Neeme Järvi

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Neeme Järvi at the XXV. Estonian Song Festival 2009

Neeme Järvi (born June 7, 1937 in Tallinn ) is a conductor born in Estonia . He has been a US citizen since 1987.


Time in Estonia until 1980

Neeme Järvi studied drums and choral conducting at the Tallinn Music School and from 1955 to 1960 conducting at the Leningrad Conservatory with Rabinovich and Mrawinsky . From 1963 to 1979 he was musical director of the Estonian Radio Radio Symphony Orchestra, which was renamed Eesti Riiklik Sümfooniaorkester (ERSO) in 1975 . From 1966 he was also head director of the Estonian Opera House. In 1971 he won the competition of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. In addition to his guest appearances with all major orchestras in the Soviet Union , especially the Leningrad Philharmonic , with whom he performed in the USA, invitations to Western Europe, North and Central America and Japan followed. From 1977 Järvi also conducted at the opera houses in Buenos Aires , Rio de Janeiro and at the Metropolitan Opera .

Time in the West since 1980

In January 1980 Järvi emigrated to New Jersey in the USA , from where he subsequently made guest appearances with all the major orchestras in North America. In 1982 he became chief conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra , a post he held until 2004 and which represents the longest tenure of a single conductor with the orchestra. Thanks to industry sponsors, the orchestra grew from 80 to 110 members. In addition, he took over the direction of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra from 1984 to 1988, and of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 1990 to 2005 . Until 2009 he was music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and until 2011 of the Residentie Orkest Den Haag .

In 2010 Järvi took over the Eesti Riiklik Sümfooniaorkester (ERSO) again. Despite his declared resignation in November 2010 due to insufficient subsidies, he remained its artistic director. From 2011 he was also artistic director of the Orchester de la Suisse Romande and its chief conductor from 2012 to 2015.


Neeme Järvi and his wife Liilia have three children. Her two sons, Paavo (* 1962) and Kristjan (* 1972), are also conductors. The daughter Maarika Järvi (* 1964) is a flautist.

Recording activity

With well over 400 recordings, Järvi is one of the conductors with the most recordings. No other conductor has made so many unknown works available on phonograms . He earned services to unknown romantic and moderately modern repertoire . He has contracts with record labels such as the Swedish BIS Records and the British Chandos Records .


  • Julian Caskel: Järvi, Neeme . In: Julian Caskel, Hartmut Hein (Hrsg.): Handbuch Dirigenten. 250 portraits . Bärenreiter, Kassel 2015, ISBN 978-3-7618-2174-9 , pp. 212-214.

Web links

Commons : Neeme Järvi  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Järvis declaration of resignation
  2. Portrait of Järvis at ERSO