The ‘conductor-less Prague Chamber Orchestra’ (= PKO) was founded in 1951. It quickly became world-famous for its interpretations of the classics and is regarded today as one of the best known examples of Czech artistic interpretation. Past repertoire has spanned the centuries from the Baroque period up to and including the 20th century, with increasing focus on the works of contemporary composers. The PKO makes frequent guest appearances of world-famous festivals, regularly playing in the Prague Rudolfinum, the New York Lincoln Center, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Vienna Musikverein and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.
Soloists who have worked with the PKO include Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Paul Badura-Skoda, Salvatore Accardo, Barbara Hendricks, Heinrich Schiff, Barry Tuckwell, Hans Jörg Schellenberger and the Beaux Arts Trio. The orchestra has made hundreds of recordings for Supraphon, BMG, Decca among others. In recognition it has received the Supraphon Goldene Platte, the Viennese Flötenuhr and the Grand Prix du Disque Akademie Charles Cros.
The PKO gives approximately 70 concerts per year, mostly abroad. In Prague, its prestigious subscribers-only season of concerts is held in the Dvorák Hall of the Rudolfinum.
Since 1991, the PKO has supported itself without any state subsidy. As the millenium draws to close, its quest to communicate the renowned art of Czech interpretation to a wider public has gained an additional focus - to become a lasting part of European interpretational art in the 21st century.