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Eri Klas

Eri Klas, Estonia

Eri Klas was born in Tallinn, Estonia. He graduated as an opera and concert conductor in both Tallinn and Leningrad, beginning his conducting career at the Estonia Theatre in Tallinn and at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

In 1975 Eri Klas was appointed principal conductor and artistic director of the Estonia Theatre. He became principal conductor of the Stockholm Royal Opera in 1985 and principal visiting conductor at the Finnish National Opera in 1990. One year later he was invited to take up the post of chief conductor of the Danish Symphony Orchestra in Arhus until summer 1996.

He was principal conductor of the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra 1996-2003 and continues his work with the orchestra as principal guest conductor.

From autumn 1998 to summer 2006 Eri Klas was the Artistic Director of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. From autumn 2006 onward the orchestra invited him as its Conductor Laureate.

Eri Klas is regularly guest conducting orchestras all over the world. From autumn 2006 to beginning 2011 he was chief conductor of the Novaya Opera in Moscow. He has been artistic director of the Tallinn Philharmonia since 2000.

Over the course of his 40-year career, Eri Klas has conducted the major orchestras of Scandinavia, Europe, Ameica and Asia and has appeared frequently all over the world. He has conducted over 100 orchestras in 40 countries from Australia to Iceland and from Japan to the United States including the Berlin, Hamburg and Munich Philharmonic Orchestras, the Los Angeles and Buenos Aires Philharmonic, the Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis and Montreal Symphony Orchestras, the Tokyo and Sydney Philharmonic Orchestras and the Israel Symphony Orchestra. He also conducted the Asian Youth Orchestra on a tour of Asia and Europe. He has undertaken several tours (appearing in Vienna, Budapest, Italy, China and Sweden) with the choir and orchestra of the Sibelius Academy.

Eri Klas has recorded for several labels. He was Professor of Orchestral Conducting at the Sibelius Academy 1993-97. Currently he is a Professor at the Estonian Music Academy.

Eri Klas was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Estonian Music Academy. He holds the Royal Order of the Polar Star Officer First Class awarded in 1989 by the King of Sweden and Commander of the Lion of Finland awarded in 1992 by the President of the Republic of Finland. Eri Klas is also a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF.