An out-of-the-ordinary confession from stellar conductor Jiří Bělohlávek

Jiří Bělohlávek

Paramount professionalism, but at the same time a certain reservedness: this is how conducting work is often perceived by the general public. That stereotype is disproved in the unique documentary confession of Jiří Bělohlávek, one of the most remarkable of all Czech conductors.

Jiří Bělohlávek, an internationally acclaimed Czech conductor and pedagogue, founded Prague Philharmonia in 1994. He was also chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and took over as chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from September 2012, remaining in that position until he became seriously ill in 2017.

Headed by director Roman Vávra, the film crew spent two years with the conductor. In the documentary Jiří Bělohlávek: My Love of Conducting, the filmmakers have captured the artist's sense of humour as well as his stories about his professional beginnings, music, his famous predecessors in the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, his family and his personal life. The documentary also includes talks with his closest friends. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra CEO David Mareček, the painter Jiří Voves, conductors Semjon Byčkov and Simon Rattle, Bělohlávek's former students, friends and renowned conductors Jakub Hrůša and Tomáš Hanus all appear before the camera. The documentary is singular in part due to its inclusion of footage taken from the family archive.

The film tells the intense and powerful story of the final years of the conductor's life and his artistic pilgrimage. The narrative is replete with the director's creative and frank portrayal of someone who profoundly influenced the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

We cordially invite you to the public gala première, which will take place on Thursday, 26 September in the Great Hall of the New Stage of the National Theatre. The screening of the documentary Jiří Bělohlávek: My Love of Conducting starts at 19:30. You will therefore have an opportunity to see this unique film even before its cinema distribution in the autumn.

Free entry, registration here.