Kristjan Järvi

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The activities of conductor Kristjan Järvi extend from traditional orchestral settings into the experimental fusion work of his own Absolute Ensemble. He is also a noted composer who has issued several albums under his name.
Järvi was born in 1972 in Tallinn, Estonia, then part of the Soviet Union. He is the son of conductor Neeme Järvi, and conductor Paavo Järvi and flutist Maarika Järvi are his siblings. His family moved to the U.S. in 1980 and settled in Manhattan, where he was educated. Järvi studied piano at first, attending the Manhattan School of Music and working with Nina Svetlanova. He continued to take piano courses at the Salzburg Mozarteum, with Tatiana Nikolayeva, and in Israel, with Arie Vardi and Victor Derevyanko. His conducting studies took place at the University of Michigan under Kenneth Kiesler.
Järvi founded the Absolute Ensemble in 1993 and has continued to lead that eclectic and experimental group, which is based in New York and programs jazz and rock as well as contemporary concert music. The group records for the CCn'C label and won a Deutsche Bank Prize for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in 2007. Järvi served as assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1998 to 2000, departing for Sweden to lead the Norrlands Opera and associated Umeå Symphony Orchestra. In 2004, he became the conductor of the Tonkünstler Orchestra of Vienna, remaining in the post until 2009.
In 2011, Järvi founded the Baltic Youth Orchestra, later renamed the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. He has also made a wide variety of appearances as a guest conductor with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, among other groups. From 2012 to 2018, Järvi served as the chief conductor of the MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig. He continued to record with the orchestras he had helmed, appearing on the BIS, Chandos, and Deutsche Grammophon labels, among others. He also began recording for Sony Classical, which became home to albums issued under his name, featuring compositions by himself and others. In 2020, he released the album Nordic Escapes, and the following year, on Deutsche Grammophon, he led the Baltic Sea Philharmonic in a recording of Max Richter's Exiles. ~ James Manheim