The renowned Czech maestro Jirí Belohlávek took up the position of Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in July 2006. Founder and Music Director Laureate of the Prague Philharmonia, Maestro Belohlávek studied at the Prague Conservatoire and Arts Academy. He appears regularly with major orchestras including the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic and NHK Symphony. In North America, he conducts the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Toronto, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Montreal, and Minnesota. In his homeland, Jirí Belohlávek has frequently performed with the Czech Philharmonic, Prague Symphony, and the Prague Philharmonia, and he has recently been appointed Chairman of the Prague Spring Festival. Jirí Belohlávek has been Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony (1977-89) and Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic (1990-1992), with whom he has recorded extensively for Chandos Records. He founded the Prague Philharmonia in 1994, and has recorded and toured extensively with this ensemble, including a televised appearance at the BBC Proms in July 2004. He was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in September 1995, immediately following his debut with the orchestra conducting The Epic of Gilgamesh by Martinu. Highlights of the 2007-08 season included conducting the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Dallas Symphony as well as the Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, and Orchestre de Paris. He also led the Royal Opera House Orchestra in a production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. His current 2008-09 season includes appearances at Opera de Paris (The Bartered Bride), Madrid Opera (Katya Kabanova), The Metropolitan Opera (Eugene Onegin and Rusalka), and a return to Glyndebourne for a production of Dvorák's Rusalka. In the 2009-10 season, Maestro Belohlávek will conduct, among others, the Japan Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony and the Berlin Philharmonic.