Neeme Järvi

European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO)
European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO)
December 17, 2015
Hortus Musicus
Hortus Musicus
December 11, 2011



The performance will be part of “The Resurrection of Gustav Mahler”, a documentary about this work… Mr. Jarvi’s orchestra included members of the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, the Detroit Symphony and the Met Orchestra as well as scattered representatives of other ensembles, who donated their services to the project. It sounded dangerous, actually: an ad hoc ensemble is the last thing you might want for a gargantuan work like a Mahler Symphony. But it worked. /…/ Probably the most striking element of Mr. Jarvi’s reading was the ease with which he moved between Mahler’s extremes of hugeness and delicacy… (The New York Times, Apr 2006)
Neeme Jarvi conducted the New York Philharmonic in the “Lyric Symphony” on Thursday at Avery Fisher Hall… Mr. Jarvi conducted a gracious if not particularly memorable account. (The New York Times, Nov 2009)
The audience rewarded the performance with an ovation. For his final encore as music director Mr. Jarvi chose Haydn, whose 12 late symphonies he conducted during his tenure. Mr. Jarvi led a lithe, elegant rendition of the Minuet and Trio from Haydn’s Symphony No 96… (The New York Times, May 2009)

Next performances:

June 28th, 2024, Acropolis of Athens, Greece
Beethoven. Symphony No 9
Greek Radio Choir, Athens City Choir, Oltenia Philharmonic Academic Choir, Athens State Orchestra

Festival Glasperlenspiel presents:
July 4th, 2024, St. John’s church (Jaani kirik), Tartu, Estonia
Hans Christian Aavik (violin), Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta
Haydn, “Turkish” Mozart, Boccherini



NeemeJarvi300The grand man of Estonian music, Maestro Neeme Järvi − a conductor “from God” − is probably the best known Estonian musician in the world beside Arvo Pärt. It is almost impossible to fully sum up the long and prolific career of one of the most sought after conductors of our time.

Neeme Järvi has conducted 157 orchestras, held the position of chief conductor (currently chief conductor emeritus) of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the Scottish Royal National Opera (currently its honorary conductor), music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (currently music director emeritus), music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (currently honorary conductor), chief conductor of the Hague Residentie-orchestra (currently chief conductor emeritus) etc. The considerable increase in the artistic level of these orchestras has greatly been his service. As has the respect from these orchestras and their ongoing wish to continue their co-operation.

His discography is likewise impressive. Among others he has recorded all symphonies by Prokofiev, Shostakovich, R. Strauss, Mahler, Dvořák, Glazunov, Grieg, Sibelius, Nielsen and Brahms.

Having served as chief conductor of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra from 1963 to 1979, he took a difficult decision in 1980 and emigrated from the artistically oppressive USSR to the West where he made it his mission to introduce Estonian music to the world. He has conducted works by Rudolf Tobias, Artur Kapp, Heino Eller, Arvo Pärt, Eino Tamberg, Jaan Rääts, Veljo Tormis, Peeter Vähi and other Estonian composers − but first and foremost by Eduard Tubin with whom he closely collaborated artistically.

By today Neeme Järvi has re-established his contact with re-independent Estonia. In 2001, Neeme, the head of Järvi “Dynasty” together with his two sons, conductors Paavo and Kristjan, initiated the international conducting master classes in Pärnu which by today have grown into the Järvi Academy. Since 2010 Neeme Järvi has again been chief conductor and artistic director of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.

Download Neeme Järvi’s bio in Estonian (PDF, 1 page)
Download pictures: drawing by Heinz Valk (2014, jpg, 300 dpi, 7.5 MB), Neeme Järvi conducts Philips Symfonie Orkest at Glasperlenspiel Festival (2015, from the archives of ERP, jpg, 300 dpi, 9 MB)


Records released by ERP

100YearsOfEstonianSymphony107 Double CD 100 Years of Estonian Symphony
ERP 604

CD II #1, Arvo Pärt. Symphony No 3, fragment, 2 min 58 sec, mp3, 256 kbps

GreatMaestros1 107 CD Great Maestros I
Kalle Randalu (piano), Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven, Strauss
ERP 8916

R. Strauss. Festive Prelude, fragment, 3 min 25 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps

GreatMaestros2 107 CD Great Maestros II
Kalle Randalu (piano), Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven, Brahms
ERP 9016

Beethoven. Piano Concerto No 2, fragment, 3 min 57 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps

GreatMaestrosIII 107 CD Great Maestros III
Kalle Randalu (piano), Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven, Brahms
ERP 9416
GreatMaestrosIV 107 CD Great Maestros IV
Kalle Randalu (piano), Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven, Brahms
ERP 9516

Beethoven. Piano Concerto No 4, Movement III, live, fragment, 3 min 29 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps

GreatMaestrosV 107 CD Great Maestros V
Kalle Randalu (piano), Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven, Brahms
ERP 9616
GreatMaestrosVI 107 Double CD Great Maestros VI
Kalle Randalu (piano), Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Brahms, Britten, Mahler / Britten, Weber
ERP 9817-1 and ERP 9817-2

