EXCLUSIVE: 'It’s a fantastic feeling' – Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša on Grammy nomination

Hrůša was conductor on the album Bohemian Tales, recorded by Augustin Hadelich, which could pick up the musical prize next month.

Tom Lane

Written by Tom Lane
Published on 01.12.2020 09:38 (updated on 01.12.2020)

Jakub Hrůša, a Czech conductor, has won international acclaim having worked in New York, Prague, Vienna and many more places all over the world.

Now he could be able to add Grammy winner to that list, with Bohemian Tales, the album Bohemian Tales, recorded with Augustin Hadelich and the Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra) nominated in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category.

Hrůša is currently the chief conductor of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and chief guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic and of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra.

In an exclusive interview with Expats.cz, he explained where his love of music originally came from.

“Music has always been an integral part of my life. My family isn’t musical professionally but I am eternally grateful to my parents that when they recognized my musical talent, they insisted that I practised and developed it - albeit never forcefully.

“I have many interests in my life but music has always been most central and conducting is simply the most natural branch in it for me. My passion for it never ceased - actually, through time, it’s deeper and deeper."

“I guess originally, beside music, I thought more about myself and what I personally do with it. Now I am simply interested entirely in the composer and how his/her message can resonate with the playing ensembles and with the listening people.”

In the album, Hrůša conducts the orchestra working in the style of Dvořák, Suk, and Janáček, with Hrůša receiving the Antonín Dvořák Prize by the Academy of Classical Music earlier this year.

This particular version of the recording was from a performance in Munich.

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“The Violin Concerto by Dvořák is a hit. However, it was often overshadowed by Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. I perform it very often - and this live recording of our Munich performance was so good that it was immediately released on CD and now it gets so beautifully appreciated,” said Hrůša. 

The Bohemian Tales album is recorded by the violinist Augustin Hadelich, and Hrůša says it was a pleasure to work with him and the rest of the team.

“My involvement in it was providing the best possible collaboration to the soloist Augustin Hadelich of course but I guess played a role of a certain advisor, too, because this is music of my land and I feel every note of it deep in my muscles and bones.”

“It was fantastic. Augustin is a true musician, he is always meticulously prepared and he causes lots of excitement. But the orchestra, the famous Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and I clicked amazingly and all of us radiated an excellent energy. I think you can feel it on the CD.”

And what does it mean to have his worked recognized on an international stage in this way?

“It’s a fantastic feeling. My recordings haven’t been short of recognition and some great awards, and I enjoyed seeing repeatedly that the public, excerpts and music lovers, acknowledge what I do. But Grammy is always special.”

Another Czech musician has had involvement in songs nominated for a Grammy, as announced last week.

Ondřej Pivec, the pianist and organist was involved in the production of the Gregory Porter album All Rise which is nominated for Best R&B Album. He also worked on the song Sit On Down by The Baylor Product which is nominated for Best R&B Traditional Performance Single.

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Pivec said via his website: "I am very thankful for being part of two amazing projects that were just nominated for the 63rd Grammy awards!"

The 2021 Grammy Awards will take place on Jan. 31, in a show hosted by the comedian Trevor Noah.

The show will be available to watch on the Grammy website for international viewers. Due to COVID restrictions it is not yet confirmed whether the show will have a live audience or feature a virtual audience next year.