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Petr Popelka


Petr Popelka has been chief conductor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (KORK) since the beginning of the 2020/2021 season. The Czech conductor was offered this prestigious position following a very successful joint tour of Norway in September 2019. In addition, he is principal guest conductor of the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava. Currently conductor fellow of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Petr Popelka is regularly invited to work with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and a number of Czech orchestras. To date, he has conducted opera performances at Den Norske Opera in Oslo, the Semperoper in Dresden (Peter Eötvös’s The Golden Dragon) and the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest. Further engagements include the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Aalborg Symfoniorkester and  Arktisk Filharmoni. 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, during which time he significantly shaped the ‘kapelle 21’ series of portrait concerts dedicated to Arvo Pärt, Peter Eötvös and Aribert Reimann. Performances took place at the Dresdner Schlosskapelle and Festspielhaus Hellerau, as well as at such festivals as the Internationale Schostakowitsch Tage Gohrisch, where in July 2020 he conducted the posthumous world premiere of a Shostakovich Beethoven arrangement. Having devoted  increasingly 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 new career path was particularly encouraged and nurtured by Vladimir Kiradjiev, while the master classes with Peter Eötvös, Alan Gilbert, Jaap van Zweden and Johannes Schlaefli also had a formative influence on his development as a conductor. Besides conducting, his work as a composer plays another important role within Petr Popelka’s artistic range. In 2015, he was Composer in Residence of the PODIUM festival Mödling, were he conducted his own commissioned work Labyrinth des Herzens. Another highlight was the premiere of his Szenen für Klavierquartett at the Glass Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. In September 2020, he made his debut with the National Theatre Opera in Prague, conducting Dvořák’s Rusalka. In the 2021/2022 season, he is conducting Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and a new production of Bizet’s Carmen.