New boss for Florence
Eva Ollikainen has been announced as the new Principal Conductor of the Orchestra della Toscana. She will take over from her predecessor Daniele Rustioni at the beginning of the 2020/21 season. The ORT, located in the historic Teatro Verdi in Florence, will celebrate its 40th birthday in 2020 and on this occasion implement a complete artistic and personnel realignment.
In addition to Eva Ollikainen as Principal Conductor, Beatrice Venezi (pictured left) and Nil Venditti (pictured right) will regularly lead the orchestra as permanent guest conductors, and James Conlon as honorary conductor. In its press release, the orchestra explains: "We see it as our duty to ask ourselves what it means to be an orchestra in 2020, and we are looking for answers that are relevant to our time. The classical music world is said to be very self-centred and sometimes exclusive. Our goal is to develop a new attitude and new tools with which we can overcome these clichés".
At its concerts in Florence and abroad, the Orchestra della Toscana, with Giorgio Battistelli as artistic director, features repertoire from baroque to modern, with a special emphasis on contemporary works. For the next two seasons with ORT, Eva Ollikainen is planning a Brahms cycle. Currently Principal Conductor of the Nordic Chamber Orchestra in Sweden, she will also serve as Music Director and Artistic Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra from the 2020/21 season.
new position for Eva Ollikainen
The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has appointed Eva Ollikainen Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, with an initial four-year contract beginning with the 2020/21 season. The ISO is the national orchestra of Iceland and resident at Harpa Concert Hall, a landmark building in Reykjavík’s waterfront area. She will be working alongside Managing Director Lára Sóley Jóhannsdóttir:
“Eva Ollikainen's appointment marks a new chapter for the orchestra – a start of an incredibly exciting time of great opportunities. With her previous work with the orchestra, she has gained a strong connection with our musicians and audiences through her commitment, vibrant energy and enthusiasm. She understands how important the orchestra is to our society and how that connection can be developed even further. But most importantly Eva shares our vision for the future. She has all the qualities needed to raise the artistic level of the orchestra. We cannot wait to welcome Eva to our team.”
During her tenure, she will conduct a minimum of eight weeks during the regular concert season and will join the orchestra on international tours. Before her inaugural season, Ollikainen takes to the stage in March 2020 for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s 70th anniversary.
“I have always felt a deep bond with the musicians of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Not only are they virtuosos on the highest international level, but their way of understanding and communicating music is unique. I very much look forward to our collaboration exploring new and old repertoire together, and the musical encounters with our fantastic audience," says the Finnish conductor.