Jiri Bělohlávek, Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, has been awarded an honorary CBE in recognition of his exceptional achievement in services to music as a non-British national.

Bělohlávek has garnered great critical acclaim during his tenure as Chief Conductor for the broad reaching repertoire for which the orchestra is known world-wide, as well as his exceptional interpretations of lesser known Czech repertoire including Smetana’s The Bartered Bride and Dvorák’s The Jacobin.

Paul Hughes, General Manager of the BBC SO said: ‘I am delighted that Jiri's work with the BBC Symphony Orchestra over many years, during which his contribution to British musical life has been so important, should be crowned with such a distinguished honour.'

Initially Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC SO from 1995-2000, in February 2005 Bělohlávek was named as its twelfth Chief Conductor, the only Principal Guest Conductor to have made this transition. He has been a regular and popular conductor at the BBC Proms, and will end his Chief Conductorship after the 2012 Proms season, in which he conducts four proms, including Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder on 12 August and the Last Night of the Proms on Saturday 8 September.

On 24 May 2012, Bělohlávek conducts his final concert at the Barbican as Chief Conductor of the BBC SO, featuring Brahms’s Violin Concerto with Isabelle Faust, and his compatriot Josef Suk’s The Ripening (his recording of which was chosen as BBC Music Magazine Disc of the Month in November 2010). Jiří Bělohlávek’s relationship with the BBC SO, initially as Principal Guest Conductor, continues to develop as he takes on the role of Conductor Laureate from the beginning of the 2012/13 season.

After winning the Czech National Conducting Competition in 1970, Bělohlávek served as the assistant conductor to the Czech Philharmonic for two years. This was followed by stints with the Brno Philharmonic before he was made Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic.

In 1994 Bělohlávek founded the Prague Philharmonia and served as its Musical Director until 2005 when he relinquished the post, and is now the orchestra's Conductor Laureate. In October 2012 he will take up the position of Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic and it has recently been announced that he will become the Principal Guest Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.


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