The Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonics joined The Festival Harmonia Moraviae in 1999. The festival was originally conceived as an overview of spiritual music, but over time its style-genre focus significantly expanded. The festival has become an extraordinary cultural event around the Zlin region. It attracts the attention of the audience and the media every year. The festival has been bringing together with the Martinu Czech Philharmonic Orchestra dozens of leading world performers and conductors to Zlin (for example, Mojca Erdmann, Sharon Kam, Rolando Villazón, Misha Katz, Eugen Indjic, Vadim Gluzman, Fazil Say and others.) Let us mention some Czech Stars, such as Magdalena Kozena, Eva Urbanova, Adam Plachetka, Thomas Netopil, Gabriela Beňačková, Dagmar Peckova, Kateřina Kněžíková, Iva Bittová or Jakub Hrůša. In addition to the resident Martinů Czech Philharmonic Orchestra is the Festival regularly attended by prominent orchestras eg. From Poland, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland.
Harmonia Moraviae is an international music festival hosted by the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra since 1999. Every year it presents very high quality concerts featuring outstanding conductors, soloists and musicians and has established a reputation over the past 20 years as an eminent cultural event of the whole Zlín Region.
Originally conceived as a festival of primarily sacred music (in the sense of the harmony that permeates churches and other places of worship), it sought to provide a certain spiritual haven not only in terms of the music, but also as an opportunity for reflection and contemplation on the part of the listener. So it was that in its early years in particular, the festival concerts took place in some of the Zlín Region’s most important places of worship such as the Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary at Svatý Hostýn, the Church of Saints Philip and James in Zlín, the pilgrimage Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary in Zlín - Štípa, the Church of the Virgin Mary Help of Christians in the Jižní Svahy district of Zlín, the Church of St. Maurice in Kroměříž and the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Holešov.
The opening concert in the festival’s first year took place on 24th September 1999 at the František Xaverský Church in Uherské Hradiště in the presence of Mgr Jan Graubner, Archbishop of Olomouc and Moravian Metropolitan, who was the first to assume patronage of the festival as a whole.
The year 2007 was a watershed for the Harmonia Moraviae festival, which till then had taken place every two years, when it was reorganised as an annual event, the number of concerts was increased, and eminent soloists from within and outside the Czech Republic were invited to take part. At the same time the festival broadened its remit to appeal to a much wider audience, gradually widening its range in terms of its musical styles and genres. In some years, the focus was on vocal concerts (for example, 2008’s theme was “The Human Voice in Transition”, featuring Gabriela Beňačková, Eva Urbanová, the Hradišťan ensemble with Wolfgang Saus, and Mozart’s Requiem performed by the Buoni Pueri accompanied by the Musica Florea Orchestra). In other years the focus shifted to exclusively Czech music (for example in 2018, when the festival was dedicated entirely to the centenary of the founding of the Czechoslovak Republic). Then in 2019 the festival marked the double anniversary of the composer Bohuslav Martinů, after whom the Zlín Philharmonic had been named for more than 30 years.
Another major organisational step took place when the Orchestra moved from Zlín’s Dům umění Arts Centre to the newly built Congress Centre in early 2011, giving the Orchestra and the Festival an altogether more prestigious home. However the new Congress Centre did not have a suitable concert organ, which turned out to be a limiting factor in drawing up the programmes for the festival as a whole and for the individual concerts.
The Festival concerts have seen performances not only by our Zlín orchestra, but also by guest performers such as Carpe Diem (France), the Žilina State Chamber Orchestra (Slovakia), the Pardubice Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, Musica Florea, Collegium 1704, Musica Aeterna (Slovakia), the Baltic Neopolis Orchestra (Poland) and others. They have also regularly featured major choral groups such as the Brno-based Czech Philharmonic Choir, the Slovak Philharmonic Choir, Boni Pueri, the Czech Baroque Choir Ensemble, the Žerotín-based Academic Choir, Vox Iuvenalis, the Schola Cantorum Minorum Chosoviensis (Poland), Nativitatis (Poland), the Ars Brunensis Chorus, the Brno Academic Choir, DPS Cantica and Cantica Laetitia, Ars Cantata Zürich (Switzerland), SPS Dvořák, Schola Victoria Kroměříž, the Kroměříž Moravian Madrigalists, and SPS Svatopluk.
Media and public attention has always focused on the high-profile soloists and conductors, with performers from this country including Gabriela Beňačková, Lucie Bílá, Bára Basiková, Iva Bittová, Markéta Cukrová, David Eben, Jakub Hrůša, Václav Hudeček, Kateřina Chroboková, Kateřina Kněžíková, Magdalena Kožená, Zuzana Lapčíková, Dagmar Pecková, Jan Simon, Jiří Sulženko, Josef Špaček, Eva Urbanová and Ivan Ženatý. But the Festival has also hosted a series of guests from other countries, such as Walter Attanasi, Gustáv Beláček, Jan Jakub Bokun, Leonard Elschenbroich, Sophia Jaffé, Misha Katz, Andrea Marcon and Javier Perianes.
In 2008 the Festival joined the Czech Association of Music Festivals, and it takes place with the support of the Zlín Region and the Statutory City of Zlín.