Olari Elts

Chief Conductor and Artistic Director

Chief Conductor and Artistic Director from 2020
Principal Guest Conductor 2007–2020

Olari Elts’s had first concert with ENSO, City Life, in 1998. The programme included the works of John Adams, Steve Reich ja Eino Tamberg. Cooperation with ENSO became closer in 2007, when Elts became ENSO’s Principal Guest Conductor. Olari Elts has brought with him a wide repertoire and conducted numerous performances of large-scale works with ENSO, such as the concert performance of Mozart’s opera Idomeneo, Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust, Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie, etc., and, of course, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was performed in collaboration with Theatre NO99 and Eesti Kontsert. He has also brought to audiences several exciting cross-genre concerts, combining classical music with electronics and various visual effects and animations.

In addition to numerous concerts in Estonia, Olari Elts has performed several concerts abroad with ENSO: at the Il Settembre dell’Accademia festival in Verona, Italy, at a concert dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia at Stockholm’s Berwaldhallen; at the Turin Cathedral, Italy; as part of the Cultural Programme of the XX Winter Olympics, during which Arvo Pärt’s La Sindone was premiered; twice at the Finlandia-talo in Helsinki; and most recently at the Eufonie International Festival of Central and Eastern Europe in Warsaw.

Olari Elts

Olari Elts’ passion for distinctive programming rich with invention has earned him much praise on the international music scene. Elts begins his tenure as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra in 2020/21 season.

Olari Elts has appeared as a guest conductor with such orchestras as Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Finnish Radio Symphony, Danish National Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Dublin Orchestra, Staatskapelle Weimar, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Budapest Festival Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Soloists with whom he collaborates include Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, 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, Maxim Rysanov, Baiba Skride, Lara St. John, Simon Trpčeski, and Antoine Tamestit.

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, and Tüür’s Symphony No. 5 for electric guitar, orchestra, big band and the accordion concerto Prophecy with the Helsinki Philharmonic. His 2016 recording of Brahms’ arrangements (Detlev, Berio) with Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra also won high praise. Elts’ discography also includes the Borgström and Shostakovich violin concertos with Eldbjørg Hemsing and the Wiener Symphoniker under the BIS label, and Poul Ruders Symphony No. 5 with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra by Bridge Records.

Elts also made his mark in the opera field, having conducted titles such as Eugene Onegin, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Idomeneo, Berlioz’s La Damnation du Faust, etc. Crossing genres, Elts toured to the Konzerthaus Berlin with the theatre-concert production which combines 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 live orchestral accompaniment of the soundtrack.

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 also 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.

More information: www.olarielts.com

CDs of Olari Elts & ENSO
Erkki-Sven Tüür. Oxymoron. ECM 2007.
Heino Eller. Soloist Baiba Skride. Ondine 2018.
Heino Eller. Ondine 2019.