“Elts shaped a tight and propulsive first movement…Lyrical flow in the second movement – a reminder of Schumann's great song writing – gave way to a striving, dramatic scherzo and a finale of insouciant wit...This was music-making of naturalness and imagination.”
Principal Guest Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic from the 2011/12 season, Olari Elts’ passion for distinctive programming rich with invention has earned him much praise on the international music scene. Alongside traditional repertoire, Olari Elts has a strong commitment to contemporary music, with close associations with fellow Estonians, Arvo Pärt and Erkki Sven Tüür. He also remains Principal Guest of the Estonian National Symphony.
Olari Elts appears regularly with such orchestras as the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, hr- Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, SWR Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Orchestre National du Capitol de Toulouse, the Seattle and Cincinnati Symphony. In Japan, he works frequently with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. A popular guest in Australia and New Zealand, he conducts the symphony orchestras in Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide as well as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Soloists with whom he collaborates include Jean Yves Thibaudet, Simon Trpceski, Stephen Hough, Isabelle Faust, Baiba Skride, Alban Gerhard, Kari Kriikku, Claire Booth and Stephan Loges.
Olari Elts opens the Helsinki Philharmonic’s 2012/13 season with a programme including Debussy La Mer and Takemitsu Quotations of a Dream. Up-coming highlights include the 1st performance of Schumann Symphony in G minor “Zwickau” with the Estonian National Symphony. He works with the Trondheim symphony (Saariaho, Schumann), the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Choir with Stephan Loges and Ben Johnson (Haydn, Beethoven), the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Markus Werba (Schumann, Brahms), the Ulster Orchestra (Grieg, Dvorak), the Staatskapelle Weimar with Sabine Meyer (Weber, Rachmaninov), the Niedersächsisches Staatsorchester Hannover (Adams, Liszt, Tüür, Shostakovich), the Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto (Schubert, Lindberg, Ravel). US appearances include the Oregon Symphony with Stephen Hough, the Milwaukee and Colorado Symphonies.
In the opera field, he has led several productions at the Estonian National Opera, including Britten’s Albert Herring and Puccini’s Il Trittico, as well as Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Idomeneo with Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. During the autumn of 2008, he conducted performances of Marschner’s Der Vampyr in both Hungary and Rennes, returning to Opéra de Rennes in 2010 for Berlioz’s La Damnation du Faust.
Winner of the International Sibelius Conductors’ Competition in Helsinki in 2000, Olari Elts became Principal Conductor of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra from 2001-2006. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for three seasons from the 2007/08 season and Principal Guest of the Orchestre de Bretagne from 2006-2011.
Born in Tallinn in 1971, Olari Elts is founder and director of his own contemporary music ensemble, NYYD Ensemble. The ensemble takes its name from the international festival of new music in Estonia, where it gave its debut performance in 1993.