The Prague Symphony Orchestra
Established in autumn 1934 by conductor and musical organizer Rudolf Pekárek. He defined the ensemble’s fields of activity with the words “Film-Opera-Koncert”, which became part of the orchestra’s title as the abbreviation FOK. By recording music for the majority of Czech films in the 1930s and performing regularly in live broadcasts of Czechoslovak Radio, the FOK Orchestra made a name for itself and its economic existence was assured. This allowed gradual development of concert activities, whose main promoter from the very beginning was Václav Smetáček. In 1942 he became the orchestra’s chief conductor, and he stood at its head for thirty years. During the period of his leadership the orchestra achieved a high performance standard and international renown.
After Smetáček’s departure from the post of chief conductor, artistic leadership was taken over in succession by Ladislav Slovák (1972–1976), Jindřich Rohan (1976–1977), and then Jiří Bělohlávek (1977–1989), whose work marked an important stage from the standpoint of the ensemble’s intensive artistic development. After Bělohlávek came Petr Altrichter (1990–1992), Martin Turnovský (1992–1995), and Gaetano Delogu (1995–1998). Other important Czech conductors who have worked with the orchestra over a long period have included especially Václav Neumann, Zdeněk Košler, and Vladimír Válek. From March 2001 to the end of the 2005/2006 concert season, Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Prague Symphony Orchestra was Serge Baudo. From the 2006/2007 concert season on, Jiří Kout will be holding the position of Chief Conductor of the Orchestra.