Who is... Radek Baborak
Meet our star: Radek Baborak
The horn player and conductor Radek Baborák is one of the most outstanding figures on the classical music scene. Since beginning his solo career over twenty-five years ago, his extraordinary musical performances have enthralled audiences in the most important cultural venues around the world. He has collaborated with many distinguished conductors, including Daniel Barenboim, Seiji Ozawa, Simon Rattle, Neeme Järvi, James Levine, Vladimir Askhenazy, James de Priest and Marek Janowski.
Baborák is a regular guest at prestigious festivals such as the: Salzburger Osterfestspiele; Maggio musicale, Fiorentino; Pacific Music Festival; the White Nights Festival, St.Petersburg; the Chamber Music Garden, Suntory Hall; International Music Festival, Utrecht; Julian Rachlin and Friends, Dubrovník; Le Pontes; Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival; Smetana’s Litomyšl and Prague Spring.
His concerts have been broadcast by television and radio stations including: Euro Arts, BR, ARD, NHK, CT, RTVE and he has made recordings for EMI, Supraphon, Exton, Arte Nova, Artesmon and Animal Music.
Between 2003-2010, Baborák held the post of principal horn at the Berlin Philharmonic. He also appeared as a soloist with the orchestra, performing alongside Ian Bostridge and conducter Simon Rattle (Britten, the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings), at the Prague Estate Theatre with Daniel Barenboim (Mozart, Concerto in D-Major), at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall (Schumann, Concertpiece for Four Horns) and with the conductor Dmitri Kitajenko (Gliere, Concerto in B-Major).
The opening concert of the Olympic Games in Nagano marked the beginning of a long-term collaboration with Maestro Seiji Ozawa. Baborák became a member of the Saito Kinen Orchestra and Mito Chamber Orchestra, and regularly gives concerts with them in Japan, USA and Europe. With their chief conductor Maestro Ozawa, Baborák recorded the complete set of Mozart horn concertos and the Sinfonia Concertante (Sony), and as a soloist/conductor he also performed compositions by Haydn, Rosseti, Hosokawa, Mozart, Britten and others. When on a European tour with the Mito Chamber Orchestra, Baborák was asked by members of the orchestra to step in for the indisposed Seiji Ozawa and thus his career as conductor was launched.
Radek Baborák has performed as a soloist with the following orchestras: the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, RSB Berlin, Bamberg Symphony, Bach Akademie Stuttgart, Berlin Baroque Soloists, Radio France Lyon, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande Geneva, Philharmonique de Strassbourg, Finnish Radio Orchestra Helsinki, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Philhramonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra Vienna, Mozarteum Salzburg, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, Mito Chamber Orchestra, Saito Kinen Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, RTVE Orchestra Madrid, and Arthur Rubinstein Lodz Philharmonic.
Baborák is especially popular in Japan; since 1994 he has been on regular tours in the country, playing with the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, The Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Osaka Symphony Orchestra and in many Japanese cities (Nagoya, Kitakyushu, Nagasaki) and prominent venues, including Suntory Hall, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara and Kioi Hall.
Over a period of ten years, Baborák has recorded more than twenty CDs for the Japanese label Octavia Records (Exton,Cryston), among them music by J.S.Bach, which reached tens of thousands of listeners. The Baborák Ensemble CD received the Japanese critics’ prize. The recording of arrangements of Anton Bruckner’s compositions (Bruckner in Cathedral I, II) by the Czech Horn Chorus, with the organist Aleš Bárta, and under the leadership of Miloš Bok, was received with great enthusiasm. Among other releases are: Baborák’s recital with the pianist Yoko Kikuchi (Beethoven and French music) with the harpist Naoko Yoshino (Réve) and solo CDs (Baborák Plays Etudes, The New Dimension), Mozart’s and Haydn’s Symphonies (Prague, Clock, Noon, Symphony in G-minor) and horn concertos with the Czech Sinfonietta Orchestra where Baborák took up the role of conductor.
An essential part of Radek Baborák’s musical life is chamber music. He founded and has been the leader of several ensembles: the Baborák Ensemble, in principal consisting of french horn and string quartet; the Czech Horn Chorus, which continues the 300 year-old tradition of horn playing in the Czech Lands; and the string ensemble Prague Chamber Soloists, whose founding in 1960 is linked with Václav Neumann. He is a member of the Afflatus Quintet, which received first prize at the ARD competition in Munich in 1997. Baborák plays in recitals with the pianist Yoko Kukuchi - the winner of the Mozart Competition in Salzburg, with the organist Aleš Bárta and harpist Jana Boušková. He is a member of Berlin-Munich-Vienna Oktett and collaborates with the Berlin Baroque Soloists.
As a chamber musician he is regularly invited to collaborate with outstanding musicians and personalities, including the pianists Yefim Bronfman, Andras Schiff, Itamar Golan, Denis Kozhukhin, Rudolf Buchbinder, Gerhard Oppitz; violinists Julian Rachlin, Janine Jansen, Guy Braunstein, Daishin Kashimoto, Lorenz Nasturica, Boris Brovtsyn; the cellist Julian Steckel, flautist Emmanuel Pahud, oboe players Albrecht Mayer and Francois Leleux; singers Ian Bostridge, Thomas Quasthoff and Waltraud Mayer.
Radek Baborák had been a senior lecturer at the Fondazione Arturo Toscanini in Parma and holds the position of guest professor at TOHO University Tokyo, Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia and teaches at the Academy of Music in Prague. He has led horn courses in Germany and Switzerland.
Radek Baborák was born in Pardubice in 1976 into a musical family. At the age of eight he started learning the horn with Prof. Karel Křenek. Under his leadership he became the overall winner of the Prague Radio Competition Concertino Praga, received third prize at the Prague Spring Competition, first prize in the Competition for Interpreters of Contemporary Music and became laureate of the Grand Prix Unesco.
Between 1990-1994 he continued his studies at the Prague Conservatoire in Prof. Bedřich Tylšar’s class. During his studies he won competitions in Geneva in 1993, Markneukirchen in 1994 and ARD in Munich in 1994. In 1995 he was awarded the Grammy Award Classic and the Dawidov Prize.
At the age of eighteen Baborák was appointed principal horn with the Czech Philharmonic, rather exceptionally without any audition, and he remained in the post for two years. In 1996-2000 he was principal horn with the Munich Philharmonic. In 2001 he signed an exclusive contract with the Bamberg Symphony. Baborák’s post with the Berlin Philharmonic in the years 2003-2010 represents the last chapter of his career as an orchestra player.