R.I.P 〓 Martin Turnovsky, Czech conductor


Czech conductor Martin Turnovsky died on May 19 in Vienna. He was 92 years old. He was one of the long-awaited conductors of the Czech post-war generation, but he went into exile in Austria during the “Prague Spring” incident in 1968 and was active internationally based in Vienna.

He was born in Prague and studied under Karel Ančerl at the Prague Music Academy. Upon his graduation, he conducted the Prague Symphony Orchestra and made his debut.

He received guidance about conducting from George Szell in Salzburg in 1956, won the Besancon International Conducting Competition in France, known as the gateway to young conductors in 1958. After then he became the permanent conductor of the Bruno National Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 1963, he became Principal Conductor of the Pilsen Radio Symphony Orchestra. He continued to perform as a guest performer in the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and established his fame.

In 1966, he was appointed music director of the Dresden National Opera in East Germany. But in 1968, the former Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact army entered the Czech territory to prevent the democratization of Czechoslovakia. It was “Prague Spring” incident. After incident, he went into exile in Austria.

Since 1975, he has been the Music Director of the Norwegian National Opera (-1980), and since 1979 he has been the Music Director of the Bonn Opera House in Germany (-1983).

After the democratization of his native Czech Republic in 1989, guest performances at major opera houses and orchestras in the former Eastern European region resumed. In 1992, he was appointed as the principal conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Then he continued guest performances around the world.

Since the late 1970s, he has performed in Japan with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, the City of Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. At the Gunma Symphony Orchestra, which first performed in 1995, he has been the Principal Guest Conductor since 1998 and the Honorary Conductor since 2017.


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