24. April 2024

Eva Ollikainen to step down as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of Iceland Symphony Orchestra once completing her contract in summer 2026

Eva Ollikainen, who took up the position in 2020, has decided to conclude her term at the end of the 2025/26 season.

Ollikainen shared:

I have enjoyed every second of our time together with the wonderful musicians of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra at the incredible Harpa Concert Hall. I am very proud of everything we have achieved together thus far. With our conducting academy which we founded in 2020, I am also happy to have been able to give the opportunity for young Icelandic musicians to take their first steps on the podium. I look forward to many future concerts, tours and recordings, both until the end of my tenure and after.'

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

We are very grateful for the wonderful collaboration we have had with Eva and look forward to two more seasons with her as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, next season celebrating the 75th anniversary of the orchestra. Together with our team, Eva did an amazing job maneuvering the orchestra through the very demanding pandemic years, making sure that our high artistic standards are met despite all restrictions and circumstances. Among the many artistic highlights, the world premieres, performances and recordings of Anna Thorvaldsdottir's works stand out as something truly unique.'

Eva Ollikainen conducted the Iceland Symphony Orchestra for the first time in 2005, when she jumped in to conduct a youth concert at short notice. She conducted the orchestra several times between 2007 and 2010, including memorable and widely praised performances of Brahms and Ravel. In her Harpa Concert Hall debut with the orchestra in February 2019, her rapport with the orchestra was so impressive that she was offered the post of Chief Conductor shortly afterwards.

During her time as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Eva Ollikainen and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra perform a wide range of repertoire, spanning from the great Germanic composers to French and Scandinavian masterpieces of the 20th and 21st centuries. In addition, they constantly devote themselves to the rich Icelandic composer scene, culminating in the critically acclaimed release of “Anna Thorvaldsdottir ARCHORA / AIŌN” on Sono Luminus, which was selected as part of New York Times's Best Classical Music Albums of 2023, and Boston Globe's 10 best classical albums of the year.