The Vienna Symphony Orchestra has announced that Czech conductor and composer Petr Popelka has been appointed as its new Chief Conductor Designate, effective immediately.
He is set to lead over 20 performances in the upcoming season before becoming Chief Conductor for an initial term of five years. After studying as a double bassist in Prague and Freiburg, Popelka was deputy solo bassist with the Staatskapelle Dresden, where he would play under Christian Thielemann. Currently, he is the Chief Conductor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the Prague Radio Symphony.
“Becoming Chief Conductor of the Wiener Symphoniker is a dream come true,” Popelka said in an official statement. “Even as a teenager, I regularly drove from Prague to Vienna with my parents to listen to the greatest orchestras in the world in this city. To me, the Wiener Symphoniker is the musical embodiment of Vienna, an orchestra that captures and evokes the spirit of the city, an ensemble with a great tradition but, above all, an orchestra that has always encapsulated a modern pioneering spirit – both in terms of repertoire and the role of an orchestra within society.”
“When asked what I imagine my journey with the Wiener Symphoniker to be like, I think of my own little son; what kind of orchestra do we want to pass on to the next generation? Together, we have the opportunity to invigorate a modern orchestra that stands at the heart of the world.”