Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Estonian conductor Jarvi takes on Frankfurt orchestra

From today's International Herald Tribune:
BERLIN Paavo Jarvi, chief conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, plans to expose German music buffs to his northern European roots as he takes up the same position at the Hesse Radio Symphony Orchestra.

The 43-year-old Estonian arrived in Frankfurt at the weekend to replace Hugh Wolff at the head of the German orchestra, which performs in Frankfurt's Alte Oper opera house.

Jarvi opens his three-year tenure on Thursday evening with Finnish composer Jean Sibelius' "Kullervo," featuring Swedish soprano Charlotte Hellekant, Finnish baritone Jorma Hynninen and the Estonian National Male Choir.

"I thought it would be interesting to start out with something not predictable, not ordinary, something that introduces the audience to music from my region," Jarvi said in an interview after rehearsals on Wednesday.

Jarvi, who is also artistic adviser to another orchestra in Germany and to one in Estonia, plans to travel between Europe and the U.S. about every three weeks.

While the Cincinnati Symphony focuses on top-quality renditions of well-known music, he said he will have greater freedom to experiment in Frankfurt.

His aim is to look beyond the German-speaking world's rich musical heritage to include well-known work from France, Italy and especially the Nordic countries.

"There is a lot out there and it takes just curiosity and a bit of digging to find the forgotten gems," he said.

The orchestra's current program includes performances of music by composers such as Jarvi's compatriot Erkki-Sven Tuur as well as more classical works by Stravinsky, Mahler and Bruckner.

It also include guest performances from conductor Andrew Litton, baritone Matthias Goerne and violinist Thomas Zehetmair.

Jarvi studied percussion and conducting in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, before his family, including his acclaimed conductor father Neeme Jarvi, emigrated to the U.S. in 1980.

There, he studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, with Leonard Bernstein.

In 2001, he was appointed music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, where he has a contract until 2009.

A regular guest conductor and promoter of youth orchestras around the world, Jarvi's other posts include artistic adviser to the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie in Bremen, Germany, and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.

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