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Jiri Belohlavek | Czech Philharmonic Orchestra: Bio

Jiří Bělohlávek's father was a barrister and judge. In his youth Bělohlávek studied cello with Miloš Sádlo and was later a graduate of the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. After graduation he studied conducting, for two years, with Sergiu Celibidache.

Bělohlávek won the Czech National Conducting Competition in 1970. He later served for two years as an assistant conductor at the Czech Philharmonic. From 1972 to 1978 he was associated with the Brno Philharmonic, taking it on tours of Austria, Germany and the United States. From 1977 to 1989, he was chief conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra.

Bělohlávek became chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic in 1990. However, in 1991, the orchestra reorganized and controversially voted to appoint Gerd Albrecht its new principal conductor to replace Bělohlávek. Instead of remaining until Albrecht's accession, Bělohlávek resigned from the Czech Philharmonic in 1992. He subsequently founded the Prague Philharmonia (Pra?skou komorní filharmonii) in 1993, after the Czech Ministry of Defence had offered funding for training 40 young musicians. Bělohlávek had auditioned musicians for the orchestra, but the ministry withdrew its funding the next year. He subsequently secured private funding for the orchestra, and served as its first music director. Since the orchestra's public debut in 1994, he has recorded and performed in concerts worldwide with the orchestra. He conducted the Prague Philharmonia at its first BBC Proms appearance in 2004, in a televised performance. In 2005, he relinquished his post with the Prague Philharmonia, and now is the orchestra's conductor laureate.

In 1997, Bělohlávek became Professor of Conducting at the Prague Academy of Music and became principal guest conductor of the opera company of the Národní divadlo (Prague National Theatre) the following year. He is also currently chairman of the Prague Spring International Music Festival. In December 2010, his re-appointment to the chief conductorship of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra was announced, effective with the 2012-2013 season, with an initial contract of 4 years.

From 1995 to 2000, Bělohlávek was principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (BBC SO). In February 2005, he was named its twelfth chief conductor, effective July 2006, with an initial contract of 3 years. Bělohlávek is the first past BBC SO principal guest conductor to be named chief conductor of the BBC SO. His tenure with the BBC SO began with the First Night of the 2006 Proms. He first conducted the Last Night of the Proms in 2007, the first conductor of the Last Night who is not a native English speaker. In September 2007, Bělohlávek extended his contract with the BBC Symphony to 2012. He made a guest appearance at the 2009 Last Night as one of the vacuum cleaner performers in Malcolm Arnold's A Grand, Grand Overture. Bělohlávek conducted the Last Night of the Proms again in 2010 and in 2012. He concluded his BBC SO chief conductorship in 2012 and now has the title of conductor laureate with the BBC SO. In April 2012, Bělohlávek was awarded an honorary CBE "for services to music".

In opera, Bělohlávek has conducted Jenůfa, Tristan und Isolde and Rusalka at Glyndebourne Opera. He made his Metropolitan Opera (Met) debut on December 17, 2004 conducting Káťa Kabanová, with Karita Mattila in the title role. He returned to the Met in January and February 2007 for Jenůfa and again in February and March 2009 for Eugene Onegin and Rusalka.

Bělohlávek first guest-conducted the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (RPhO) in 1994. In April 2012, the RPhO announced the appointment of Bělohlávek as its next principal guest conductor, effective with the 2012-2013 season.

Bělohlávek has made recordings for the Supraphon, Chandos, Harmonia Mundi, Warner Classics, and Deutsche Grammophon record labels.

Jiri Belohlavek | Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

Dvorak - Stabat Mater

Decca Classics

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1 Dvorak - Stabat Mater - Quartetto, Coro. Andante con moto  
2 Dvorak - Stabat Mater - Quartetto. Andante sostenuto  
3 Dvorak - Stabat Mater - Coro. Andante con moto  
4 Dvorak - Stabat Mater - Basso solo, Coro. Largo  
5 Dvorak - Stabat Mater - Coro. Andante con moto, quasi allegretto  
6 Dvorak - Stabat Mater - Tenore solo, Coro. Andante con moto  
7 Dvorak - Stabat Mater - Coro. Largo  
8 Dvorak - Stabat Mater - Duo. Larghetto  
9 Dvorak - Stabat Mater - Alto solo. Andante maestoso  
10 Dvorak - Stabat Mater - Quartetto, Coro. Andante con moto  

Following his recent return as music director, Jiří Bělohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra present a new Decca recording of Dvořák's Stabat Mater. Praised by The Guardian for their "unbounded lyricism and Czech melancholy" as well as "authenticity that only this orchestra can bring," Bělohlávek and the CPO are joined by leading soloists Eri Nakamura, Elisabeth Kulman, Michael Spyres, and Jongmin Park. 

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