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Vienna Symphony appoints Petr Popelka as chief conductor

The Vienna Symphony on Friday announced it had appointed Petr Popelka as its new chief conductor to replace Andres Orozco-Estrada, who walked out 14 months ago.

Orozco-Estrada had unexpectedly quit in April 2022 due to “unbridgeable differences”, the symphony’s PR manager Julia Brueggemann told AFP.  

Popelka, 37, will take up his post as chief conductor designate to initially conduct over 20 performances with the orchestra in the 2023/2024 season starting in September.

He will then take up the position of chief conductor from September 2024 for an initial period of five years.

Born in Prague in 1986, Popelka trained as a double-bass player and later joined the Staatskapelle Dresden under principal conductor Christian Thielemann.

Popelka described his new job as “a dream come true” in a statement published on his website.

“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,” he said.

“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”.

Popelka is currently chief conductor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra Oslo as well as the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra.

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