The Prague baroque orchestra Collegium 1704 and vocal ensemble Collegium Vocale 1704 were founded by harpsichordist and conductor Václav Luks in 2005 on the occasion of the BACH-PRAHA-2005 project. This marked the beginning of their regular collaboration with the Prague Spring International Music Festival.
Since 2007 Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704 have been residential ensembles of the Saint Wenceslas Music Festival in Ostrava. The year 2007 was dedicated to the composer Jan Dismas Zelenka and his Missa votiva for which the ensembles received critical acclaim at La Chaise-Dieu and Sablé festivals in France. Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704 are also frequent guests of festivals such as the Festival de Festival de Musique de Sully & du Loiret, Festival Baroque de Pontoise, Rencontres Musicales de Vézelay.
Since the autumn 2008,both ensembles have regularly returned to Dresden, where, concurrently with Prague, they present their concert cycle Music Bridge Prague - Dresden, which continues on the rich cultural tradition of both cities, focussing primarily on the locally active composer, J.D. Zelenka, his contemporaries and his predecessors.
Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704 celebrated the year of George Frideric Handel in 2009 with repeated performances of his oratorio La Resurrezione (The Resurrection) and the opera Rinaldo (director Louise Moaty). Rinaldo conquered the hearts of audiences in the National Theater in Prague, Grand Théâtre in Luxembourg, Opéra de Rennes and Théâtre de Caen, where it was recorded and broadcast on TV France 3. In January 2011 Rinaldo was performed in the Opéra Royal de Versailles and acclaimed "the most beautiful preformance of 2010 " (Radio France, Gérard Courchelle).
Opening concerts at Händel-Festspiele in Halle, Festival d’Ambronay and Festival Baroque de Pontoise (France), MA Brugge (Clara Radio recording), tour in France (Sablé, Chaise-Dieu, Lessay, Arques-la-Bataille) including TV Mezzo and France Musique recordings, concerts with mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená, contra-tenor Bejun Mehta in the National Theatre in Prague, with soprano Raffaella Milanesi at the Prague Spring Festival, mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux at Strings of Autumn festival and Concerts at the St. Wenceslas Music Festival in Ostrava belong to the high-lights of 2011.
New opera production with an opera by Josef Mysliveček detto Il Boemo, famous Czech composer of the 18th century opera seria is in preparation for seasons 2012-2013-2014 in coproductions of opera houses in Prague, Caen, Dijon and Luxembourg.
Concerts of both “Collegium” are often broadcast live as well as recorded by radio stations in the Czech Republic, France and Germany and also by Czech Television and French TV Mezzo. Their recordings for Arta records (Franz Benda), Supraphon (J.D. Zelenka, Reichenauer), Zig-Zag Territoires (J.D. Zelenka) and Accent (J.D. Zelenka) have been favourably received in Europe and further afield. Officium defunctorum & Requiem by J.D. Zelenka was awarded CD of the Month and Editor’s Choice of prestigious Gramophone Magazine in June 2011.