Estonian-born and American-raised conductor Kristjan Järvi is a unique musical personality pushing classical music borders with fresh ideas, charisma and technical prowess. Järvi has combined his classical roots and affinity for traditional repertoire with an infectious enthusiasm for creating original programs; propelling classical concert halls around the globe into the 21st Century. Järvi has recently been appointed Music Director of the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra (MDR), beginning his tenure in the 2012-2013 season.
Kristjan Järvi’s name has become synonymous with artistic and cultural diversity, embodied in his roles as Artistic Advisor to the Basel Chamber Orchestra and Founder and Music Director of New York’s Absolute Ensemble. His authentic commitment to all genres is reflected in his collaborations with Arvo Pärt, Tan Dun, John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, H.K. Gruber, Renée Fleming, Joe Zawinul, Benny Andersson, Goran Bregovic, Paquito d’Rivera, Eitetsu Hayashi, and Marcel Khalifé.
Kristjan Järvi has actively sought the commission of over 100 new works. Recent premieres include works by Indian composer Nitin Sawhney with the London Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Schnyder with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, James MacMillan with the London Symphony Orchestra, and Tim Garland with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Kristjan Järvi is a dynamic and enterprising music educator. He is Founding Conductor and Music Director of the Baltic Youth Philharmonic. With the support of Valery Gergiev, Kurt Masur, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Marek Janowski and Mariss Jansons, the Baltic Youth Philharmonic aims to become an education and performance hub for the Baltic region.
Kristjan Järvi is highly sought-after as a guest conductor. He appears regularly and exclusively in London with the London Symphony Orchestra, with which he toured the US, Europe and Asia in the 2009-10 season. Further guest conducting engagements in this and last season include concerts with Staatskapelle Dresden, Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, NDR Hamburg, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre de Paris, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Rome, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington DC), Sydney Symphony, and NHK Symphony Japan.
Kristjan Järvi is a passionate recording artist with 30 albums to his credit. He has received a list of accolades, including a Swedish Grammy for Best Opera Performance, the German Record Critics Prize for Best Album and a Grammy Nomination. In 2010, Sony Classical released his recording - entitled Cantique - of Arvo Pärt’s newly commissioned Stabat Mater, Symphony No. 3 and Cantique des degrès with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. The 2009 Chandos release of Bernstein’s epic Mass was met with widespread acclaim and was Gramophone magazine’s “Editor’s Choice.” Other recent releases include Haydn’s Paris Symphonies, Schmidt’s Das Buch mit Sieben Siegeln, Mahler’s arrangement of Beethoven Symphony No. 9, Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Absolute Zawinul - the late Joe Zawinul’s last studio recording. Järvi also recorded Arvo Pärt’s newly commissioned Stabat Mater, his Symphony No. 3 and Cantique des degrès with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. The recording, entitled Cantique, marked Järvi's first record release since becoming an exclusive Sony Classical artist in June 2010. In 2011, Chandos released Järvi's last album as Music Director of the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich, a recording of Steve Reich's The Desert Music and Three Movements which also features Chorus sine nomine, and Enja Records released Absolute Ensemble's Arabian Nights: Live at Town Hall NYC featuring music written specifically for the ensemble by Marcel Khalifé, Dhafer Youssef, and Daniel Schnyder.
An accomplished pianist, Kristjan Järvi studied piano at the Manhattan School of Music and conducting at the University of Michigan. He began his career assisting Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, followed by Chief Conductor and Music Director posts at both the Norrlands Opera and Symphony Orchestra, Sweden (2000-2004) and the Tonkünstler Orchestra, Vienna (2004-2009). In 2007 Musikfest Bremen honored Kristjan Järvi and Absolute Ensemble with the Deutsche Bank Prize in recognition of Outstanding Artistic Achievement.
© Peter Rigaud