Ondřej's Biography

As of January 2021

Ondřej Soukup is an exciting young conductor with international experience that comprises numerous music directorships, assistantships (to Martyn Brabbins, Jac van Steen, and others), and a repertoire of over 250 works including Wagner’s Das Rheingold. He is a versatile musician, proficient in symphonic, operatic, choral and contemporary music. Mentors and colleagues alike have praised Ondřej’s musicality, leadership, and fervour, which he radiates to fellow musicians and to audiences.

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As a postgraduate conductor at the Royal College of Music, Ondřej Soukup is currently assistant conductor at RCM Symphony Orchestra and RCM Philharmonic. His professors at the College are Toby Purser, Peter Stark, and Howard Williams. Recent projects at the RCM include Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments, and Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll.

In recent years, Ondřej has been Conductor at Dramatic Voices Program and Assistant Conductor at Berlin Opera Academy. At DVP, he worked on Wagner’s Das Rheingold alongside Byron Knutson (Komische Oper Berlin) and Caroline Dowdle (ROH). At BOA, he assisted Lutz de Veer (Nürnberg) on Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, which he performed at OpernFest. The following year, he was invited back to work on Le nozze di Figaro with conductor Peter Leonard (Augsburg), and Die Zauberflöte with Tom Seligman (ROH). Other conductors he has assisted include Will Conway (Chamber Orchestra of Europe) and Gregory Batsleer (SCO and RSNO Chorus).

As Principal Conductor of Edinburgh University Music Society Sinfonia, he performed works with up to 250 performers. Ondřej took the orchestra on tour around Scotland, and to the Czech Republic in celebration of the society’s 150th anniversary. He was Musical Director of Thomas Coats Memorial Choral Society, which works with professional soloists and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Symphony Orchestra. As Guest Conductor of VoiceArc, he performed Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Strauss’ Ariadne aux Naxos at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Furthermore, Ondřej is Founder and Principal Conductor of Unison Chamber Orchestra, a project-based ensemble that supports local charities. He was also Music Director of InChorus, Conducting Fellow with Edinburgh Royal Choral Union and Music Director of Edinburgh University Brass Band (EUBB) for five years during which he established a composition competition and recorded a CD. He was awarded prizes and bursaries for conducting including the Roderick Brydon memorial award.

In masterclasses, Ondřej has studied with leading conductors including Jorma Panula, Atso Almila, Clark Rundell, Mark Heron, and Kenneth Kiesler, and worked with Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra, Moravian Philharmonic, Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, and Camerata Antonio Soler.

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As composer, he was a finalist in the Maurice Ravel International Composition Competition, CD recorded his A Balkanic Eruption with EUBB and his Pitch Black was premiered at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s Interconnect event. Ondřej is an avid supporter of fellow composers. He has workshopped and recorded works with EUBB (5x), Edinburgh University String Orchestra (2x), and most recently with RCM New Ensemble. His teachers have included Prof Peter Nelson, Gareth Williams, and Marijn Simons. Besides conducting and composition, Ondřej gained a First Class degree at The University of Edinburgh, where he majored in trumpet. He now also works as a repetiteur.

Ondřej speaks English, Czech, Russian, French, and German.

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The work of Ondřej has been generously supported by Help Musicians UK, Nadace Český hudební fond, Nadace Život umělce, Split Infinitive, and Universal Music UK.

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Photos by Jana Marie Knotová, Andrew Perry