Neeme Järvi is to return to his hometown in Estonia to be music director of the orchestra that launched his career. The Tallinn-born conductor is to take up the baton of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra in 2010, taking over from Russian conductor Nikolai Alexeev. Järvi was previously music director of the Estonian orchestra from 1963-79.
The 72-year-old Järvi, who recently left his post at the New Jersey Symphony in the US after a four-year stint at the helm, left Estonia with his family in 1980. Building a career in the US, notably as conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, he often programmed music by Estonian composers, including Arvo Pärt and Eduard Tubin, that was forbidden by the ruling Soviet authorities in his home country.
‘The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra is the flagship of Estonian music and culture,’ says Järvi to the Agence France-Presse. ‘I am really moved to return in front of the orchestra where my career started.’