The renowned Czech maestro JIRÍ BELOHLÁVEK took up the position of Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in July 2006. Founder and Music Director Laureate of the Prague Philharmonia, Belohlávek studied at the Prague Conservatory and Arts Academy. He appears regularly with major orchestras including the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony, the Philharmonia, the London Philharmonic, and the NHK Symphony. In North America, he conducts the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Toronto, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Montreal, and Minnesota. In his homeland, Belohlávek has frequently performed with the Czech Philharmonic, Prague Symphony, and the Prague Philharmonia.
Belohlávek has been Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony (1977-89) and Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic (1990-1992), with whom he has recorded extensively for Chandos Records. He founded the Prague Philharmonia in 1994, and has recorded and toured extensively with this ensemble, including a televised appearance at the BBC Proms in July 2004. He was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in September 1995, immediately following his debut with the orchestra conducting The Epic of Gilgamesh by Martinu?.
Recent highlights have included performances of Tristan und Isolde at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Kátya Kabanová at the Metropolitan Opera, and Julietta at the Bastille Opera, as well as engagements with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Orchestre National de France, and return visits to the San Francisco Symphony and the Vienna Symphony, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and the London Philharmonic. In October and November 2005 Belohlávek gave critically acclaimed performances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, including a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 9.
Jirí Belohlávek returned to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2006, and will appear in coming seasons with orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Japan Philharmonic, and the Orchestre de Paris. In 2006/07 he also conducts at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He has recently been appointed Chairman of the Prague Spring Festival.