Maestro moves north: Iceland unanimously votes for Frenchman

Maestro moves north: Iceland unanimously votes for Frenchman


norman lebrecht

October 06, 2015

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has named Yan Pascal Tortelier as chief conductor from September 2016 by a unanimous decision of the musicians’ committee.

He succeeds the Israeli Ilan Volkov, whose term ended last year.

Tortelier has been artistic director of the Ulster Orchestra (1989-1992), principal conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (2009-2011) and chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic (1992-2003).



From the press release:

Of his appointment, Mr Tortelier said: “I am delighted and moved to be asked to become the Chief Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and am flattered and happy to discover that the musicians committee voted unanimously to offer it to me. I enjoy a really good chemistry with the players and, of course, the new hall is a spectacular plus. I love making music with an orchestra that is so receptive. I have agreed to assume the position for three years and to become, dare I say, a figurehead for the orchestra at a thrilling time in its history. We will work together to continue the orchestra’s development during this period, as well as to achieve my very clear and specific mission: to reach out to audiences worldwide and share with them the extraordinary talent and musicianship of this orchestra.”

He adds: “It is a happy coincidence that the Iceland Symphony Orchestra has recorded for Chandos, as I have been a Chandos artist for 25 years now. I look forward to recording with them for the label, as well as undertaking international orchestral touring projects in the seasons ahead.


  • Valdemar Pálsson says:

    Tortelier is a really versatile and sympathetic conductor. Great news!