslav Martinů. His chamber trios certainly deserve the attention of ensembles the world over, and thanks to the BBC they may become an integral part of their repertoires in the near future. From our point of view we are of course very pleased at this recognition of our attempts to re-interpret Martinů’s chamber music in a form that is as accessible as possible. It is a very wide-ranging collection of work: each trio evokes a completely different atmosphere, thus enabling the interpreter to demonstrate the immense breadth of colour registers in Martinů’s compositional styles. We were attracted by the idea (and enjoyed doing it) of uncovering the emotional depth of the compositions, wrapped in sometimes very complicated rhythmic and polyphonic structures, but still retaining the composer’s Czecho-Moravian poetic soul.”

The Smetana Trio received the BBC Music Magazine Award ten years after it first won it for its recording of the piano trios of Antonín Dvořák. “It’s a wonderful feeling. We see it as recognition of the significance of what we are doing in trying to interpret the legacy of the Czech masters correctly. In becoming aware of the essence of the power of composers born in the heart of Europe when linked with the understanding of interpreters who have also been born there – an additional element that cannot be attained or acquired. We are happy that we have managed to bring together in the Smetana Trio three musicians who breathe and create musically in a special symbiosis.”

The Smetana Trio are currently planning several concert tours, including one to England, where they will play at the Wigmore Hall, and others to Germany, Spain, and Italy. The ensemble is also returning once again to the USA – this time they will appear in San Diego, Los Angles, New York, Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia, and elsewhere. Among the Trio’s many performances planned in the Czech Republic is one at the international festival in Český Krumlov this summer. Negotiations are already under way for concerts in future seasons – at the Prague Spring in 2018 and Dvořák’s Prague in 2019.

The twenty-one CDs that were nominated this year were produced by nineteen different recording companies from all over the world. Recordings nominated for the BBC Music Magazine Awards are always divided into seven categories: instrumental, chamber, orchestral, choral, vocal, opera, and concerto. They are titles representing the best of the more than 1500 recordings reviewed in BBC Music Magazine during the course of the previous year. Among the star interpreters whose recordings were nominated this year were the following names: Mahan Esfahani, Rolf Lislevand, Danish String Quartet, Escher String Quartet, Nicolas Altstaedt, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, John Wilson, Barbara Hannigan, and Dimitris Tiliakos. The winners were announced at the traditional BBC Music Magazine Awards gala evening, which took place on Wednesday 19 April at Kings Place in London. BBC Music Magazine Awards are prizes solely for classical music and are unique in that they are partly chosen by the general public. Voting took place on the portal:

The album can be found on Supraphonline:

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