Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, Košice

The Slovak State Philharmonic was established in 1968 as the second professional symphony orchestra in Slovakia. It is based in Košice, the capital of Eastern Slovakia, a city with a population of over a quarter of a million. Košice is a seat of the constitutional court, and has four universities, numerous research institutes, theatres, galleries and museums.

The first concert of the newly founded orchestra was given in April 1969 under the then chief conductor Bystrík Režucha. In a short time the orchestra won wide recognition among both professional and general audiences and became one of the leading representatives of Slovak music in Slovakia and abroad.

The nearly 90-strong ensemble includes professional musicians who are graduates of conservatories and famous music academies.

Great success has been achieved with concerts in many European countries and also in leading cities in Asia. The orchestra has performed at international music festivals held in important cultural centres of the world, including Vienna, Salzburg, Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Antwerp, Lisbon, Barcelona, Athens, Rheims, Hong Kong, Luxemburg, and New York. In 1994 the orchestra undertook a month-long tour of the United States, marking the first appearance of the orchestra in America.

In addition to performances for radio and television, there have been more than 130 commercial recordings, many of them for Naxos and Marco Polo. These include rare repertoire, as well as participation in the Marco Polo recordings of the complete works of the younger Johann Strauss and of his brother Josef Strauss.

Since 1991 the orchestra has been the only one in the Slovak republic to hold two international festivals: the Košice Music Spring Festival and the International Organ Festival of Ivan Sokol. The orchestra has also organised the Festival of Contemporary Art since 2003.

Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, Košice
Photo: J.L’aš