Death of a sought-after international maestro, 92

Death of a sought-after international maestro, 92


norman lebrecht

May 20, 2021

The long-exiled Czech conductor Martin Turnovský has died in Vienna at a great age.

Winner of the 1958 Besançon competition in France, he led a Czech radio orchestra until the 1968 Soviet invasion. He was chief conductor of Staatskapelle Dresden at the time. He left the orchestra immediately after the invasion of Prague, in which GDR soldiers participated

He went on to head Norway’s National Opera (1975–80), Bonn Opera (1979–83) and, after the Velvet Revolution the Prague Symphony Orchestra (1992–95).

He taught at the University of Graz and guest conducted widely in the US, notably in Cincinnati and Seattle.


  • Bongstong says:

    He did an excellent Martinu 4

    • Paul Carlile says:

      Yes indeed! His Cz Phil Martinu 4 remains my favorite, for the rich, fruity, rustic textures, the superb rythmic drive – an absolutely knockout scherzo, and the 3rd movement uncut… altogether a stunning piece of work. The “Tre Ricecare” coupling is also among the best Martinu and given full value.
      Sad to hear of his passing, but grateful for some wonderful music making.
      RIP Maestro.

  • Michael Turner (conductor) says:

    RIP. I remember Turnovsky conducting an excellent Shostakovich Symphony No.1 with the CBSO in the 1980s but am not aware that he made any real inroads into the UK orchestral scene.