8. February 2023

Iceland Symphony Orchestra renews its contract with Principal Conductor Eva Ollikainen

Eva Ollikainen and Lára Sóley Jóhannsdóttir signed a new contract during rehearsal in Eldborg.

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has renewed its contract with Eva Ollikainen, who has served as the orchestra's principal conductor and artistic director for the past three years. The contract has been extended through the 2025-26 season. Eva will conduct six to eight subscription concerts with the orchestra per season, as well as leading them on domestic and international tours, including a tour of Great Britain in April of this year. Eva will also continue as director of the ISO's Conductors' Academy, a program she founded in 2021.

Eva Ollikainen studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and has garnered praise across the globe for her inspiring conducting. She has conducted many of the world's most respected orchestras, including the Helsinki Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Royal Danish Orchestra, and Wiener Symphoniker. She has also led opera productions at the Royal Danish Opera, the Kennedy Center Opera, and Staatskapelle Dresden. This past year saw her conduct the BBC Philharmonic at the BBC PROMS in London and make her debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in two concerts at the Hollywood Bowl and in Walt Disney Hall.

Eva Ollikainen said: “I still remember like yesterday the first time that I came to work with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra 2005. I remember the immediate musical connection with the musicians – it was one of the best moments in my life. This has remained a very deep musical relationship. Many of the musicians that play with us today were not a part of the orchestra back then, and some of the people that played with us back then are not with us anymore. But the spirit of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra remains the same. I enjoy every second working with these fantastic musicians, and I look forward to so many more musical moments together in the future. I want to thank the Iceland Symphony Orchestra musicians, administration, and board for their trust.”

Managing Director Lára Sóley Jóhannsdóttir said: “Eva took over as principal conductor and artistic director at a highly unusual time: during the middle of a global pandemic. While the next two years brought great challenges, they also offered unique opportunities. Eva worked intimately with the orchestra for longer periods of time than usual and built strong bonds with the musicians and other staff. It was through Eva's initiative that a conductors' academy was founded at the ISO in the fall of 2021, where young promising musicians get the opportunity to try their hand at conducting. I am convinced that providing this invaluable opportunity to our younger generation will pay dividends in the years to come. Eva is a unique artist with a great deal to offer – to her colleagues, to the community, and not least to our loyal audiences. She has enormous ambition for the Icelandic musical society and has had tremendous success with the orchestra. We look forward to evolving and growing with Eva in the coming years.”