Within a few seasons, Petr Popelka has established himself as one of Europe’s most inspiring young conductors. Since September 2022 he has been music director of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, since August 2020 he has served as principal conductor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. During the 2022–2023 season, he debuted with the Bamberger Symphoniker, the SWR Symphonieorchester and the WDR Sinfonieorchester, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg. He also conducted the Wiener Symphoniker, performing at the traditional Springtime in Vienna concert, a highlight of the Austrian capital’s music calendar, whose TV broadcast is one of the most closely watched cultural events in the country. Moreover, he returned to the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, Denmark’s DR Symfoniorkestret and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. In previous years he had worked with the Czech Philharmonic, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, the hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern and the Mozarteumorchester Salzburg. In the current season, he conducted a new production of Strauss’s Elektra at Den Norske Opera in Oslo and Shostakovich’s The Nose at the Semperoper in Dresden. Following his debut in September 2020, conducting Dvořák’s Rusalka, in 2022 he returned to the National Theatre in Prague to undertake a new production of Bizet’s Carmen.
Having devoted intensely to conducting since 2016, only a year later Petr Popelka was awarded the Neeme Järvi Prize within the Gstaad Menuhin Festival and its Conducting Academy. His career direction was particularly encouraged and nurtured by Vladimir Kiradjiev, while the masterclasses with Peter Eötvös, Alan Gilbert and Jaap van Zweden also had a formative influence on his development as a conductor. From 2019 to 2020, he was the very first “Conductor Fellow” to Alan Gilbert at the NDR Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Petr Popelka studied music both in his native Prague and in Freiburg. Between 2010 and 2019, he was deputy principal double bass of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden. Besides conducting, he has pursued a career as a composer.