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Kristjan Järvi in 2008

Kristjan Järvi (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈkristjɑn ˈjærʋi], alternate (U.S.) spelling: Kristian Järvi) (born 13 June 1972, Tallinn) is an Estonian-American conductor and pianist. Järvi is the younger son of Neeme Järvi, and the brother of conductor Paavo Järvi and flautist Maarika Järvi.


Early lifeEdit

When Järvi was age 7, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Rumson, New Jersey. He became an American citizen in 1985.[1] He grew up in New York City. Järvi studied piano with Nina Svetlanova at the Manhattan School of Music. He later went on to study conducting at the University of Michigan under Kenneth Kiesler.


From 1998 to 2000, Järvi was Assistant Conductor to Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He and the composer Gene Pritsker co-founded the Absolute Ensemble, based in New York City, in 1993, with Järvi as its music director.[2][3] In 2007, Järvi and the Absolute Ensemble were awarded the Deutsche Bank Prize for Outstanding Artistic Achievement.

Järvi was Chief Conductor and Music Director of NorrlandsOperan from 2000 to 2004. From 2004 to 2009, Järvi was Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Tonkünstler Orchestra, Vienna.[4] Järvi is also the current Artistic Advisor to the Kammerorchester Basel and the conductor and founder of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic (formerly Baltic Youth Philharmonic). In April 2011, Järvi was appointed the next chief conductor of the MDR Symphony Orchestra effective with the 2012-2013 season, with an initial contract of 3 years.[5][6] His MDR contract was extended in 2015. In March 2017, the MDR announced that is to conclude his MDR Symphony Orchestra after the close of the 2017-2018 season.[7]

In addition to a Grammy nomination, Järvi has previously been awarded the German Record Critics Prize and a Swedish Grammy for the recording of Hilding Rosenberg's opera "Isle of Bliss". He has recorded Leonard Bernstein's Mass with the Tonkünstler Orchestra and Absolute Ensemble.[8] While Järvi's repertoire includes pieces from the Classic and Romantic periods, he is also a specialist for 20th-century composers and contemporary music, having commissioned works by Arvo Pärt, Heinz Karl Gruber, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Ezequiel Viñao, Peeter Vähi, Dave Soldier, Joe Zawinul and Gediminas Gelgotas among others. In 2014, Järvi and the French record label Naïve Classique launched the 'Kristjan Järvi Sound Project', an ongoing series featuring recordings from all of Järvi's ensembles.

Personal LifeEdit

Järvi has been married twice. His first marriage to the violinist Leila Josefowicz produced a son. The marriage ended in divorce. Järvi and his second wife, the flautist Hayley Melitta, have three children.[9][10] Järvi's philanthropic activities include founding the Estonian Orphanage Music Outreach foundation and the Absolute Academy in Bremen.


  1. ^ Brian Wise (2004-04-18). "A Maestro And His Plans For Reshaping An Orchestra". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
  2. ^ Brian Wise (2006-03-19). "A Premiere for the State And for the New Conductor". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  3. ^ Anthony Tommasini (2000-10-27). "Putting Music Back Together Again". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  4. ^ Ben Mattison (2005-12-20). "Kristjan Järvi Extends Contract With Austria's Tonkünstler Orchestra". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  5. ^ "MDR stellt neuen Chefdirigenten vor" (Press release). MDR. 18 April 2011. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  6. ^ "Kristjan Järvi soll das MDR-Sinfonieorchester modernisieren". Leipziger Volkszeitung. 2011-04-18. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  7. ^ "WSO Letzte Spielzeit für Kristjan Järvi" (Press release). MDR. 22 March 2017. Archived from the original on 3 April 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  8. ^ Geoff Brown (2009-02-21). "Kristjan Järvi: Bernstein Mass". The Times. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
  9. ^ Mary Ellyn Hutton (October 1, 2009). "Latin Just Another Focus for Kristjan Järvi". Cincinnati Post. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  10. ^ Janelle Gelfand (2011-11-04). "Kristjan Järvi brings his passion to CSO". Cincinnati Post. Retrieved 2017-04-08.

External linksEdit


  • Järvi, Kristjan (2014): "A Soundtrack to Our Lives..." . In: Stoppe, Sebastian (ed.), Film in Concert: Film Scores and their Relation to Classical Concert Music, pp. 131–144. ISBN 9783864880605.
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Roy Goodman
Chief Conductor, NorrlandsOperan
Succeeded by
Andrea Quinn
Preceded by
Jun Märkl
Chief Conductor, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Preceded by
(no predecessor)
Chief Conductor, Baltic Sea Philharmonic
Succeeded by