Music Director

Pietari_IPPietari Inkinen

Pietari Inkinen was appointed Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 2008. Since joining the NZSO, Inkinen’s work with the NZSO has been internationally acclaimed with critics lauding his “bold, sure-footed intelligence” (Guardian) and describing him as having “confidence and talent to spare” (Gramophone).

In November 2010 he led the NZSO on a major tour of European cities including Vienna, Lucerne, Geneva, Frankfurt and Hamburg with soloist Hilary Hahn, earning international acclaim. Other highlights include recording the complete cycle of Sibelius symphonies (Naxos), conducting Wagner’s epic music drama The Valkyrie in full, and conducting all nine Beethoven symphonies consecutively over four days in both Wellington and Auckland.

Pietari, now 35, is currently in his eighth season as Music Director of the NZSO. In June 2015 he will conduct the Inkinen Festival with the NZSO featuring two programmes: Karen Gomyo plays Beethoven and the Wagner Gala.

“The sight of Inkinen, punching out Beethoven’s reiterated shouts of D major freedom, will be with me forever.” The New Zealand Herald, 24 June 2014

“The musicality, energy and commitment showed that such excellence only comes from hard work and superb leadership.” The Dominion Post, 20 June 2014

In 2016, Maestro Inkinen will assume the role of NZSO Honorary Conductor. He becomes Chief Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra from September 2016 and Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra from September 2015. He is also the Chief Conductor of the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestpiele in Germany.

Photo: Patrycja Szwarczynska

Photo: Patrycja Szwarczynska

Alongside the titled positions referenced above, Inkinen works at the highest level as a guest conductor with orchestras including the Munich Philharmonic, La Scala Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras, the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra Berlin, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Bamberg Symphony, Vienna Radio Symphony and BBC Symphony Orchestras, Staatskapelle Dresden, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Maggio Musicale, the National Symphony Orchestra Washington, CBSO and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Inkinen also enjoys successful collaborations with soloists such as Vadim Repin, Hilary Hahn, Pinchas Zukerman, Nikolaj Znaider, Jean Yves Thibaudet, Alexander Toradze and Elisabeth Leonskaja.

In September 2013, Inkinen was taken on at relatively short notice to conduct Opera Australia’s first ever production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, directed by Neil Armfield. This, the third ever Ring Cycle in Australia’s history has been met with the highest acclamation from the international press and described as “…theatrically enthralling, conceptually provoking, and visually gorgeous…“ (Sydney Morning Herald). In August 2014, Australia’s Helpmann Awards voted Inkinen as Best Music Direction for Opera Australia’s Ring Cycle, recognising artistic excellence throughout Australia’s vibrant performing arts scene.

In the operatic pit, he has conducted at the Finnish National Opera and made a very successful debut at La Monnaie in Brussels conducting the Rite of Spring with the Pina Bausch Dance Company. In spring 2012 he made debuts at the Staatsoper Berlin and Bayerische Staatsoper Munich conducting Eugene Onegin and in 2013 he conducted performances of Wagner’s Walkure and Das Rheingold in Palermo’s Teatro Massimo. Inkinen was consequently awarded Italy’s National Association of Music Critics with the Franco Abbiati Prize for “Best Show” for Das Rheingold. The 2014 – 2015 season sees his return to the Finnish National Opera conducting Sibelius’ Kullervo and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in a debut with Cologne Opera in a choreography by Sasha Waltz.

Inkinen is also an accomplished violinist and studied at the Cologne Music Academy with Zakhar Bron. He has appeared as soloist with many of the leading Finnish Orchestras including Finnish Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic with whom he performed the Sibelius Concerto in a concert that celebrated the 100th anniversary of their performance of the work and has play/directed orchestras including Teatro Carlo Felice Genova, RAI Torino, Norrkopings Symphony and Orchestre National de Lyon.


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