Eri Klas (07.06.1939 – 26.02.2016), Chief Conductor of the Theatre in 2006–2011 , is an outstanding modern conductor, a People's Artist of the USSR, a professor. Upon graduation from the Tallinn Conservatory (G. Ernesaks class) in 1964, Eri Klas became a trainee at the Leningrad Conservatory (with N. Rabinovich) and at the Bolshoi Theatre (with B. Khaikin). Eri Klas began his conducting career at the Estonia Opera and Ballet Theatre (where he worked for 30 years, for 20 of which being the music director and the chief conductor) and for 10 years he collaborated with the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The maestro was also Chief Conductor of the Royal Opera House in Stockholm, Danish Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. Eri Klas has been working with over 100 symphony orchestras from 40 countries of the world, including the philharmonic orchestras of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Sydney, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, and Montreal.
Mr. Klas devoted much of his time to teaching young musicians. He conducted youth orchestras of Scandinavia, Ireland, the USA and Asia, touring with them all over the world. Between 1993 and 1997 Mr. Klas was also a professor of conducting at the Sibelius Academy and since 1997 has held the same position with the Estonian Music Academy
Mr. Klas was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Estonian Music Academy and other prizes of Estonia, Sweden and Finland. He was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Chairman of the Estonian Cultural Foundation. He held an Order of Friendship for his contribution in strengthening cultural links with Russia.
Currently, Eri Klas was the Artistic Director of the Tallinn Philharmonic in Estonia and Principal Guest Conductor of the Finnish National Opera.
In 2003, Eri Klas started working with the Novaya Opera Theatre, where he conducted productions and concerts comprised of compositions by Verdi, Strauss, Wagner, Mascagni, and Mahler. The premiere of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte in March 2006 (Eri Klas was the music director and conductor of the production) opened up a new stage in the maestro's collaboration with the Novaya Opera Theatre: he was appointed the Chief Conductor of the theatre. In September 2006, Eri Klas conducted the world premiere of the symphony fantasy Meisterzinger. Orchestral Tribute, based on Wagner's opera (compilation and arrangement by Henk de Vlieger). Eri Klas was the music director of the Novaya Opera productions of Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia and Strauss' Die Fledermaus. He has also conducted Opera&Jazz musical show, Orff's scenic cantata Carmina Burana and Verdi's Il trovatore in concert.
The Novaya Opera Theatre deeply regrets to announce that Eri Klas
, Peoples Artist of USSR, has died at the age of 76. The death of the great conductor is a great loss to music, musicians, opera goers, spectators… Learn more…