Jiří Bělohlávek is considered one of the foremost conductors of his generation, thanks notably to his long experience with the Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Symphony Orchestra (as principal conductor), the National Theatre in Prague (resident guest conductor), and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (principal conductor and artistic director). Since 1994 he has conducted The Prague Philharmonia, which he founded. In 2003 he was appointed artistic director of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra. He has taught at the Prague Academy of Arts since 1995.
In February 2005 he was appointed principal conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra; he will take up this position on the first night of the Proms in 2006.
Jiří Bělohlávek has also devoted a considerable part of his conducting career to opera since his debut in 1979. As resident guest conductor at the Komi-sche Oper, Berlin, he conducted Smetana’s The Secret and Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress.
The Glyndebourne Festival production of Janáček’s Jenůfa in June 2000 (directed by Nikolaus Lehnhoff) won the Barclay Theatre Award in London. In 2003 he conducted Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at Glyndebourne, a production voted ‘Best of the Year’ in the UK. In 2004 he conducted Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Jiří Bělohlávek is a frequent guest conductor with the world’s symphony orchestras, among them the New York, Munich, Berlin, Stockholm and Japan Philharmonic Orchestras, the Boston, Sydney, Vienna, and London Symphony Orchestras, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, the Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Dresden Staatskapelle. He regularly appears at such festivals as Tanglewood, Salzburg, Edinburgh, Montreux, Locarno, Perth, Schleswig-Holstein, Lucerne, Berlin, and the Prague Spring festival.
Jiří Bělohlávek is Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra since 2006.