Conductor

Olari Elts

Biography – about the artist.

Music Director and Chief Conductor Estonian National Symphony Orchestra

Olari Elts’ passion for distinctive programming rich with invention has earned him much praise on the international music scene. He began his tenure as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra in 2020. He was also Artistic Advisor of the Kymi Sinfonietta from 2018 to 2022.

Olari Elts has appeared as a guest conductor with renowned orchestras such as Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Soloists with whom he collaborates include Gautier and Renaud Capuçon, Brett Dean, Isabelle Faust, Alban Gerhardt, Martin Grubinger, Martin Helmchen, Stephen Hough, Lucas & Arthur Jussen, Kari Kriikku, Karita Mattila, Alexander Melnikov, Daniel Lozakovich, Baiba Skride, Simon Trpčeski, and Antoine Tamestit.


In the 2023/2024 season, Elts leads the BBC Symphony Orchestra on tour to Poland, returning to Eufonie Festival for the second time. In September 2023 he conducts the season opening concert of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, giving the Finnish premiere of Abel Selaocoe’s Four Spirits cello concerto. Returns this season include engagements with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Tampere Philharmonic and the Polish Baltic Philharmonic in Gdańsk, where he is joined by pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. He also looks forward to debuts with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta de València, the Aalborg and Wuppertal Symphony orchestras and the Presidential Symphony Orchestra in Ankara. Following recent successful international tours with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra in the UK, Germany and France, this season’s opening concert in Tallinn signifies Elts’ contract extension as the orchestra’s Chief Conductor and Music Director for a further five years.

As a champion of contemporary Baltic composers such as Erkki-Sven Tüür and Heino Eller, Elts has released recordings of Heino Eller’s Symphonic Poems, as well as Eller’s violin concerto with Baiba Skride and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. Also widely celebrated by critics are his Ondine recordings of Erkki-Sven Tüür works with Tapiola Sinfonietta, including the viola concerto with Lawrence Power, Tüür’s Symphony No. 5, and the accordion concerto Prophecy with the Helsinki Philharmonic. His 2016 recording of Brahms’ arrangements (Glanert, Berio) with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra also received high praise. Elts’ discography includes the Borgström and Shostakovich violin concertos with Eldbjørg Hemsing and the Wiener Symphoniker and recent releases with music by Kalevi Aho, recorded with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and the Kymi Sinfonietta, under the BIS label. His latest recording project is a new album with music by award-winning Norwegian composer Øyvind Torvund in collaboration with the Olso Philharmonic Orchestra.

Elts also made his mark in the opera field, having conducted titles such as Eugene Onegin, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Idomeneo and Berlioz’s La Damnation du Faust. Crossing genres, Elts toured to the Konzerthaus Berlin with the theatre-concert production which combined Mendelssohn and Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” with the Tallinn-based theatre company NO99. For Bernstein’s 100th anniversary, Elts conducted the film “On the Waterfront” with Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg.

Elts was Principal Guest Conductor of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra from 2007-2020 and held the same position at Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra from 2011-2014. He was Artistic Advisor of the Orchestre de Bretagne from 2006-2011, Principal Guest Conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra from 2007-2010 and Chief Conductor of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra from 2001-2006. Born in Tallinn in 1971, Elts is founder of his contemporary music ensemble, NYYD Ensemble.

Season 2023/2024

The next dates:

03.05.2024

Estonia Concert Hall

Tallinn

> more about the promoter

17.05.2024

Estonia Concert Hall

Tallinn

> more about the promoter

Your contact persons:

General Management:

Andreas Flohr

+44 20 7395 09-30

andreas.flohr@kdschmid.co.uk

General Management:

Spiros Chatziangelou

+44 20 7395 09-17

spiros.chatziangelou@kdschmid.co.uk

Natalie Brown

Artist Coordinator

+44 20 7395 09-22

natalie.brown@kdschmid.co.uk

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Natalie Brown

Artist Coordinator

+44 20 7395 09-22

natalie.brown@kdschmid.co.uk

Discography.

Kalevi Aho

Violin Concerto 2 | Cello Concerto 2

02.2023, BIS Records, CD

> Amazon > iTunes

Kalevi Aho

Double and Triple Concertos

12.2021, BIS Records, CD

> Amazon > iTunes

Heino Eller: Symphonic Poems

10.2019, Ondine, CD

> Amazon > iTunes

Heino Eller

11.2018, Ondine, CD

> Amazon > iTunes

Borgstrom, Shostakovich & Hemsing

04.2018, Bis, CD

> Amazon > iTunes

News.

Olari Elts opens the Eufonie Festival in Warsaw with the BBC Symphony Orchestra

Read more

Olari Elts extends contract with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra

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Olari Elts embarks on a UK-wide tour

Read more

Press.

„Olari Elts made an impressive return as guest conductor with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in this highly successful program. The conductor brought energy and focussed textures to bear on Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9 in E flat, Op. 70. His identification with this music seemed total and felt very idiomatic. Elts made the listener very aware of the troubled underbelly of the outwardly jokey and sarcastic tone of much of the piece.“

By Peter Donnelly, Limelight Magazine, 06.11.2023

„Even by the benchmarks set in recent interpretations by Finnish conductors, this Sibelius Fifth was a beacon of vitality. Elts has plenty of febrile energy, but never rushes, and knows how to make the big cloudbursts work. The performance also included the most striking take on the central movement I've ever heard […] the dynamics, tempo fluctuations and unexpected colourings of this one were startling in a good way throughout.“

By David Nice, The Arts Desk, 25.05.2023

„Dvořák’s restless Symphony no. 7 in D minor was a true showcase for the Estonians, who gave a terrific performance. Elts conjured a world of darkness and light with big clear flowing gestures […] In an organic performance, Elts allowed the music to breathe through the elegant dance with dark undercurrents, ahead of the epic final chords in a winning performance.“

By David Smythe, bachtrack, 21.05.2023

„The conductor Olari Elts clearly has the measure of them, and most obviously an ear for how best to draw out the detail of the intriguing colours Tüür manages to extract from both soloists and orchestra.“

By Richard Hanlon, MusicWeb International, 01.04.2018

„Conducting without a baton, Estonian Olari Elts’ precise, restrained approach conjured a touching austere beauty from the players. […] It was fascinating to follow Vasks’ composition for the orchestra, each individual section receiving a share of the limelight, carefully guided by Elts, breathing as one with the music. […] Bright woodwinds brought colour to the moderate duo before the piccolo and clarinet led the dancing with Elts keeping everything light and sprightly before the variations on Simple Gifts and bringing a calm and flowing beauty right to the delicate raindrops at the end.“

By David Smythe, bachtrack, 03.11.2017

„Elts’ conducting can be flamboyant at the same time as being meticulously precise. [...] The result in Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances had intensity and color, decisiveness and vigor, allied with the same sensitivity which pervaded the Rhapsody, plus fine work from the alto saxophone in the first movement.“

The SunBreak, Philippa Kiraly, 17.04.2017

„There’s an irresistible energy and joy in Elts’ conducting style; he leaps about the podium, sweeping his arms and hands in enthusiastic but exquisitely clear, focused gestures. His gift for revealing inner structures gave the symphony a fresh, living dimensionality.“

Artsfile Ottawa, Natasha Gauthier, 30.03.2017