Tomáš Netopil

General Music Director – Aalto Musik Theater and Philharmonie Essen
Principal Guest Conductor – Czech Philharmonic
Founder and Artistic Director – International Summer Academy in Kroměříž (Czech Republic)


Tomáš Netopil starts his eight season as General Music Director of the Aalto Musiktheater and Philharmonie Essen at the start of 2020/21.  This season, the operas he plans to conduct in Essen include Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Die Zauberflöte, The Bartered Bride, and Arabella. In recent seasons, he has conducted Salome, Così fan tutte, Rusalka, Lohengrin, Die Walküre, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Pique Dame, and Der Rosenkavalier. During his tenure, he has recorded highly acclaimed Suk Asrael, Martinů’s Ariane and Double Concerto, plus Mahler Symphonies 6 and 9.

In Summer 2018, Tomáš Netopil created the International Summer Music Academy in Kroměříž offering students both exceptional artistic tuition and the opportunity to meet and work with major international musicians. In Summer 2020, in association with the Dvořák Prague Festival, the Academy will establish the Dvořákova Praha Youth Philharmonic with musicians from conservatories and music academies, coached by principal players of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Tomáš Netopil has held a close relationship with the Dvořák Prague Festival for some time and was Artist in Residence in 2017, opening the festival with Essen Philharmoniker and closing the festival with Dvořák’s Te Deum and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. This new undertaking will consolidate this relationship still further.

An inspirational force in Czech music, Tomáš Netopil also holds the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. In early Spring 2018 he led the orchestra on an extensive UK tour, and conducted Má vlast in the opening concert of the 2018 Prague Spring Festival, which was televised live. This season, his engagements with them include conducting their 130th anniversary celebrations of Bohuslav Martinů, their 2021 New Year concert, and at the Smetana’s Litomyšl Festival in June 2021.

Read more

Featured News


“Despite the small cast, Tomáš Netopil elicits a strong Wagnerian sound from the Essen Philharmonic. Wagner’s music developed a great emotional pull even with 30 musicians. With just 7 horns, these do not dominate at all, but the sound is well balanced. Netopil leads through the score with flowing tempos and chooses neither excessively slow nor too fast speeds” [translated from German]


Rudolf Hermes

Der Opernfreund

“Tomáš Netopil illuminates the tragic in life, in jubilation and tenderness. Nobody can accuse the conductor of too little, too much or even wrong expression… In this recording, Netopil’s interpretation is very reminiscent of the recording by Mariss Jansons and the London Symphony Orchestra. The performance comes across as very direct, very human and that’s what makes the symphony’s tragic moments so dramatic. It is pure joy and pure human suffering that we feel here. The excellent performance of the Essen Philharmonic…” [translated from German]

Remy Franck


“This Mahler Symphony No. 6, conducted by Tomáš Netopil with his Essen Philharmonic Orchestra, attests to the superlative level that an orchestra in a large German provincial city can reach… under the baton of Tomáš Netopil, who is well-known in Belgium for his regular presence in the pit of the Flemish opera, the orchestra presents impressive qualities of cohesion, precision of the desks and dynamics. In addition, the overall sound is very beautiful with fall tones that are perfectly suited to this work. Tomáš Netopil’s vision is coherent and intelligent and takes effect at the first hearing. Perfect tempo management, a nice in-between (neither too fast nor too slow)…”

Pierre Jean Tribot

Crescendo Magazine

“…this initial overture has magnificent musical values. The Wiener Staatsoper orchestra, under the musical guidance of Maestro Tomáš Netopil, provided exquisite insights into the richness and profound meanings of this overture, leading to a sublime performance. No strain was observed from the pit in any form; quite the contrary, the wind instruments were in the excellent shape, as well as the brass and the strings.”

Dejan Vukosavljevic

Opera Wire

“Triumph for Tomáš Netopil: Schönberg’s mighty Gurre-Lieder. The evening was clearly also the personal triumph of the Essen Music Director Tomáš Netopil. He had tamed a sonic monster, an oratorio that breaks boundaries (let’s just take three four-part male choirs, in total 200 gentlemen!). Netopil explored the dazzling range of this melodramatic show ballad with Essen’s Philharmonic iridescently orchestral colours.” [translated from German]

Westfälische Rundschau

“What brought real distinction and authenticity to the evening, as so often in this house, was the outstanding playing of the Staatskapelle conducted by Tomáš Netopil. From the start of the overture with its rapidly scurrying string fugato and pointed phrasing from the woodwinds, one felt the true sense of Smetana’s Czech-inflected rhythms and harmonies.” 

