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Jiří Bělohlávek

Photo: Clive Barda Born in 1946. After completing his studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, he continued to hone his technique with Sergiu Celibidache. Between 1977 and 1989 he was principal conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra and from 1990 to 1992 music director of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he made a number of recordings for Chandos Records. In 1994 he founded the Prague Philharmonia, with which he has given numerous concerts, made many tours and recordings, including a concert at the prestigious BBC Proms festival (July 2004). In 1995, after his debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Bohuslav Martinů’s The Epic of Gilgamesh, he was appointed its main guest conductor and in July 2006 became principal conductor. In 2006 he was appointed President of the Prague Spring international music festival. He collaborates on a regular basis with orchestras of such renown as the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchester, Wiener Symphoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker, London Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra and Orchestre de Paris. In North America he conducts orchestras of the cities of San Francisco, Washington DC, St. Louis, Montreal and Minnesota. In his homeland he has made frequent appearances with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra and Prague Philharmonia. His most noteworthy performances in recent years include conducting Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival and Janáček’s Katya Kabanova at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (2004). In October and November 2005 his concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra comprising Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 was highly acclaimed by the critics. In May 2006 he conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker, returned to San Francisco, Leipzig, New York and Paris’s Opera Bastille. In the 2007/08 season he conducted Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Royal Opera House in London. In the 2008/09 season he has prepared new productions of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride for Paris Opera (Garnier), Katya Kabanova for Teatro Real Madrid, Eugene Onegin and Dvořák’s Rusalka for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and for this year’s Glyndebourne Festival he is also preparing Rusalka. In September 2008 his recording of Janáček’s The Excursions of Mr Brouček with the BBC Orchestra won Britain’s prestigious Gramophone Award in the category of Best Opera Recording. At the National Theatre Prague Jiří Bělohlávek has explored Janáček’s operas Jenůfa (1997) and Fate (2002), Smetana’s The Devil’s Wall (2001), Dvořák’s Rusalka (1998), Martinů’s The Greek Passion (2006), Mozart’s opera Cosi fan tutte (1998) and Bizet’s Carmen (1999). Update: January 2009

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