Conductor of the Opera
Jiří Štrunc (b. 1969) studied violin at the Plzeň Conservatory and conducting at the Academy of Music in Prague. He then made a study visit to the Guildhall School of Music in London (1993), and attended master classes with Helmuth Rilling (Prague, Stuttgart, and the USA, 1992–1993). He won several awards from the 1995 Prague Spring Conducting Competition (as the best Czech entrant, Gideon Klein Foundation Award, Rafael Schächter Memorial Award, and City of Prague Award).
Since the beginning of his professional career in 1995, Jiří Štrunc has dedicated himself to intensive collaboration with opera houses and symphony orchestras in the Czech Republic and abroad. Since 1997 he has held the post of conductor-in-residence at the J.K. Tyl Theatre in Plzeň, where he has conducted dozens of Czech and world operas, including Mozart‘s Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro, Bizet‘s Carmen, Boito’s Mefistofeles, Puccini‘s Manon Lescaut, La bohème, Turandot, Gianni Schicchi and Tosca, Verdi’s Il trovatore, La traviata, La forza del destino, Nabucco and Rigoletto, Tchaikovsky’s Eugen Onegin a The Maid of Orleans, Musorgsky‘s Boris Godunov, Strauss‘Salome, Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer, Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, Two widows, The Kiss and The Secret, Dvořák‘s Rusalka and The Devil and Kate, Janáček‘s Jenůfa and The cunning little Vixen, Martinů’s Comedy on the bridge, The Marriage and The Soldier and the Dancer. He conducted the world premiere, in 1999, of Zdeněk Lukáš's opera Measure for Measure. In 2003 and 2005, he stood at the rostrum in a string of over 40 performances during the Plzeň opera company´s Japanese tours (La traviata, Madama Butterfly, The Bartered Bride, Il trovatore, and Carmen). In 2006–2011 Jiří Štrunc was permanent conductor at the State Opera Prague (Madama Butterfly, La bohème, Cavalleria rusticana, I pagliacci, Rusalka and Il trovatore), since January 2012 he is permanent conductor at the National Theatre Opera, where – apart from conducting number of operas – he has prepared Stravinsky‘s Perséphone and Aleš Březina’s new opera Toufar (both in 2013) and Verdi’s Macbeth (2015). At the State Theatre Košice he conducted Madama Butterfly.
Jiří Štrunc has also systematically cultivated his symphonic repertoire. From 1996–2000, he was conductor of the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra, in the 2010/2011 season, he was principal conductor of this orchestra whose chief guest conductor he has remained to this day. Since 2004, he has worked regularly with the Gunma Symphony Orchestra and with the Yamagata Symphony Orchestra in Japan, as well as with a number of symphony orchestras in this country (Prague Symphony Orchestra, Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra in Zlín, the Plzeň Philharmonic Orchestra, PKF – Prague Philharmonia, the Hradec Králové Philharmonic, Southern Bohemia Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, and others). He has regularly performed at the International Music Festivals Prague Spring and Smetana Litomyšl. Jiří Štrunc has served as an instructor at the Plzeň Conservatory since 1992. In 2009–2011 he taught in the Department of Conducting at the Academy of Music in Prague.