John Johnston


“Katie Mitchell presents Janáček’s Jenůfa in Amsterdam as a social drama, Tomáš Netopil conducts the work like an epic symphony.” 

Opern Welt Magazine

“he knows how to steer an ensemble through the greatest of Mahler symphonies. The biggest challenges are the most impressively met: those cataclysmic welters in the colossal first movement, always clear but at the same time powerfully on the move, the last emotional climax of the farewell finale and its final, whispered laying to rest… How well he’s trained his player… the woodwind are exquisite in the dying of the light, the strings hugely powerful of outline when they need to be, and subtle, too, as they reduce to a sliver of sound.” 

David Nice

BBC Music Magazine ****

“… the Czech conductor [Tomáš Netopil] does not choose to “snap” the rhythms of Janáček; he lovingly carves out phrases, bringing out the melodious elements of each instruments… The result is magnificent elegance and musicality.” [Translated from French]

Opera Online

Laurent Vilarem

“…the conductor [Netopil impresses every moment as already recently in Vienna in Katya Kabanova, with a remarkably beautiful and subtle intelligence, as displayed already within the string rubatos of the opening bars” [Translated from French]

Res Musica

Vincent Guillemin

“Netopil worked with dynamics, temps, phrases, contrasts of different layers of score, and above all tension so that Jenůfa was the shock of the emotions that had frowned, but which touched the heart. His production had the energy, the urgency, and the excellent acoustics of the Amsterdam theater, the full plasticity of the dynamics. The orchestra respected and managed to fill the subtle nuances as Netopil expressed in its legible gestures, including the balance of sound to the singers.” [Translated from Czech]

Opera +

Havlíková Helena

“The Czech conductor Tomáš Netopil obviously understands the intricacy of his native language and music, fully reflected in all manners in which he very confidently guides the Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra through the score.” [Translated from Dutch]

Frits van der Waa

De Volkskrant

“Conductor Tomás Netopil is a specialist in this repertoire. You will hear from his fine-grained, well-controlled leadership about the beautifully playing Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra, which he knows and feels through Janácek’s multi-layered score. All melodies, based on Czech prosody, take shape smoothly. Within the typical passages where multiple layers of narrative coincide (the lively choir in the first act, for example, where the orchestra simultaneously announces the impending doom), he unifies all components coherently.” [Translated from Dutch]

Mischa Spel


“At the première, Czech conductor Tomáš Netopil led the Netherlands Philarmonic Orchestra in an admirably detailed reading of the score, more light-footed than most and with beautiful transparencies of textures, but with staggering swells in crucial dramatic moments. All came together for a dramatically engrossing, moving performance.”

Nicolas Nguyen

**** Bachtrack

“Tomas Netopil, who conducts the Czech Philharmonic on its British tour is one of the rising stars of central European musical life. Thoroughly grounded in the music of his native Czech Republic, he is also becoming a regular in the UK and Germany, where his dynamic interpretations are winning a growing army of fans.”

Richard Morrison

The Times

“…in the two works by Dvořák, his Symphonic Variations and the ‘New World’ Ninth Symphony, he (Netopil) showed his mettle in dextrous control of rhythmic discipline and the give-and-take of rubato.”

Rian Evans

The Guardian

“The substantially gifted Tomáš Netopil has the full measure of all four works, balancing the Sinfonietta’s closing build-up so that the reappearance of the fanfare trumpets (the Band of the Castle Guards and Police of the Czech Republic) is allowed to achieve an effective climax rather than hogging the limelight prematurely… Netopil again proves himself an accomplished and perceptive advocate of the music”

Rob Cowan


“Tomas Netopil understands the pace of Asrael and seizes the ample dramatic opportunities with relish. The orchestral detail, particularly from the woodwind, is impressive…there is much to enjoy..”

BBC Music Magazine

More Reviews

The Arts Desk, Feb 2018

“Netopil created dramatic pauses in the opening statement, and the brass responded in stentorian style. He knows how to highlight a good tune when given the chance, and in this case bathed Dvořák’s themes in pools of limelight, finally whipping up both tension and tempo at the end of the first movement.”

Ilkley Gazette, Feb 2018

“Tomas Netopil soon demonstrated in this programme of music by Dvorak that Belohlavek’s legacy is in secure hands… Netopil’s careful layering of textures and his judging of dynamics revealed the innermost detail – even in the fastest passages.”