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Jiří Bělohlávek

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Biography

Jiří Bĕlohlávek is a Czech conductor, born in Prague in 1946. Bělohlávek won the Czech Young Conductors’ Competition in 1970 and was a finalist of the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Competition in West Berlin in 1971. Most unfortunately, though, the Czech authorities then did not allow him to accept two precious invitations to conduct the Berlin RIAS Orchestra and the Israeli Philharmonic.

He instead became Chief Conductor of the Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra (1972-78), and then Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK. The Prague Symphony Orchestra has always strived to be on par with the internationally better known Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and Bělohlávek enhanced its - as much as his own - reputation in a wonderful and fruitful partnership lasting until 1989.
Meanwhile, Jiří’s childhood participation in the choir, which often performed in the Prague National Theatre Opera, encouraged him to work in the opera world as well. And it was another highly respected East-European conductor, Václav Neumann, who brought him to the Komische Opera in Berlin in 1979, and Bělohlávek had his first premiere there with the Rake’s Progress in 1980.

A decade later, Bělohlávek followed Neumann in a very different situation, in the post of Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

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