With a “scrupulous ear for instrumental color and blend” (Washington Post) and a flair for “a distinctive dynamism on the podium” (Baltimore Sun), Hannu Lintu begins his tenure as chief conductor of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet.
The appointment follows a series of hugely successful collaborations with the company, including Tristan und Isolde in 2016, Sibelius’ Kullervo in 2017, Berg’s Wozzeck in 2019 and Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos in 2020, and reflects Lintu’s shifting focus into the field of opera. Last season commenced with Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci. Future productions will include the majority of the house’s rescheduled Ring Cycle, which will resume with Die Walküre in fall 2022.
Lintu recently completed his eighth and final season as the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s chief conductor. Highlights included Schumann’s Faust Szenen, Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust and the second-ever FRSO Festival, devoted in 2019 to new and large-scale works by Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg.
In the upcoming 2021-22 season, Lintu makes his highly anticipated debut with Opéra National de Paris, conducting Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer. Lintu also regularly conducts at the Savonlinna Festival, most recently for productions of Verdi’s Otello (2018) and Sallinen’s Kullervo (in 2017, as part of Finland’s centenary celebrations).
Guest highlights of the 2021-22 season include returns to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich, Gulbenkian Orchestra and Tampere Philharmonic. Lintu also guest conducts the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, National Symphony Orchestra Taiwan, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Russian National Philharmonic Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.
Recent engagements include debuts with the Chicago and Boston symphony orchestras, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich and returns to the Baltimore, St. Louis and Cincinnati symphony orchestras, New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra and NDR Elbphilharmonie.
Lintu has made several recordings for Ondine, BIS, Naxos, Avie and Hyperion; recent releases include the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos with Stephen Hough, Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten and Violin Concerto with Leila Josefowicz, Lutoslawski’s Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4 and Nos. 2 & 3 and works by Kaija Saariaho with Gerald Finley and Xavier de Maistre, all of which feature Lintu’s principal recording partner, the FRSO.
Lintu has received several accolades for his recordings, including two International Classical Music Awards for Bartók’s Violin Concertos with Christian Tetzlaff (2019) and works by Sibelius featuring Anne Sofie von Otter (2018), a 2021 Grammy nomination in the best orchestral performance category for his recording of Lutoslawski’s Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3, a 2011 Grammy nomination for best opera CD (Rautavaara’s Kaivos), and Gramophone Award nominations for his recordings of Enescu’s Symphony No. 2 with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and the Violin Concertos of Sibelius and Thomas Adès with Augustin Hadelich and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
Lintu studied cello and piano at the Sibelius Academy, where he later studied conducting with Jorma Panula. He participated in master classes with Myung-Whun Chung at the L’Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and took first prize at the Nordic Conducting Competition in Bergen in 1994.