CD 2 #6, Weber. Jubel-Ouvertüre, fragment, 2 min 40 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps

GreatMaestrosVolX107 CD GREAT MAESTROS X
Kalle Randalu, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Mozart, R. Strauss
2019 ERP 10619
Kalle Randalu, Guido Gualandi, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Mozart, Brahms / Schönberg, Vähi
2019 ERP 10719
GreatMaestrosXII_107 CD GREAT MAESTROS XII   New!
Kalle Randalu, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Mozart, Hiob
2020 ERP 11120
Kalle Randalu, Elina Nechayeva, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Mozart, Vähi, Tobias
2020 ERP 11220
Enjoy video!
CD GREAT MAESTROS XVI  / Beethoven – 250
Kalle Randalu, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Mozart, Beethoven
2020 ERP 12020
CD GREAT MAESTROS XVII / Beethoven – 250
Kalle Randalu, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Schumann, Beethoven
2020 ERP 12120
Elina Nechayeva, Atlan Karp, State Choir Latvija, Estonian National Male Choir, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Brahms, Bruckner
2022 ERP 12622
Triin Ruubel, Age Juurikas, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven/Vähi, Hallik, Vähi, Beethoven
2023 ERP 13023
GreatMaestrosOSR107 Double CD GREAT MAESTROS
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Berlioz, Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Dvořák, Ravel
ERP 8615

CD 2 #12, Ravel. Boléro, fragment, 7 min 31 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps

ToivoNahkurNeemeJarvi107 CD Toivo Nahkur, Neeme Järvi
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Tchaikovsky, Beethoven
ERP 4410; ERP 4410-2

Tchaikovsky. Piano Concerto No 2, Mov I, fragment, 2 min 51 sec, mp3

Estonia100-107 11-CD-set Estonian National Opera 100 (Archive recordings)
Estonian National Opera, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Bolshoi Theatre (Moscow), Georg Ots, Kalju Karask, Teo Maiste, Urve Tauts, Margarita Voites, Tiit Kuusik, Mati Palm…
Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, Donizetti
ERP 906

CD 2 #17. Mozart. Le Nozze di Figaro, Figaro’s aria, fragment, Georg Ots, mono, 2 min 44 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps

ContraAutPro107 LP (vinyl) Contra aut pro? Archive recordings
Toomas Velmet (cello), Estonian Radio Symphony Orchestra
ERP 10017

Arvo Pärt. Cello Concerto Pro et contra, fragment, mono, 3 min 14 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps

ALegendOfEstonia107 DVD A Legend of Estonia
Georg Ots, Estonian National Opera
Verdi, Mozart
ERP 9216

Listen also to the live recordings of Neeme Järvi on the site
Enjoy also a recording from YouTube: Busoni's Violin Concerto


Media reviews

… Mahler’s Second Symphony under the direction of Neeme Järvi. It was also a pleasure to find the house filled. Even more, the audience was receptive and enthusiastic, evident in the ecstatic outburst near the end of the first movement. Järvi’s approach showed best in the first three movements, where he gave a solid reading of the score without resorting to sentimentality. His tempos were crisp, the balances refined to bring out contrapuntal passages with clarity, and the volume levels made use of the sudden changes and, when marked in the score, gradual shifts in intensity. (James L. Zychowicz, Seen and Heard International, 28.05.24, whole article)

Physically, the years have slowed Järvi a bit. /…/ Intellectually, musically, Järvi displayed all the acuity and imagination, the grace and precision I recall from those many seasons in Detroit. This was a detailed, commanding account of Mahler’s vast symphony, a grand canvas for large orchestra and chorus with solo soprano and mezzo-soprano. The work’s five movements, an 80-minute sprawl, tries the endurance and concentration of everyone on stage. And the huge finale, Mahler’s dramatically fraught but spiritually profound consummation, becomes the ultimate test. (Lawrence B. Johnson, Chicago on the Aisle, 28.05.24, USA, whole article)

Järvi directed the when-worlds-collide finale with a veteran’s ease, allowing space for the “last trumpet” fanfares and alarums to make atmospheric impact and handling the on- and offstage excursions of the extra brass players with unruffled aplomb. The hushed entrance of the chorus at “Auferstehen” was duly magical, glowing and textured, with soloist Mari Eriksmoen’s rich soprano soaring over the chorus. Cargill seemed more comfortable in the finale’s demands and sang with impressive dedication here as well. It is the epic finale that gives the “Resurrection” its name, and Järvi handle the contrasting elements fluently, inexorably building the movement to an imposing and majestic coda. The chorus, soloists, chiming bells, and eleven horns with bells up – a striking visual – made for a triumphant and uplifting coda, one that would have even the greatest skeptic looking for the nearest grave to leap into. (Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review; USA, whole article)

