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Petr Popelka

Biography

Czech conductor Petr Popelka will begin his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (KORK) at the beginning of the 2020/2021 season. The orchestra offered him this honourable position after a very successful joint tour of Norway in September 2019. In addition, he will become the Principal Guest Conductor of the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava. Currently Conductor Fellow of NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Petr Popelka is regularly invited by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and various Czech ensembles. So far, operatic performances have taken him to Den Norske OperaOslo, Semperoper Dresden (for Peter Eötvös’ The Golden Dragon) and to Hungarian State Opera Budapest. Future engagements include Deutsche Radio Philharmonie and Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra or Arctic Philharmonic. Petr Popelka acquired his music education both in his hometown of Prague as well as in Freiburg. Between 2010 and 2019 he held the position of deputy principal double bass of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, during which time he significantly shaped a series of portrait concerts captioned ‘kapelle 21’ devoted to Arvo Pärt, Peter Eötvös and Aribert Reimann, together with his fellow musicians. Performances took place at Dresdner Schlosskapelle and Festspielhaus Hellerau as well as at festivals such as Internationale Schostakowitsch Tage Gohrisch, where hewill conduct the posthumous world premiere of a Beethoven arrangement of Shostakovich in July 2020. Having devoted himself increasingly to conducting since 2016, it was only a year later that Petr Popelka was awarded the Gstaad Menuhin Festival Academy’s Neeme Järvi Prize 2017. His new career path was particularly encouraged and nurtured by Vladimir Kiradjiev, and master classes with Peter Eötvös, Alan Gilbert, Jaap van Zweden and Johannes Schlaefli also had a formative influence on his development as a conductor. Next to conducting, his work as a composer plays another important role within Petr Popelka’s artistic range. In 2015, he was ‘Composer in Residence’ of PODIUM festival Mödling, were he conducted his own commissioned work Labyrinth des Herzens. Another highlight was the premiere of his Szenen for piano quartet in the Glass Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna.