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Pietari Inkinen, now working internationally at the highest level, was appointed Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 2008.  He 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.  Pietari Inkinen is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, a post he has held since September 2009. In 2014, Pietari Inkinen was announced as the next Chief Conductor of the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele in a position to initially last three years as of 2015. As guest conductor, Inkinen works with orchestras including Dresden Staatskapelle, Deutsche Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Bayerische Rundfunk, WDR Cologne, Maggio Musicale, La Scala Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, CBSO and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Inkinen enjoys successful collaborations with soloists such as Vadim Repin, Hilary Hahn, Pinchas Zukerman, Nikolaj Znaider, Jean Yves Thibaudet, Alexander Toradze, and Elisabeth Leonskaya. In the operatic pit, he

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Pietari Inkinen, now working internationally at the highest level, was appointed Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 2008.  He 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.  Pietari Inkinen is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, a post he has held since September 2009.

In 2014, Pietari Inkinen was announced as the next Chief Conductor of the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele in a position to initially last three years as of 2015.

As guest conductor, Inkinen works with orchestras including Dresden Staatskapelle, Deutsche Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Bayerische Rundfunk, WDR Cologne, Maggio Musicale, La Scala Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, CBSO and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

Inkinen enjoys successful collaborations with soloists such as Vadim Repin, Hilary Hahn, Pinchas Zukerman, Nikolaj Znaider, Jean Yves Thibaudet, Alexander Toradze, and Elisabeth Leonskaya. In the operatic pit, he has conducted three productions at the Finnish National Opera including Eugene Onegin 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 Berlin Staatskapelle and Bayersiche Staatsoper Munich conducting Eugene Onegin and this season embarked on Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle at Palermo’s Teatro Massimo directed by Graham Vick.

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…

His recording for EMI of Wagner arias and orchestral pieces with Simon O’Neil was released last summer and his recording with the Bavarian Chamber Philharmonic received outstanding reviews and was voted the 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.

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Reviews

"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"

Fa, Saarbruker Zeitung

"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

"…Armfield and Inkinen work hand-in-hand to reveal, in the midst of this vast epic, a simple honest humanity as moving as anything I’ve experienced."

Alan John, Limelight

"Pietari Inkinen held tight grip on the Orchestra of the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, and led it to highest brilliance...The expression of the Orchestra developed from expressive to eruptive, until it came to the absolute outbreak of the volcano. The sound shimmered, it vibrated and the audience could hardly anticipate the eventual outbreak. Using all its powers, the orchestra played until physical exhaustion, almost carried away by the young Finn."

Gabriele Szczegulski, Bietigheimer Zeitung

"It was one of the best concerts in the long history of the Orchestra of the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele...(Inkinen) conducted Sibelius by heart and held the orchestra in firm grip...With Mahler, Inkinen reached the first and last movements most convincingly. Timbre, dynamics, tempo, articulation were unfolded from the organism of the work in ‘Funeral March: at a measured step. Strict like a funeral procession."

Dietholf Zerweck, Ludwigsburger Kreiszeitung

"The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra marked Verdi’s bicentenary with performances of his Requiem... It is a work of starkly contrasting emotions, which, in the Auckland Town Hall, were all dramatically emphasised by conductor Pietari Inkinen. The orchestra’s barely audible opening bars and the choir’s hushed entry in the prayer for eternal rest, Requiem æternam, effectively suggested a quiet acceptance of mortality"

Rod Biss, New Zealand Listener

"Purposeful and more restrained in his gestures, Inkinen focused on the easy movement of the beginning, bringing out variety with distinctive woodwind and horn sections"

Gabriele Luster, Dusterer Bilderbogen Pressespiegel

"The bold extrovert outer movements, with their precision ensemble, incisively charted by Inkinen's baton, enclosed some tender beauties."

William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

"Pietari Inkinen conducts the Orchestra del Teatro Massimo, unfolding a luscious Wagnerian sound. His interpretation and leadership allow the music to bloom and glow."