The concert opened with a piece by an Estonian composer Arvo Part. Jarvi led the 6-minute piece, Cantus in Memoriam of Benjamin Britten, back in his first season with the Garden State players 18 years ago, and he played it on Sunday with a similar flexibility as Tchaikovsky. A work of almost austere minimalism, Cantus features only strings and bells, opening with a slow, descending melody that repeats and repeats—almost like a trance. Instead of injecting it with Hans Zimmer-like tension, Jarvi let it breathe, letting the music resonate in a more liquid, natural way. /…/ This weekend’s concert reminded that Jarvi’s tenure with the New Jersey Symphony was a success. Reports from the years he led the band (2005 to 2009) suggest a good rapport and improved playing. Nowhere was this more clear than in the centerpiece of the concert, William Grant Still’s Symphony No 1. This 1930 work is called, Afro-American Symphony, and it was the first symphony written by an African-American composer to be performed by a leading U. orchestra. More importantly, it’s a great piece of music that is fun to hear — and no less enjoyable to play, it would seem for Jarvi. (James C. Taylor, NJ True Jersey, 27.03.23, USA, whole article)

… Chang’an Music Concert Hall in Xi’an hosted the 100th-anniversary opening concert of the Estonian “national treasure” conductor Maestro Neeme Järvi and the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra. /…/ Despite being 86 years old, Maestro Järvi exhibited unmatched energy as he led the orchestra through the music. The audience was treated to an unforgettable performance filled with emotion and intensity, culminating in applause from the fans. /…/ “The performance was really great. Master Järvi is still very energetic at the age of 86. It was worth it to return three times!” said one excited audience member. Others praised the acoustics of the concert hall, hailing the smooth and shocking performance of the entire orchestra. (Wang Ye, Breaking Latest News, 09.11.23, China, whole article)

The Beethoven concerto is perfectly conducted, with plenty of zest and spirit. The pianist is excellent, but of course he isn’t Sviatoslav Richter − but who is? /…/ That RCA recording will never be matched – but this one comes close, and if you don’t know that old recording you will find this new one outstanding. Both Strauss pieces are also superb. The organ in the Estonian Concert Hall in Tallinn doesn’t sound “new”, but it is probably close enough to what Strauss heard in Vienna when he led the premiere of the Festive Prelude in 1913. (Vroon, American Records Guide, Jan / Feb 2017, USA, whole article)

This release is part of Estonian Records’ Great Maestros series. I’m not sure if they plan to restrict themselves to Estonian conductors… Jarvi has an extensive discography, but Brahms has not played a large part in it. /…/ Not a bad recording, but neither is it a threat to your favorites. The Beethoven is more relaxed and romantic in spirit. Randalu is a fine Estonian pianist… His Beethoven is warm and shaped with very little suggestion of Mozart or Haydn. I particularly like his (and Jarvi’s) ability to make this a lovely, solid piece rather than just an example of early Beethoven with rococo tendencies! So, a mixed verdict. An enjoyable concerto, where the classical Beethoven piece is given a warm romantic performance, juxtaposed with a tragically romantic symphony of Brahms, which gets a straight, classical reading. (Althouse, American Records Guide, Jan / Feb 2017, USA, whole article)

… kontsertsalvestused. Ulatuslikud teosed salvestatakse sellisena, nagu nad kõlavad kontserdil, järeltöötlusena tehakse vaid üksikud parandused. Plaadile võib jääda mõne pillimehe kerge vääratus (eksimine on inimlik, see ei pruugi tähendada professionaalsuse või musikaalsuse puudumist), köhatus publiku hulgast, aplaus, braavo-hüüded ja kontserdi üldine eluline atmosfäär. Maestro Järvi eelistab viimastel aegadel just viimatinimetatud live-varianti koos sellega kaasneva loomulikkuse ja inimlikkusega. Ka mina armastan enam kontsertplaadistusi, sest tahan nautida eelkõige orkestri esitust ja dirigendipoolset muusika tõlgitsust, mitte imetleda seda, kuivõrd täiuslik arvutiprogramm on parajasti olnud kasutada helirežissööril ning kui palju stuudioaega on plaadifirma suvatsenud kulutada esitusvigade kõrvaldamiseks. Neeme Järvi ja ERSO plaadistusi tehes oleme selles küsimuses saavutanud suurepärase üksteisemõistmise ka Eesti hetkel küll vist parima klassikalise muusika helirežissööri Tanel Klesmentiga. Live – see on puhas tõde, stuudio − see on suures osas pettus! (Peeter Vähi, Postimees, 07.06.17, Estonia, whole article)

Viimane osa “Õhtusöök” on Järvi poolt lavastatud meisterlikult ja teatraalselt, värvikate muusikaliste stseenidena, Kirevate karakterite kaleidoskoobis on nii tantsulisust kui ka muusikalist huumorit, aga ka pisut groteski ning buffonaadlikku joviaalsust. Meeldejääv esitus! (Igor Garšnek, Muusika, 11 / 2019, Estonia)

See also other conductors represented by ERP.