Estonian-born and American-raised, conductor Kristjan Järvi is a unique musical personality pushing back classical music’s borders with his fresh ideas, charisma and technical prowess. Hailed by the New York Times as “a kinetic force on the podium, like Leonard Bernstein reborn,” Järvi has combined his classical roots and affinity for traditional repertoire with an infectious enthusiasm for creating original programmes, propelling classical concert halls around the globe into the 21st century.
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 imaginative programming has been embraced by leaders of classical, jazz and world music spheres alike. Järvi’s authentic commitment to all genres is reflected in his collaborations with Arvo Pärt, Tan Dun, John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, H. K. Gruber, Renйe Fleming, Joe Zawinul, Benny Andersson, Goran Bregović, Paquito d’Rivera, Eitetsu Hayashi and Marcel Khalifé.
Kristjan Järvi has actively sought the commission of over one hundred new works. Premieres in the 2009-10 season 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. Järvi will also record Arvo Pärt’s newly commissioned Stabat Mater with the Berlin Radio 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 former German Chancellor Schröder, Valery Gergiev and Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Baltic Youth Philharmonic aims to become an education and performance hub for the Baltic region. In 2009 the BYP opened the Bremen Musikfest and the Usedom Music Festival and toured the Baltic Sea Nations.
Additionally, Järvi is the founder and Music Director of the Absolute Academy (resident annually at the Musikfest Bremen) and co-founder of the Muusikaselts Estonian Orphanage Programme. Kristjan Järvi has worked with Japan’s Hyogo Youth Orchestra, the Norwegian Youth Orchestra, the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, the Sydney Sinfonia and the National Repertory Orchestra, Colorado.
Kristjan Järvi is highly sought-after as a guest conductor. He appears regularly and exclusively in London with the London Symphony Orchestra, with whom he will tour Europe and Asia in the 2009–10 season. In 2009 Järvi conducted the Teatro Reggio Torino in a new production of Rossini’s Tancredi. Further guest conducting engagements in this and last season include concerts with the Staatskapelle Dresden, Bayerische Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, NDR Hamburg, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre de Paris, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Rome, the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, the Sydney Symphony and NHK Symphony in Japan.
Kristjan Järvi is a passionate recording artist with more than twenty-five albums to his credit. He has received a list of accolades, including a Swedish “Grammy” for Best Opera Performance, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik for Best Album and a Grammy Nomination. 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 and Schmidt’s Das Buch mit Sieben Siegeln. In 2009 Kristjan Järvi will release Mahler’s little-known arrangement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra and Absolute Zawinul – the late Joe Zawinul’s last studio recording.
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 posts as Chief Conductor and Music Director at both the Norrlands Opera and Symphony Orchestra in Sweden (2000–2004) and the Tonkünstler Orchestra in Vienna (2004–2009). In 2007 the Musikfest Bremen honoured Kristjan Järvi and the Absolute Ensemble with the Deutsche Bank Prize in recognition of Outstanding Artistic Achievement.
Kristjan Järvi makes his home in Vienna and Florida together with his wife and three children.