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Slovak Sinfonietta Zilina
. The Slovak Sinfonietta, Žilina is one of the best-known professional orchestras in Eastern Europe and holds a very important position in the Slovak musical culture. It was founded in 1974 as the only 'Classical period' state chamber orchestra in Slovakia. Since then the orchestra has attained a prominent position in both the Slovak and Czech Republics, as well as achieving a considerable international reputation. Its 34 members are graduates of the major Czech and Slovak music academies and many of them are winners of international competitions and active both as soloists and chamber musicians. The quality of the players, together with the experience and musicianship of founding music director and conductor Eduard Fischer (1930-1993) brought about the quick artistic growth of the orchestra. In 1977 the orchestra attained international recognition when it was invited to the Salzburg Festival and designated the official orchestra of that prestigious event. Soon after followed appearances at the 'Prague Spring' and at various major festivals throughout Europe and beyond, including the Wiener Festwochen, Spring Festival and Haydn Festival in Vienna, Sofia's Musical Weeks, Festa Musica Pro in Assisi, Festival de Catalunia in Spain, Festival El Djem in Tunisia, Festival de Bonaguil in France, Music in Old Krakow, Budapest Spring Festival, Bratislava Music Festival, Melos Ethos Bratislava, Mozartfest Schwetzingen, Schleswick-Holstein Festival, Festival de Manaus in Brazil, Festival van Vlaanderen, Aspekte Salzburg, Johann Strauss Vater Festival in Vienna, Bodensee Festival in Switzerland, Ankara Musik Festival, and many others. The Sinfonietta also played at such prestigious international venues as the Musikverein and Konzerthaus Vienna, the House of Artists Prague, Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Komische Oper Berlin, St Francis' Cathedral Assisi, Palau de la Musica Barcelona, Teatro Arriaga Bilbao, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Symphony Hall Osaka, Tokyo Metropolitan Hall, Theatre de la Monniae Brussel, Mozarteum Salzburg, Teatro Abadia Madrid, Tonhalle Zürich and the Great Concert Hall of the St Peterburg Philharmonic. To date the orchestra has given over 2,300 concerts in almost every country of Europe, in Tunisia, Japan, Brazil, Canada and the USA. Among the prominent artists who have performed with the orchestra are conductors Claus Peter Flor, Ondrej Lenárd, Oliver von Dohnanyi, Leoš Svárovský, Vladimír Válek, Petr Vronský, Ľudovít Rajter, Peter Maag, Marco Armiliato, Christian Benda, Dwight Bennett, Christian Pollack, Peter Breiner, Vladimír Kiradjiev, Ernst Märzendorfer, Martin Sieghardt, Stefan Lano, Alexander Schwinck, Janusz Powolny, Volker Schmidt Gertenbach, Georg Mais, Urs Schneider, Theodore Kuchar, and soloists Igor Oistrach, Narciso Yepes, André Gertler, Václav Hudeček, Liana Issakadze, Vanessa Mae, Marián Lapšanský, Eugen Indjic, Till Felner, Michael Kofler, Peter Dvorský, Sergej Kopčák, Michél Senechal, Stefan Elenkov, Edita Grúberová, Georg Tichy, Gabriela Beňačková, Magdaléna Kožená, Ľuba Orgonášová, Magdaléna Hajossyová, Gustáv Beláček, Izabela Labuda, Benno Schollum, Ildikó Raimondi, and Olivia Stapp. The Orchestra's current Chief Conductor Emeritus is Japanese conductor Tsugio Maeda.