Finn, 22, wins top job

Finn, 22, wins top job


norman lebrecht

May 12, 2022

The new music and artistic director of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra is to be the fast-rising Finn Tarmo Peltokoski.

Indra Lūkina, the orchestra’s General Manager, says: ‘There are many talented young conductors all around the world, and, in previous seasons, we invited several of them to take the podium of the LNSO in search of the orchestra’s next Music and Artistic Director. In January 2022, Tarmo Peltokoski arrived in Riga from Finland, and already on the second day of rehearsals it was clear that he was the one we were looking for! He captivated the musicians with his compelling musical ideas and delighted them with his intelligent respect for the music and those performing it – working together was a real treat. Four months after our first meeting, we are very pleased to announce that, as of the 2022/2023 season, Tarmo Peltokoski will be the Music and Artistic Director of the LNSO. We are looking forward to a vibrant and eventful journey into the world of music!’


  • Max says:

    Talent is a major factor in being a good and inspiring conductor, but a minor component in being a capable music director of a national institution.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      I know nothing about Tarmo Peltokoski, and wish him nothing but the best. But for me personally, I’m not interested in hearing “young exciting new conductors.” I’m interested in hearing old, experienced, mature, conductors who brings years of on-the-job training, musical wisdom (which no 22 year old possesses), and the insights of a full life into their music-making. I’m not saying it’s not possible to hear a great performance from someone in their 20s. But I’ve heard a lot more great performances from conductors in their 60s, 70s, and 80s.

      So yes, I’m guilty of ageism. I like my conductors (and musicians in general) not young.

      • FrauGeigerin says:

        I could not agree more with Herr Doktor. Unfortunately we live in a world where people go to concert to “watch” the concert not to “hear” it. That means that sex, colour, age, and the “show” that the conductor delivers on the podium are an important factor. Conductors who give the orchestra what it needs to deliver a good performance, but do not jump in front of the orchestra like a monkey on steroids are not interesting, not exciting… and if they are white European middle-age men they are just plain old boring stuff.

      • Mouse says:

        The fact that musicians and people in general have a life expectancy of 60, 70 or even 80 is definitely an achievement of recent times, similar to the CD player.

        So be thankful to live in these times (incl. SD) and not in the times of Mozart. You would have died before you ever heard a sound acceptable for you.


    • MacroV says:

      They can have other, more experienced people plan programming and strategy. But not many other people can stand up there and wave the stick.

  • Kman says:

    He was named Principal Guest Conductor of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen earlier this year. Surely Paavo Jarvi knows what’s up.

  • Achim Mentzel says:

    This looks like a penis comparison by agencies, along the lines of “I’m going to show you how it’s done and get a major job for an even younger conductor than one of yours.“ Interesting which agency will introduce soon the first underage music director. Completely ridiculous.

  • just saying says:

    Man, there must be something in the water in the Finland to keep churning out so many world-class musicians and conductors…

  • Jon says:

    He looks like he’s 12.

  • Gerry Feinsteen says:

    Hold your horses = be stable.

  • JB says:

    Not another bloody Finn!

  • Peter San Diego says:

    I look forward to hearing him next season, when he comes to lead the San Diego Symphony in a Saariaho-Mozart-Sibelius program.

  • Julien says:

    We had exactly the same kind of reactions on this blog with Rouvali and Makela (boy conductor, ridiculous…).
    And like for the others, you will see in the next years how wrong you were.
    It seems to be a very smart choice from him, his agency and the orchestra. Latvian National Symphony Orchestra is for sure a good place to make beautiful music, but not an exposed top World orchestra.
    If they want him, how you can deny the desire of the musicians and the administration to work with him.
    Yes, old conductors, it is good for an orchestra, but you don’t have hundred Blomstedt around the World.
    His debuts with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France last week were impressive.
    This kind of choice could be horrible with a top orchestra and overrated conductor like Bringuier in Tonhalle Zürich.
    But for sure, it’s not the case here.

  • MPMcGrath says:

    Good. Give young people the jobs! Just like the Finnish PM and President Zelensky, among others, have shown: Youth has numerous advantages over crabby, entrenched old white men and women (Frau Merkel vs Frau Baerbock).
    And so what if this young Finn doesn’t have the seemingly thousands of years of experience of a Muti, Barenboim et al. I for one welcome the new generations energy, creativity and new approaches.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    OK, good for him, young blood blah blah blah, but what would have been wrong with a Kapellmeister position in a good house for a few years to develop the Handwerk, learn and perform symphonic and operatic repertoire and generally find out how it all works?

    Herr Doktor, above, nails it.

    • Achim Mentzel says:

      Of course nothing would be wrong, on the contrary it would make this profession what it had been in the good old days. But Kapellmeister and Handwerk isn‘t these days fancy, you can‘t fill your Instagram with exciting pictures from business class travels and your agent can‘t earn that much commission from such an appointment to eat at Michelin star restaurants. And above all, in the pit, you are almost invisible for hours, while conducting a symphony the entire public is watching 95 % of the time your self-exposing.

  • PianistW says:

    I like my conductors how I like my senior cardiologist consultants: experienced, mature, and over 45.

  • John Dor says:

    I’ve played with him in Finland. Absolutely nothing special. Neither specifically exciting artistic qualities, nor strong technical abilities. No competitions behind. Seemingly, another political appointment.