Eva Ollikainen has been appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Her four-year contract commences with the 2020/21 season.
In addition to conducting for a minimum of four weeks during the regular season at Harpa concert hall, Ollikainen will also be involved in the orchestra’s international tours. Prior to her inaugural season, the conductor will help the orchestra celebrate its 70th anniversary in March next year with a concert of Mahler and Sibelius.
Ollikainen began her studies as a conductor at the Sibelius Academy, winning the Jorma Panula Conducting Competition at the age of 21. She subsequently went on to work with ensembles such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra. She has continued to work with leading international orchestras, specialising in the great German symphonies.
Ollikainen first conducted the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the country’s national orchestra, in 2005, returning on three subsequent occasions in 2007, 2010 and earlier this year. There was an immediate rapport which has only increased over time, said Managing Director Lára Sóley Jóhannsdóttir: ‘She has gained a strong connection with our musicians and audiences through her commitment, vibrant energy and enthusiasm.’
Ollikainen herself spoke of her ambitions for the orchestra in terms of further diversifying the background and gender of its members, and of her excitement about collaborating with them on a long-term basis: ‘I have always felt a deep bond with these musicians. Not only are they virtuosos on the highest international level, but their way of understanding and communicating music is unique.’