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Czech Philharmonic conductor Jiri Belohlavek dies at 71

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/1/2017
FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2017 file photo Czech conductor Jiri Belohlavek conducts The Czech Philharmonic in Prague. Former principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra died during Thursday night, June 1st, 2017, said the press-office od The Czech Philharmonic Ludek Brezina. (Michal Dolezal/CTK via AP) SLOVAKIA OUT © The Associated Press FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2017 file photo Czech conductor Jiri Belohlavek conducts The Czech Philharmonic in Prague. Former principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra died during Thursday night, June 1st, 2017, said the press-office od The Czech Philharmonic Ludek Brezina. (Michal Dolezal/CTK via AP) SLOVAKIA OUT

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Philharmonic orchestra says its chief conductor, Jiri Belohlavek, has died in Prague. The 71-year-old musician had suffered an unspecified serious long-term illness, but orchestra spokesman Ludek Brezina declined to give details.

Belohlavek was in charge of several Czech orchestras, including Brno Philharmonic, Prague Symphony Orchestra and Prague Philharmonia.

In 2006-2012, he was chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. In 2012, Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the honor of Commander of the British Empire.

Since 2012, he was chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, the top Czech orchestra he also led after the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

He was also guest principal guest conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

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