He replaces American conductor Leonard Slatkin, who stepped down last year after the Last Night of the BBC Proms concerts.
Belohlšvek is the twelfth conductor to take up the position, which thanks to the Proms is one of the most high-profile in the classical music world. He will officially begin his tenure at the First Night of the Proms 2006, leading the ensemble as it enters its 75th-anniversary season. Until then he holds the title of chief conductor designate.
Belohlšvek studied at the Prague Conservatoire, and has been chief conductor of the Prague Symphony and music director of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. He founded the Prague Philharmonia in 1994, and was appointed principal guest conductor of the BBC ensemble in 1995.
He regularly conducts such ensembles as the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, NHK Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montr_al, among others.
The BBC Symphony Orchestra has also named David Robertson, music director designate of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestar, to the position of principal guest conductor. Robertson replaces Jukka-Pekka Saraste, whose tenure ends in August, and will open the orchestra's 2005-06 season.