An orchestra with more than a century of tradition, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), is returning to the festival after nearly thirty years. “It will be just our second visit to the Festival, and almost 30 years since our first, which was in 1994 with our then Music Director Sir Simon Rattle”, says the orchestra’s chief executive Stephen Maddock. It was with this very orchestra that Rattle began his stellar career. This time, leading the orchestra from Birmingham in a programme combining the music of Edward Elgar and Anton Bruckner will be its present music director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. “She is one of today’s most interesting and most inspirational musicians”, says Prague Spring Festival programming director Josef Třeštík. “But this will not be her first appearance—she already performed at the festival in 2014. Back then, few people knew her name. She was conducting Kremerata Baltica, and it was Gidon Kremer who played a substantial role in her musical career,” says Třeštík. Seven years have passed, and the conductor is returning to the festival as a widely acclaimed figure of classical music whose face has appeared on the cover of perhaps every prestigious music journal and whose activities are the topic of lively discussion. “Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla has followed in Sir Simon’s footsteps, and has a particular love of the beautiful Symphony No.6 by Bruckner”, says Maddock. “Sir Edward Elgar’s music has always been a central part of the CBSO’s repertoire—indeed the Orchestra’s first full symphonic concert in 1920 featured Sir Edward conducting his Cello Concerto,” he explains. Playing the solo part will be the French cellist Gautier Capuçon, a Prague Spring Festival artist-in-residence. “I’m enormously pleased to be performing the work in Prague with the CBSO and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla”, he says enthusiastically. “The first time we played it together, I felt an extraordinary affinity. Her conducting is as natural as breathing, and she follows the melodic lines as if she were singing”, he adds.