Peter Krause, Die Welt

"The visit was worthwhile. This was true especially for the Orchestra, which was presented at its best under the direction of young Finnish Conductor Pietari Inkinen."

Marco Frei, Das grosse stuhlerucken

"Inkinen (…) offered us a careful and clear reading and provided precious moments, bringing both warmth and color to the soft insinuating melodic phrases."

Salvatore Aiello

"The confident and convincing direction of the Orchestra del Massimo was entrusted to the Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen, who did justice to the complex timbres and dynamic nuances of the difficult score."

Sara Patera, L’Allestimento

"This new Rheingold marks the start of one of the Wagner anniversary year’s most bold and ambitious Ring cycles...Pietari Inkinen draws warm and confident playing from the orchestra, and supports his singers well..."

Shirley Apthorp, The Financial Times

"The power and splendour of the five-hour-plus performance announces itself at once in the tumultuous Prelude, as conductor Pietari Inkinen draws music of the greatest intensity and dramatic force from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. I’ve never heard it express more menace and magnificence."

"Superlatives are inadequate to do the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's Die Walkure justice...Pietari Inkinen sustained a sumptuous, perfectly paced orchestral flow, springing into passionate bloom for the young lovers, ushering in the Valkyries with whiplash thrills."

William Dart, NzHerald

"I found this semi-staging entirely satisfying - helped of course by a spectacularly fine cast and the NZSO in top form...Maestro Inkinen cracked the whip and we were off at pace, with all the drama, light and shade you could wish for. Forced to pick a moment where the neck hairs really did start to twitch and it would have to be Wotan's re-appearance to announce Brünnhilde's punishment. Now that was a moment of pure musical joy."

Timothy Jones, Thepress.co.nz

"The Concert, entitled “Journey”, is the crowning experience for the MDR Symphony itself which, when under Pietari Inkinen, rises to sonic heights. With power and elegance, Inkinen manages the radiant and sensual sound of the break neck musicians with exemplary uniformity . Inkinen seems to be one of those conductors who conveys a clear sense of what he wants. Without unnecessary flourishes, he conjures up an exceptionally clear sound [...] that we can feel the brilliance of the sunshine in New Zealand, and hear Roman pines. "

Tatjana Böhme-Mehner, Leipziger Volkszeitung, Leipzig

"Inkinen has moulded the orchestra into world class performers. "

Christchurch City Libraries Blog

"It was a memorable seascape that conductor Pietari Inkinen fashioned. One was tempted to see the glint of light on water in brilliant, coursing woodwind or feel Mediterranean breezes courtesy of expressive strings. [...] Inkinen's intricate handling of Mahler's often delicate scoring echoed his approach to Lilburn Third Symphony that had opened the evening. "

William Dart, New Zealand Herald

"Inkinen and the orchestra brought out plenty of crisp detail and strongly-contoured lines – this was no impressionist wallow, but a beautifully-judged delineation of detail whose impulses activated a bigger picture with a widely-flung spectrum of variation."

Peter Mechen, middle-c.org

"Pietari Inkinen, arms energetic and theatrical, had already drawn out from the previous three movements a tightly controlled and emotional, gripping aggressiveness. The barely audible, sensitive, melting sound of the strings will remain in my memory for a long time. "

DWE, Der Rheinpfalz

"Inkinen mitigated the weight of Tchaikovsky's pathos and luxurious textures with driving lyrical flow, giving the long-drawn melodies and sumptuous orchestration their full measure but never allowing the energy to flag. "

The Oregonian, JAMES McQUILLEN

"He has recently taken up the reins as the NZSO’s music director and, on this showing, is a talent to watch. Not only does he draw some hight-quality, notably zestful playing from his new charges, he directs both sets of Scènes historiques with such keen temperament, abundant character and sensitivity to texture and nuance that they come up sounding strikingly new-minted. Indeed, his generously expressive and pliable shaping of the ravishing secondary material in “Festivo” manages to stoke memories of Beecham’s indelible RPO rendering from the early 1950s (Sony, 9/03) – and that’s saying something!"

