The Tonhalle Society Zurich has announced that Paavo Järvi will become the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich’s new Chief Conductor and Music Director as of the 2019/20 season. In addition to concerts in Zurich and Switzerland , Järvi’s five-year contract will include both touring and recording. Prior to taking up the post in 2019/20 he will be present in Zurich to give a performance with the Estonian Festival Orchestra at the Tonhalle Maag in January 2018, and will also spend three weeks during the 2018/19 season with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich.
The Estonian born conductor directed the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich for the first time in 2009. During his second visit last December, when he conducted four concerts, a chord was struck with the orchestra and audiences alike. Peter Hagmann reported: “Järvi does not need to direct light upon himself; he radiates of his own accord. An analytical mind and a sense of tone, experience and spontaneity – that is his secret”.
Paavo Järvi commented, “I am extremely honoured to be taking on the role of Music Director of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich – an orchestra that has a great history and an outstanding quality of playing. On the most recent occasion I had the privilege of working with the orchestra, I felt a very strong chemistry with both the musicians and the management and was overwhelmed by their commitment. I look forward to strengthening those musical and personal relationships: with the orchestra, the management and, not least, the audience in Zurich, embarking on a new chapter of our musical lives together”.
Director Ilona Schmiel also looks forward to the future: “By engaging Paavo Järvi, the great tradition of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich will be continued and its special qualities enriched and enhanced with the aim of raising its profile in terms of repertoire and strengthening this top ensemble’s position in the best international context. I am delighted for our orchestra and our audiences in Zurich, and personally look forward to working with him – on both a musical and a human level.”
“In Paavo Järvi, the Tonhalle Society Zurich has succeeded in engaging one of the world’s best-known conductors. I am convinced that this will enable the orchestra to scale new heights,” says Martin Vollenwyder, Chairman of the Tonhalle Society Zurich. “On behalf of all the musicians in the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, we on the Orchestral Committee are delighted at the prospect of working with Paavo Järvi,” added Florian Walser and Kaspar Zimmermann, Co-Chairmen of the Orchestral Committee.
As Chief Conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi opened the 2016/17 season with Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 to celebrate the orchestra’s 90th anniversary. Together in spring of 2017, they also undertook an extended European tour, which included concerts in Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Cologne, Paris and London. Järvi has also been the Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen since 2004. In the summer of 2016, in his final season as Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris, he was voted “Musical Personality of the Year” by the French Critics’ Association. He is the founder of the Pärnu Music Festival in Estonia, which offers both concerts and conducting master classes. This is where Paavo Järvi returns to his childhood roots each summer, accompanied by his family, and has established the Estonian Festival Orchestra, which brings together the best of Estonia’s young musical talent with leading musicians from European orchestras.
During the 2016/17 season, Järvi has conducted the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen’s highly acclaimed cycle of Brahms symphonies in concert throughout both Europe and Asia. The first recording in this cycle will appear in September 2017 (Sony/RCA). Currently conducting “Don Giovanni” at La Scala, Milan, he is set to return to the Frankfurt Radio Symphony where he is Conductor Laureate, and appears as a regular guest with the Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden and Philharmonia Orchestra, London. The autumn of the 2017/18 season sees Järvi conducting the New York Philharmonic and returning to the Orchestre de Paris.
His extensive discography includes two Grammy Award winning discs, the i-tunes best seller digital recording of the opening gala concert from the new Paris Philharmonie and the complete cycle of Nielsen symphonies with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony (Sony Japan). Paavo Järvi was recently named “Artist of the Year” by both Gramophone and Diapason magazines and received the prestigious Sibelius Medal in recognition of his achievements in championing the Finnish composer’s music in France during his tenure with the Orchestre de Paris.