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Pietari Inkinen was Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2015. His work with the NZSO was 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 included 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.

For his final concerts in 2015 he conducted 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 assumed the role of NZSO Honorary Conductor. He will become 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.

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.

The 2015-2016 season highlights include performances with Prague Symphony, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra, the Russian National Symphony Orchestra with Vadim Repin as soloist, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bamberg Symphoniker, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele and Eugene Onegin in Dresden Semperoper.

Guest engagements in the past seasons include performances with the Munich Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestras alongside the Prague Symphony and Frankfurt Museum Orchestras amongst others.

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, was met with considerable acclaim by the international press and described as “…theatrically enthralling, conceptually provoking, and visually gorgeous…“ (Sydney Morning Herald). In August 2014, Australia’s Helpmann Awards, which recognises artistic excellence throughout Australia’s vibrant performing arts scene, honoured Inkinen for Best Music Direction for this production.

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 saw 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.

In the studio, his recordings for Naxos with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra of the complete cycle of Sibelius Symphonies, the premiere recording of Rautavaara’s Manhattan Trilogy, other music by Sibelius and the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Bournemouth Symphony have all been greeted with critical acclaim. Gramophone said of the release of music by Sibelius:

Here’s further proof that Pietari Inkinen is a young conductor with confidence and talent to spare … the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra respond with conspicuous poise and application for their Finnish chief (they really do sound like a rejuvenated band). Inkinen’s readings, too, show a real feeling for the idiom: phrases are shaped – and textures sifted – with fastidiousness and imagination, and he brings abundant recreative flair and cogent grip to the task in hand…

An exciting new recording of Sibelius’ Second Symphony with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra was also released in January 2014.

Inkinen’s recording for EMI of Wagner arias and orchestral pieces with Simon O’Neill and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra earned a rare double five-star review from BBC Music Magazine. His recording with the Bavarian Chamber Philharmonic received outstanding reviews and was voted BBC Music Magazine’s recording of the month.

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. He also enjoys chamber music collaborations and has appeared with the Inkinen Trio at the Wigmore Hall and St. John’s Smith Square.