Andrew Achenbach, gramophone

"To conclude, Inkinen led a high-voltage reading of Ravel’s “La Valse.” It was fresh, driving and had a hard sheen, capturing the Viennese waltz as seen through the lens of post-World War."

Janell Gelford, THE ENQUIRER

"Inkinen, whose appointment as the orchestra's music director had been announced earlier that day, painted the Fifth Symphony in bold colours. The sheer drive of the first movement was reflected in huge sweeps of the arms, yet he was also attuned to the smaller world of the Andante con moto, with immaculate phrasing and dynamics. The Scherzo strode around the stage, complete with gruff fugato, while the Finale was the last moments of a Supernova, Ludwig-style."

William Dart, New Zealand Herald

"Pietari Inkinen had its measure with nothing done halfway. The brass were richly assertive and the woodwind played out in the style the composer intended. The opening bite from cellos and basses at the start of the second movement, and the wonderful intensity at the heart of the slow movement, highlighted the conductor’s certainty, and the steady, inexorable tread to the false triumph at the symphony’s end was exactly right. Superb playing and brilliant conducting."

John Button, Dominion Post

"Above all I want to mention the conductor Pietari Inkinen. In the same way as so many other talented conductors, not only is he Finnish but he was also taught by Jorma Panula and Leif Segerstam. He began with Sibelius ‘En Saga’, a piece in which it is important for the conductor to bring out the lyrical details without overdoing so. Pietari Inkinen achieved the perfect balance. In Stravinsky’s Firebird, he further demonstrated such extraordinary qualities. His interpretation was all you could wish for and more – softness where needed, energy, sparkle and excitement. His treatment of the orchestra and soloists was exemplary and, as a consequence of this, he received a very well deserved response from the orchestra."

Lars-Erik Larsson, Skånska Dagbladet

"Inkinen is the most persuasive conductor to come to Perth form Finland since Esa-pekka Salonen in the 1980s. He was superbly effective in Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8, producing lavish listening dividends, not least in the slow movement. How movingly its phrases in minor mode were shaped; it brought one face to face, as it were, with the composer. And Inkinen and the WASO were no less convincing in evoking the folksy essence of the finale. Hopefully, there are plans in place to invite this splendid conductor back to Perth"

Neville Cohn, 16 October 2006, Kakadu Sonorities West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Perth Concert Hall, October 2006

"Inkinen came into his own in Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony, providing, as he did, as considered and imaginative an account as one could have hoped for from a conductor identifying with every note of the score. I greatly admired the skill with which Inkinen expounded Sibelius’ idiosyncratic symphonic argument; it made for richly satisfying listening, not least from the horns which were in excellent fettle"

Neville Cohh, Regal Repin drinks deep of Sibelius

"The WASO was also in fine form and provided excellent support under young Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen. Inkinen’s conducting style was fluid…and he consistently drew excellent tone from the WASO and showed an affinity with this Finnish repertoire. He set himself a difficult task in the symphony’s first movement by starting at such a slow pace and, while the momentum sometimes threatened to sag, he deftly managed the tricky acceleration into the allegro, giving the movement a sense of organic growth. His pacing of the finale was also convincing, drawing out the climaxes rather than pushing ahead and creating a most satisfying conclusion to this uplifting concert"

Mark Coughlan

"Pietari Inkinen directs with sobriety and flexibility, inviting always more energy and the result is captivating. The tone that he creates is vivacious yet romantic and for repertoire like this is extremely appropriate."

Gerard Pernon

"A near full house cheered exceptionally good performances of works from the late 19th and the mid-20th century, which mark the opening of a new season from the NZSO under the inspired and inspiring direction of Pietari Inkinen"

Marian Poole, Otago Daily Times

"The players were completely inside each of the three works that made up of works loosely based on homesickness, and conductor Inkinen revealed his growth as a conductor. Everywhere rhythms were firmly established, entries were precise and real care seemed to have been taken in the matter of dynamics..something that made Rachmaninov's final orchestral work - the Symphonic Dances - come fully to life, particularly in the final dance where the Dies Iraes blazed irresistibly."

John Button, The Dominion Post

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Discography