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Jiří Bělohlávek, a leading conductor in international circles today, has been a household name in Prague since the 1970s. He worked as Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra (1977 –1989) and has worked with the Czech Philharmonic since 1973 first as a guest, from 1981 as a permanent conductor and in 1990 – 1992 as Chief Conductor. In 1994 he established the Prague Philharmonia and has been its musical director since. In 2003 he accepted the same post in the Slovak Philharmonic. He has been Chief Guest Conductor of the National Theatre in Prague since 1998.
   During the period 1995 – 2000 he was Chief Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London. He has made successful guest appearances with the New York, Munich, Berlin, Japan and Stockholm Philharmonics, the NHK Symphony Tokyo, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Staatskapelle Dresden, and he has conducted the Boston, Vienna, London and Birmingham Symphony Orchestras.
   Bělohlávek made his opera debut in 1979 at the Comic Opera in Berlin (Smetana´s The Secret and Stravinsky´s The Rake´s Progress). At the National Theatre in Prague he performed Martinů’s The Greek Passion (1984), Janáček’s Jenůfa (1997), Mozart’s Cos fan tutte (1998), Dvořák’s Rusalka (1998), Bizet’s Carmen (1999) Smetana’s The Devil’s Wall (2001) and Janáček’s Osud (2002). He is regularly invited to appear at prominent opera houses. Bělohlávek’s performance of Jenůfa with director Nikolaus Lehnhoff, staged in June 2000 at the Glyndebourne Festival, won the Barclay Theatre Award.
   Jiří Bělohlávek’s extensive and varied recording catalogue includes, for example, the Supraphon recording of Brahms’ entire orchestral oeuvre, or a complete set of sixteen CDs featuring primarily Czech music for the English company Chandos, of which two have been awarded the prestigious Diapason d’Or in Paris. His recording of Smetana’s My Country with the Czech PO won the 1995 Supraphon Gold Disc. Jiří Bělohlávek won the same award in 1999 for his extensive recordings and consistent promotion of the works of Bohuslav Martinů. At present Bělohlávek is recording a complete set of all Martinů Symphonies with the Czech Philharmonic, using revised scores based on Martinů’s manuscripts, currently being processed as part of a critical edition of Martinů’s works by the Bohuslav Martinů Institute in Prague.
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