12. June 2019

Eva Ollikainen appointed as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director

Ollikainen Assumes Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Post in 2020/21 Season

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra announced today the appointment of Finnish conductor Eva Ollikainen as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director with an initial four-year contract beginning with the 2020/21 season.

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra is the national orchestra of Iceland and resident at Harpa concert hall, a landmark building in Reykjavík's waterfront area.

During Eva's tenure as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director in 2020/21, she will conduct a minimum of eight weeks during the regular concert season. In addition, the orchestra is planning international touring with Eva during the contract period. Before her inaugural season, Ollikainen takes to the stage in March 2020 for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra's 70th anniversary concert featuring works by Mahler and Sibelius.

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,” remarked Eva Ollikainen. “I look very much forward to our collaboration exploring new and old repertoire together, and the musical encounters with our fantastic audience. I want to continue the great work of the orchestra in the diversity of its programming and explore these possibilities further, including diversity of background and gender. I also very much look forward to working alongside the inspiring and professional management team which especially impressed me by the great energy and drive to become an even better institution.


Lára Sóley Jóhannsdóttir, Managing Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, said: 

We are absolutely delighted that Eva Ollikainen will be joining us as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director. Her 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.


In the 2018/19 season Eva Ollikainen made her debut with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducting Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, in Italy with Orchestra della Toscana, and finally at the Royal Danish Opera with Puccini's Turandot. She also returned to the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, continued her Beethoven symphony cycle with the Jönköping Sinfonietta, and conducted the ballets Nutcracker and Swan Lake for the Semperoper. As principal conductor of the Nordic Chamber Orchestra, for the 2018/19 season Eva Ollikainen paired German classical and Romantic repertoire with Baltic Sea composers such as Jean Sibelius, Galina Ustvolskaya and Peteris Vasks.