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Eri Klas (Conductor)

Eri Klas (7 June 1939 – 26 February 2016) was an Estonian conductor. He was born in Tallinn.

Eri Klas is an outstanding modern conductor, a People‘s Artist of the USSR, a professor. Upon graduation from the Tallinn Conservatory (G. Ernesaks class) in 1964, Eri Klas became a trainee at the Leningrad Conservatory (with N. Rabinovich) and at the Bolshoi Theatre (with B. Khaikin). Eri Klas began his conducting career at the Estonia Opera and Ballet Theatre (where he worked for 30 years, for 20 of which being the music director and the chief conductor) and for 10 years he collaborated with the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The maestro was also Chief Conductor of the Royal Opera House in Stockholm, Danish Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. Eri Klas has been working with over 100 symphony orchestras from 40 countries of the world, including the philharmonic orchestras of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Sydney, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, and Montreal.

Mr. Klas devotes much of his time to teaching young musicians. He has conducted youth orchestras of Scandinavia, Ireland, the USA and Asia, touring with them all over the world. Between 1993 and 1997 Mr. Klas was also a professor of conducting at the Sibelius Academy and since 1997 has held the same position with the Estonian Music Academy

Mr. Klas has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the Estonian Music Academy and other prizes of Estonia, Sweden and Finland. He is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Chairman of the Estonian Cultural Foundation.

Currently, Eri Klas is the Artistic Director of the Tallinn Philharmonic in Estonia and Principal Guest Conductor of the Finnish National Opera.

Since 2003, Eri Klas has been working with the Novaya Opera Theatre, where he has conducted productions and concerts comprised of compositions by Verdi, Strauss, Wagner, Mascagni, and Mahler. The premiere of Mozart‘s Die Zauberflote in March 2006 (Eri Klas was the music director and conductor of the production) opened up a new stage in the maestro‘s collaboration with the Novaya Opera Theatre: he was appointed the Chief Conductor of the theatre. In September 2006, Eri Klas conducted the world premiere of the symphony fantasy Meisterzinger. Orchestral Tribute, based on Wagner‘s opera (compilation and arrangement by Henk de Vlieger). Eri Klas is the music director and conductor of the Novaya Opera production of Donizetti‘s L‘Elisir d‘Amore.

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