West News Wire: Libor Pešek, a Czech conductor best known for his ten years as the leader of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, has passed away. He was 89.
Jan Hasenöhrl, the director of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, where Pešek served as head conductor until 2019, confirmed that Pešek passed away on Sunday.
Pešek collaborated with numerous orchestras domestically and abroad. He was a strong advocate for the music of Czech composers, especially Josef Suk, Josef Dvoák’s student and son-in-law. His performances and recordings with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic helped spread awareness of Suk’s music throughout the world.
He once commented in an interview for the New York Times, “It happened primarily because the timing was ideal for presenting unknown works in Britain, even Czech ones, and it was still a right time to do some recordings.
“Pešek was principal conductor in Liverpool in 1987–97, becoming conductor laureate thereafter. Under his charge, the northern English orchstra was dubbed “the best Czech Orchestra this side of Prague.”
He was made Knight Commander of the British Empire during Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Prague in 1996.
Born June 22, 1933, in Prague, Pešek studied conducting, piano, cello and trombone at Prague’s Academy of Music and Arts before embarking on an international conducting career that lasted more than 50 years.
He led several orchestras in the Netherlands during the 1970s and headed the Slovak Philharmonic and was conductor in residence of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1980s. Later he was principal guest conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra.