The abbreviation FOK stands for Film Opera Koncert, which were the ensemble’s original focuses.
Founded in 1934, the Prague Symphony Orchestra (FOK) is a leading Czech ensemble with an impressive tradition and international reputation, which enriches the concert life of the Czech metropolis and represents Prague and Czech culture abroad at the highest level. As the official orchestra of the City of Prague, it is based and performs in the attractive space of the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House. The abbreviation FOK stands for Film – Opera – Koncert which was the orchestra’s original focus.
Tomáš Brauner has been Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra since the 2020/2021 season. Prior to him, Rudolf Pekárek, Václav Smetáček, Jiří Bělohlávek, Petr Altrichter, Gaetano Delogu, Serge Baudo, Jiří Kout, and Pietari Inkinen held this post. Tomáš Netopil has been designated Chief Conductor from the 2025/2026 season. Rita Chepurchenko and Roman Patočka are the orchestra’s first violinists.
The orchestra has maintained its artistic reputation and respect throughout its existence by working with internationally renowned conductors (Václav Talich, Rafael Kubelík, Karel Ančerl, Sir Georg Solti, Seiji Ozawa, Walter Süsskind, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, Carlos Kleiber, Sir Charles Mackerras, Charles Dutoit, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Leonard Slatkin, Michel Plasson, Neeme Järvi, Krzysztof Penderecki, Christoph Eschenbach, Eliahu Inbal, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Paavo Järvi, Richard Hickox, Andrey Boreyko, Helmuth Rilling, Jac van Steen and others); instrumental soloists (David Oistrach, Isaac Stern, Josef Suk, Rudolf Firkušný, Sviatoslav Richter, Claudio Arrau, Ivan Moravec, Garrick Ohlsson, Maurice André, Mstislav Rostropovich, Mischa Maisky, Martha Argerich, Heinrich Schiff, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Sergei Nakariakov, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Vadim Repin, Pinchas Zukerman, Felix Klieser, Lukáš Vondráček and others) and singers (Kim Borg, Katia Ricciarelli, Gabriela Beňačková, José Cura, Anne Sofie von Otter, Peter Dvorský, Edita Gruberová, Thomas Hampson, Ruggero Raimondi, Philip Langridge, Renée Fleming, Bernarda Fink, Linda Watson, Eva Urbanová, Simon O'Neill, and others).
Each season the Prague Symphony Orchestra plays over fifty orchestral concerts in Prague. Before the season opens, the orchestra meets its audience at a traditional free open-air concert in the Wallenstein Garden.
The Prague Symphony Orchestra has performed in most European countries, as well as repeatedly in the United States, and has also visited South America, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Turkey, Israel, Oman, China and other countries. In August 2022, it made its debut at the Elbe Philharmonic in Hamburg. In 2023 the orchestra performed in Austria, Germany, and Hungary. Traditional tour destinations include Japan and South Korea, where the orchestra will again visit in January 2024.
The orchestra's long tradition is documented by an extensive catalogue of gramophone, radio and television recordings, and the most interesting archival recordings have been made available online. The orchestra recorded music for most Czech films of the 1930s. Under the baton of the chief conductor Tomáš Brauner, the Prague Symphony Orchestra has recently recorded Dvořák's Slavonic Dances, works by Karel Husa, including the legendary Music for Prague 1968, and piano concertos by Sergei Rachmaninov with Lukáš Vondráček.
The FOK brand is also associated with the organisation of chamber concerts. Prague audiences have become very fond of the Chamber Music and Early Music series at the Church of St. Simon and St. Jude. The FOK also traditionally organises a series of piano recitals in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum, the chamber concerts Pictures and Music at the Agnes Monastery, and music and literary programmes in the Word and Music series at the Viola Theatre.