Kristjan Järvi has been the principal conductor of the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra since September 2012. Born in Estonia and grown up in the U.S.A., he is a unique musical personality who has time and again extended the definition of classical music. Järvi combines his classical musical origins and his love for the traditional repertoire with his persuasive passion for present-day programs, thus propelling audiences in concert halls across the globe into the 21st century. His name stands for artistic and cultural diversity, a concept that he has also subscribed to as the founder and principal conductor of the »Absolute Ensemble«. His sincere commitment to music of all genres is reflected in his collaboration with artists such as John Adams, Benny Andersson, Goran Bregovic, Tan Dun, Renée Fleming, HK Gruber, Eitetsu Hayashi, Marcel Khalifé, Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich, Paquito D’Rivera, Esa Pekka Salonen, and Joe Zawinul.
In addition to the London Symphony Orchestra, Kristjan Järvi works regularly with the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre National de France, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra Washington, D.C. He has accepted further invitations to conduct the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Orquestra Sinfônica de São Paulo, and the NHK Symphony Orchestra of Japan. He founded the Absolute Academy at the Bremen Music Festival, and is the principal conductor of the Gstaad Festival Orchestra.
As a tireless champion of New Music, Kristjan Järvi has been responsible for well over 100 commissioned pieces. He has recorded more than 30 albums already, and received various awards including the Swedish Grammis for best opera recording, the critics’ award of the German Phonograph Academy for best album, and a nomination for the Grammy award. Moreover, Järvi is a dynamic and committed music pedagogue. He is the founder and principal conductor of the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic, which has set itself the objective of taking over a key role in the musical training and concert life of the Baltic countries. He continues to work as the co-founder of the Muusikaselts program for Estonian orphans.
Kristjan Järvi studied piano at the Manhattan School of Music, and conducting at the University of Michigan. He started his career as an assistant to Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Los Angeles Philharmonic; thereafter, he was appointed principal conductor and musical director of the opera and symphony orchestra in Norrland in Sweden (2000 – 2004) as well as of the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich in Vienna (2004 – 2009).