6. October 2015

Yan Pascal Tortelier Named Chief Conductor

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra is delighted to announce that it has named Yan Pascal Tortelier as its next Chief Conductor. The French maestro, who was selected through the musicians' committee unanimous decision, will assume the three-year tenure in September 2016.

Mr Tortelier's collaboration with the orchestra dates back to 1998, when he led concerts during the Reykjavík Arts Festival. He renewed the relationship in 2012, returning to lead the orchestra in its striking, state-of-the-art, waterfront concert hall, Harpa. Since then, he has been a welcome, frequent guest at the podium. 

Of his appointment, Mr Tortelier said:

“I am delighted and moved to be asked to become the Chief Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and am flattered and happy to discover that the musicians committee voted unanimously to offer it to me. I enjoy a really good chemistry with the players and, of course, the new hall is a spectacular plus. I love making music with an orchestra that is so receptive. I have agreed to assume the position for three years and to become, dare I say, a figurehead for the orchestra at a thrilling time in its history. We will work together to continue the orchestra's development during this period, as well as to achieve my very clear and specific mission: to reach out to audiences worldwide and share with them the extraordinary talent and musicianship of this orchestra.” 

He adds: 

“It is a happy coincidence that the Iceland Symphony Orchestra has recorded for Chandos, as I have been a Chandos artist for 25 years now. I look forward to recording with them for the label, as well as undertaking international orchestral touring projects in the seasons ahead.”

Executive Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra Arna Kristín Einarsdóttir said: 

We are very proud that such a distinguished conductor, who has worked with all the world's major orchestras, has chosen to join us. The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has flourished and grown in size since moving into Harpa. Being part of such a small nation, with only 330,000 inhabitants, living on the margin of the world, the orchestra plays a big role in our society. Last year we performed for over 76,000 people – a quarter of Iceland's population. I believe that Yan Pascal Tortelier will help us make the leap onto the international stage. He has a very positive relationship with the orchestra and the ability to demand a lot from the musicians while giving them the artistic freedom and space to make music. He makes the orchestra sound amazing and our audiences in Reykjavik love his concerts.

Mr Tortelier and the Iceland Symphony also announced his inaugural season as Chief Conductor in Reykjavík on 6th October. The 2016-17 season features a rich mix of repertoire will works by Ravel, Bizet, Elgar, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Sibelius and Stravinsky. He and the orchestra will also collaborate with outstanding Icelandic and international soloists including pianists Nikolai Lugansky and local star Vikingur Olafsson, violinists James Ehnes and Alina Ibragimova, and cellist Andreas Brantelid.