Now entering his 8th season as Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Pietari Inkinen has won unanimous praise from audiences and critics both for his performances on tour in New Zealand and for his recordings with the Orchestra on Naxos and for EMI. In November 2010 Inkinen led the Orchestra on a highly successful tour of European cities including Vienna, Lucerne, Geneva, Frankfurt and Hamburg with Hilary Hahn as soloist. He is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra - a post he has held since September 2009 and in 2015, Inkinen will become the next Chief Conductor of the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele.
Now entering his 8th season as Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Pietari Inkinen has won unanimous praise from audiences and critics both for his performances on tour in New Zealand and for his recordings with the Orchestra on Naxos and for EMI. In November 2010 Inkinen led the Orchestra on a highly successful tour of European cities including Vienna, Lucerne, Geneva, Frankfurt and Hamburg with Hilary Hahn as soloist. He is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra - a post he has held since September 2009 and from September 2015, Inkinen has become the next Chief Conductor of the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele and Prague Symphony Orchestra.
As guest conductor, Inkinen works with orchestras including the Munich Philharmonic, La Scala Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras, the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra Berlin, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Prague Symphony, Bamberg Symphony, Vienna Radio Symphony and BBC Symphony Orchestras, Staatskapelle Dresden, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Maggio Musicale, the National Symphony Orchestra Washington, CBSO and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Inkinen also enjoys successful collaborations with soloists such as Vadim Repin, Hilary Hahn, Pinchas Zukerman, Nikolaj Znaider, Jean Yves Thibaudet, Alexander Toradze and Elisabeth Leonskaja.
The 2015-2016 season highlights include performances with Prague Philharmonic, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra, the Moscow State Symphonic Orchestra with Vadim Repin as soloist, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bamberg Symphoniker, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele and Eugene Onegin in Dresden Semperoper.
Guest engagements in the past seasons include performances with the Munich Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestras alongside the Prague Symphony and Frankfurt Museum Orchestras amongst others.
In September 2013, Inkinen was taken on at relatively short notice to conduct Opera Australia’s first ever production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, directed by Neil Armfield. This, the third ever Ring Cycle in Australia’s history has been met with the highest acclamation from the international press and described as “…theatrically enthralling, conceptually provoking, and visually gorgeous…“ (Sydney Morning Herald). In August 2014, Australia’s Helpmann Awards voted Inkinen as Best Music Direction for Opera Australia’s Ring Cycle, recognising artistic excellence throughout Australia’s vibrant performing arts scene.
In the operatic pit, he has conducted at the Finnish National Opera and made a very successful debut at La Monnaie in Brussels conducting the Rite of Spring with the Pina Bausch Dance Company. In spring 2012 he made debuts at the Staatsoper Berlin and Bayerische Staatsoper Munich conducting Eugene Onegin and in 2013 he conducted performances of Wagner’s Walkure and Das Rheingold in Palermo's Teatro Massimo. Inkinen was consequently awarded Italy’s National Association of Music Critics with the Franco Abbiati Prize for “Best Show” for Das Rheingold. The 2014 – 2015 season included Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in a debut with Cologne Opera in a choreography by Sasha Waltz.
In the studio, his recordings for Naxos with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra of the complete cycle of Sibelius Symphonies, the premiere recording of Rautavaara’s Manhattan Trilogy, other music by Sibelius and the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Bournemouth Symphony have all been greeted with critical acclaim: Gramophone said of the release of music by Sibelius:
Here’s further proof that Pietari Inkinen is a young conductor with confidence and talent to spare … the New Zealand SO respond with conspicuous poise and application for their Finnish chief (they really do sound like a rejuvenated band). Inkinen’s readings, too, show a real feeling for the idiom: phrases are shaped – and textures sifted – with fastidiousness and imagination, and he brings abundant recreative flair and cogent grip to the task in hand…
An exciting new recording of Sibelius’ Second Symphony with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra was also released in January 2014.
Inkinen’s recording for EMI of Wagner arias and orchestral pieces with Simon O’Neill and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra earned a rare double five-star review from BBC Music Magazine. His recording with the Bavarian Chamber Philharmonic received outstanding reviews and was voted BBC Music Magazine’s recording of the month.
