Rising Czech lands second orchestra

Rising Czech lands second orchestra


norman lebrecht

May 26, 2021

The Czech conductor Petr Popelka has become chief of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, in addition to the same role at the Norwegian Radio Orchestra in Oslo. He is also principal guest in Janacek’s town, Ostrava.


  • Tamino says:

    He’s originally a bass player from Dresden Staatskapelle. I remember seeing him online in Malko conducting competition in Copenhagen a few years ago. He was the best conductor there, but they didn’t let him in the finals. Clearly demonstrating the big problem with these silly competitions: that they are a show case for agencies, not about the best winning, but letting the best exploitable (for the agencies) win. Good for him, to prove them wrong, while the promoted finalists of the competition are not doing that well.

    • Fabio Luisi says:

      Sorry not to agree with Mr. Tamino, but the winner of the last Malko Competition, Ray Bancroft, has been appointed Chief Conductor of BBC National Orchestra Wales and conducts many major orchestras worldwide, Anna Rakitina has been appointed assistant conductor at Boston Symphony Orchestra, Alessandro Bonato is conducting major orchestras and opera productions mostly in Italy. My feeling is that they are indeed doing very well. Mr. Popelka is an eccellent musician and conductor and his talent was well recognized during the last competition, where he reached the semi-final round. He has also been invited again to conduct the DNSO in Copenhagen. This shows, IMHO, that the level of this competition was very high. Agencies didn’t have any say in the decisions of the jury. No agents were jury’s members, only orchestra’s musicians (of very prominent international orchestras), orchestra’s managers or artistic directors and just two conductors.

      • Tamino says:

        Thank you Mr. Luisi, then I stand somewhat corrected. I still hold the personal opinion that he definitely should have been in the finals, but on the other hand a really good young conductor doesn’t need the competitions to be successful. Good luck to everyone.