31st May 2017

Jiří Bělohlávek died

On 31 May, Jiří Bělohlávek (24. 2. 1946 – 31. 5. 2017), the most acclaimed contemporary Czech conductor, died at the age of 71, following a long illness. His departure has marked an end to one of the major chapters of Czech and global musical culture. Owing to his blending extraordinary musicianship, diligence and attention to detail, he has left behind an immense legacy, whose significance has far transcended the borders of his homeland. He worked with the world’s most prominent orchestras, made numerous recordings and, as an educator, he nurtured a whole generation of young Czech conductors. As Jiří Bělohlávek himself confessed, music was the sense and joy of his life. His achievements were even praised by the British Queen Elizabeth II, who five years ago awarded him the Order of the British Empire for services to music. Jiří Bělohlávek remained active until the very end of his life. Pursuing many plans, fate prevented some of his musical dreams from coming true. His endeavours were captured on a plethora of recordings, which in many cases will remain a benchmark, and his accomplishments will continue to inspire further generations of musicians and listeners alike.