Berlin Phil principal horn is chief conductor in Marienbad

Berlin Phil principal horn is chief conductor in Marienbad


norman lebrecht

July 04, 2021

The international horn player Radek Baborak has taken over as principal conductor of the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra of Mariánské Lázně, also known as Marienbad.

Just 18 when he was chosen as principal horn of the Czech Philharmonic, he went on to play four years in the Munich Phil, two in the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and, from 2002 to 2011, was principal horn player of the Berlin Philharmonic.

He’s now 44 and ready for a new challenge. ‘This orchestra has a tiny office, no dramaturg or PR. The budget is so low that if additional administrative staff were to be paid, there would be no salaries for musicians,’ he tells


  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    “In April of 2009, the Berlin Philharmonic was rehearsing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in Salzburg. In the third movement, the Scherzo, a famous horn trio arches up and down an Eb major chord. Radek Baborák, then the principal horn of the orchestra, wanted to play in passage in a hunting style. Rattle had a different musical idea, which Baborák felt wasn’t explained clearly. The two men argued back and forth, until Rattle finally said, “Radek, just do it, because I am the boss.””

  • henry williams says:

    how can he leave the best orchestra
    and good salary. to go to a small orchestra

  • Enquiring Mind says:

    Speaking of the BPO, what happened to the principal trumpet and why are there only two listed in the section now?

    • Shalom Rackovsky says:

      Gabor Tárkövi left to assume a professorship, Tamás Velenczei decided to step down to the section, and Georg Hilser reached the famous Berlin Phil retirement age. Auditions are clearly in the works to repopulate this fantastic section.

      • Luis Leite says:

        What happen with Guillaume Jehl, in the section since 2009, principal trumpet last season?

        • Lila says:

          As I see it on their website, he’s still solo trumpet but they usually have two that’s why they’re looking for another one.

      • anon. says:

        “This fantastic section”? Easily their worst section in this already overrated orchestra.

  • Axl says:

    Yep, Tárkövi is permanent professor in UDK Berlin since autumn 2019. And in 2018 Martin Kretzer (2/3 trumpet and also Gábor’s predeseccor) was retired and Tamás took his place and 2nd trumpet Guillaume Jehl won Tamás’s principal seat.
    And in autumn 2016 Andre Schoch took Georg Hilser’s old 2/3 trumpet chair. Now the section must be found successor for Gábor’s principal seat and Guillaume’s old 2nd chair.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    I read it like this: “another orchestra musician buys baton, and thinks is a conductor”. Orchestras don’t care about training and experience, and fly to offer the well-known newly born conductor a position.


  • Mr T says:

    Typical Czech, wanting to be big fish in a tiny pond just to feel like ‘big daddy.’ Remarkably provincial people.

  • Christopher Clift says:

    According to the ‘blurb’ at the top of this article, Baborak left the BPO in 2011. Has not Stefan Dohr been principal horn there for some time now?
    So surely the headline should talk about ‘Ex-Principal horn’?