Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra
Raising from a Radio Orchestra founded in the mid-wars period when Paul Hindemith, Leoš Janáček, Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky frequently visited Ostrava, a big symphony orchestra was launched in 1954. Thanks to demanding artistic direction it soon became one of the leading Czech orchestras and started to tour abroad only two years later (1956). Many world-known conductors and soloist made their artistic attribution to the orchestra since then: Maris Jansons, Serge Baudo, Václav Neumann, Karel Ančerl, Jiří Bělohlávek, Helmuth Rilling, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Iván Fischer; Rudolf Firkušný, Svjatoslav Richter, Frank-Peter Zimmermann, André Navarra and many others.
The Velvet Revolution and the two upcoming decades (90s and 00s) sees the orchestra touring a lot to the West, including tours with the opera stars such as Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Diana Ross or Joseph Calleja in the same time when Christian Arming becomes the youngest Artistic director in the orchestra`s history.
Mark John McEncroe
Born in Sydney, Australia, Mark John McEncroe had a varied interest in many kinds of music that led him to working in the music/record business for EMI Records in his early 20s and 30s. For much of that time he was a Label Manager, first with EMI Australia and then with EMI Sweden, and it was during this period that he commenced his music studies with lessons in piano, trumpet, flute and later the clarinet.
At age 37 McEncroe studied piano in earnest under Will Scarlett in Sydney, continuing lesson with Valerie Fawcett and then Helen Kennedy, after Will Scarlett's death. During this time McEncroe developed an interest in composition that was to become his all consuming passion and main focus. To this end, in 2003 he began his study of music theory and composition with Margaret Brandman in Sydney, which continued until 2012.
In 2006 he collaborated with Mark J Saliba who orchestrated a piano work from McEncroe's "Symphonic Poem - The Passing". This work was later recorded and performed by The Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) in The Czech Republic. Since then Saliba has orchestrated much of McEncroe's material from his piano works and piano reductions. During this time McEncroe has been studying orchestration with Saliba, and more recently, commenced lessons with Australian composer, Houston Dunleavy.
To date McEncroe has recorded and released two piano CDs, Reflections & Recollections Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, with pianist Helen Kennedy. He has also released his Fanfare Suite for orchestra; two Symphonic Poems: “The Passing” and “A Celebration of The Natural World” on the CD Affirmations & Aspirations recorded in The Czech Republic with The JPO conducted by Anthony Armore. Over the last few years McEncroe has recorded many works with The JPO and conductor Anthony Armore.
In 2016 McEncroe signed up with Parma Recordings in the USA, to release his his fourth CD Dark Clouds In Life which features his work for piano and orchestra “Natalie's Suite - Three Faces of Addiction”, and “Symphonic Poem - Echoes from A Haunted Past”, together with pieces from his piano volumes. Parma will follow this with the release of Mark's “Symphonic Suites No. 1 and 2” on a double CD.
Live concert performances of McEncroe's orchestral works to date include “Symphonic Poem - The Passing” performed by The JPO with conductor Anthony Armore; “Symphonic Suite No. 1” under conductor Heiko Mathias Foerster and “Symphonic Suites No. 1 and No. 2” featuring The Rousse Philharmonic conducted by Nayden Todorov. Symphonic Suite No. 3 will premiere in concert in 2018.
McEncroe’s current projects include writing a ballet based on Symphonic Suites Nos 1 and 2, a new CD release of solo piano works performed by John Martin, planning more European concerts of his Symphonic Suites, collaborating with Mark Saliba on orchestrations of his piano pieces to be recorded with the JPO, and continually composing more works for piano and orchestra.