Inkinen is also an accomplished violinist and studied at the Cologne Music Academy with Zakhar Bron. He has appeared as soloist with many of the leading Finnish Orchestras including Finnish Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic with whom he performed the Sibelius Concerto in a concert that celebrated the 100th anniversary of their performance of the work and has play/directed orchestras including Teatro Carlo Felice Genova, RAI Torino, Norrkopings Symphony and Orchestre National de Lyon. He also enjoys chamber music collaborations and has appeared with the Inkinen Trio at the Wigmore Hall and St. John’s Smith Square.
"That is how an opening concert of the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele ought to be: exciting, heart-rending and deeply moving: Pietari Inkinen brought Finnish dramatic art into the forum in Ludwigsburg."Bietigheimer Zeitung, „Finnen erobern das Forum“, Gabriele Szczegulski
"They are much too rarely being performed: The seven symphonies of Jean Sibelius. The fact that the 34 years old Finn Pietari Inkinen could bring to Munich a piece of his big compatriot was already planned when Lorin Maazel was still supposed to conduct the concert. Inkinen took over the programme without any changes, and as also the pieces of Messiaen and Chopin were debut works, the Munich Philharmonic enchanted the audience with the symphony no. 1 e minor op. 39 of the also 34 years old composer in an exemplary performance. Everything was right: the dark-glowing colours of the strings, winds and brass, the steadily fluent but very correct tempi and also the manifold dynamic shadings."Suddeutsche Zeitung, Klaus Kalchschmid
"With taking over Messiaen into the programme, the Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen proved his artistic talent for bulky-sweet tonal poems as well as for an oeuvre of his compatriot Jean Sibelius. The young conductor organized the first symphony with the right pathos, without ever drifting over into any romantic sweetness.” Münchner Merkur, “Lobgesänge”, Anna Schürmer, 16.12.2014 "
"Conducting with an uncommonly deep and youthful momentum and with the deep intensity of a “shooting star” the young, elite Finnish conductor led all the orchestral groups and soloists to achieve excellence"Saarbruecker Zeitung
"The sight of Inkinen, punching out Beethoven's reiterated shouts of D major freedom, will be with me forever"William Dart, The New Zealand Herald
"The musicality, energy and commitment showed that such excellence only comes from hard work and superb leadership"Anne McKinnon, The Dominion Post
"The crowd favorite, though, was Inkinen… he knows how to draw a sensuous, surging sound from the orchestra, his balances were superb, and there was an indefinable energy to it all. He has the potential to be one of the great Wagner conductors of this century.”"James L. Paulk, Classical Voice North America
"Though Ring cycles have proliferated throughout this Wagner bicentenary year, Opera Australia's is rather special."Andrew Clements, The Guardian
"The Melbourne Ring Orchestra, under the baton of Pietari Inkinen, is simply marvellous and drew out a multitude of colours across the four nights."Simon Plant, Herald Sun
"Musically rich, theatrically enthralling, conceptually provoking, and visually gorgeous, this is an auspicious start to Melbourne's first Ring since 1913"Peter Mccallum, Sydney Morning Herald
Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7 - Finlandia - New Zealand Symphony 2011
Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5 - New Zealand Symphony 2011
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 - New Zealand Symphony 2011
Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 - New Zealand Symphony 2010
Artists Profile Series - VAN RAAT, Ralph 2009
WennakoskiI: Nosztalgiaim; Sade avaa; Culla d'aria; Love and life of a woman 2009
Brahms: Violin Concerto Schumann: Violin Concerto - Bournemouth Symphony 2008
Sibelius: Night Ride and Sunrise; Pan and Echo; Belshazzar's Feast; Two Pieces for Orchestra; Kuolema - New Zealand Symphony 2008
Sibelius: Scènes historiques I, Op. 25; Scènes historiques II, Op. 66; King Christian II Suite, Op. 27 - New Zealand Symphony 2007
Rautavaara: Apotheosis; Manhattan Trilogy; Symphony No. 8, "The Journey" - New Zealand Symphony 2008
A Century of Finnish Chamber Music 2002