Eri Klas (7 June 1939 – 26 February 2016) was an Estonian conductor. He was born in Tallinn.[1]

Klas at the 2009 Song Festival parade

Klas mainly worked in the Nordic scene, but might be best remembered for his work leading the now defunct Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra. From 1999 to 2001 Klas was music advisor to the Israel Sinfonietta Beersheba, Israel.

He premiered Alfred Schnittke's 1st Cello Concerto (Munich Philharmonic, 1986) and Peer Gynt ballet (Hamburg State Opera, 1989), and worked on the diffusion of the Estonian symphonic repertory.

Klas was also active as a pedagogue, holding professorships at the Sibelius Academy (1993–97) and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (1997 until his death), where he received an honorary doctorate.

Klas was decorated with the Order of the Lion of Finland (1992, on the occasion of Finland's 75th Independence Day) and the Estonian Order of the White Star. He was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In 1986, he was named the People's Artist of the USSR. An Estonian lightweight junior boxing champion, he was also a member of the Estonian Olympic Committee.

From 1972 until 1991, he was married to ballet dancer, singer and actress Ülle Ulla.[2]


  1. ^ Eesti Entsüklopeedia, vol. 14, p. 167. (Tallinn, 2000.)
  2. ^ "Ulla, Ülle – Eesti Entsüklopeedia". (in Estonian). Retrieved 13 May 2021.

External linksEdit

Cultural offices
Preceded by Chief Conductor, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Preceded by music advisor, Israel Sinfonietta Beersheba
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief Conductor, Netherlands Radio Symphony
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Tuomas Ollila
Chief Conductor, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra
Succeeded by