The Spa Orchestra, which is the provider of promenade music during the summer season, can be traced back to the very beginning of the 19th century even though the official beginnings are attributed to a later period. The first official document from the National Council, which is responsible for Teplice’s spa music, dates back to February 1831. From the onset of 1838, preparations took place to get the spa orchestra up and running. The key was a document provided by the governor of the district of Litomeric which enabled the orchestra to gain full statute on April 14, 1838. Back then, at the head of Teplice stood music composer Josef Matyáš Wolfram, whose contributions played a significant role in the formation of the orchestra and in ensuring financial security for the duration of the spa season. In 1870 Teplice’s spas were at their prime hosting concerts with the finest personalities the world of music had to offer. For example, conductors Eugen d´Albert, 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, celloists David Popper, Julius Klengel, Hugo Becker, Anton Hekking, singers Lili Lehmannová, Ernestina Schumann-Heinke and many others. In the summer, the orchestra performed approximately 150 spa and 18 symphony concerts and cycles of symphony music during the winter season. The orchestra was not only led by Wille himself, but also by guest conductors like Siegfried Wagner, Alexander Zemlinsky or Felix von Weingartner. All great Czech violinists performed here from Josef Slavik to Jan Kubelik.
At the end of the Second World War, the closing of the town’s German theatre marked the end of the thriving orchestra’s concerting era. On January 11, 1948, the town’s council gave Sedmidubsky a proposal for restoring the once renowned spa orchestra. The establishment of the spa orchestra was approved during a session with the MC in Teplice on January 12 and twelve days later, the first recruitment took place in Teplice. Interested applicants attended auditions at the Artist’s House in Prague, observed by a commission made up of the conservatoire’s director Dr. Vaclav Holzknecht, Dr. Vaclav Smetacek, Prof. Emanuel Kaucky, Alois Sarauer and Milos Sedmidubsky. Within its first year, the Town Spa Orchestra performed 180 concerts.
In August 1997 a conductor of equivalent artistic stature was discovered at the State Philharmonic of Brno to replace resigning Chief Conductor. Taking over the position was the 27 year old Canadian conductor Charles Olivieri-Munroe. A new and dynamic interpretation of music appreciated by and accessible to a wide range of listeners caused a notable increase in the attendance of season subscription concerts. The new Chief Conductor and the North Czech Philharmonic artistically influenced each other creating a unique relationship. Charles Olivieri-Munroe brought to Teplice a number of world famous artists including the Princess of Monaco Caroline Murat. This collaboration reached its peak in 1999 with a concert in Monaco in the presence of numerous world renowned personalities of society. World celebrated violinist Maxim Vengerov also performed at the concert which donated its proceeds to the Weizman Foundation. Chief Conductor Charles Olivieri-Munroe has been and continues to be invited to prestigious concert podiums all over the world. He has and continues to conduct acclaimed orchestras internationally and the perfecting of his initial development as a conductor reached its peak in 2000 when he was awarded first prize at the International Conducting Competition of the Prague Spring Music Festival.
From 2001, the North Czech Philharmonic markedly increased its activities at home and abroad. During 2004, the orchestra performed 142 concerts of which 52 took place abroad. More than 360 000 concert goers in Germany, Spain, Austria, France, Portugal, Denmark, Malta, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, Switzerland and other countries had the opportunity to get acquainted with the growing artistic talent of the orchestra. Foreign critics remarked on the predominance of young musicians in the orchestra, the teamwork and their overall musical splendour. The philharmonic made an impact on significant European centres like Munich, Berlin, Basil, Paris, Valencia, Madrid, Lisboa, Belgrad, Zagreb, Valletta, Budapest, Frankfurt and many other cities which would follow. Nevertheless, the centre of artistic activity continued to be in Teplice where it was considered a cultural event. Regular season subscriptions were divided into two series increasing the total number of subscribers. Thanks to productive co-operation abroad and to exceptional contacts with foreign agencies the North Czech Philharmonic today is able to invite numerous world famous artists which is truly appreciated by its audience at home. At the same time, the orchestra has not neglected its youth and holds many concerts devoted to schools and parents & childrengiving them a unique opportunity to meet a large symphony orchestra at a young age.
© 2012 The Association of Symphony Orchestras and Choirs of the Czech Republic (Actualised 06/01/2010)