Happy 75 th Birthday To Estonian Maestro Neeme Jarvi !
Today is the 75th birthday of the eminent Estonian conductor Neeme Jarvi (Nay-meh Yair-vee) , who has achieved international acclaim not only for the excellence of his performances but his tireless efforts to give obscure but desrervng works by a wide variety of composers a hearing ,including those of his native Estonia , a former Soviet republic on the Baltic sea which is now an independent nation .
After studies in his native Estonia and in St.Petersburg when it was called leningrad , Jarvi held positions with the opera company of Talinn,capital of Estonia , and conducted concerts and opera in Leiningrad and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union . But he left the Soviet Union around 1979 and settled in America , while pursuing an international career with such leading orchestras as the Gothenburg symphony of Sweden, the Royal National Scottish orchestra , the Detroit symphpony and New Jersey symphony as music director , as well as those of London, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen , Geneva, Munich , all over America and elsewhere . Jarvi is about to become music director of the Suisse Romande orchestra in Geneva, one of Switzerland's best-known orchestras .
Few conductors have ever had a repertoire as wide-ranging and eclectic as jarvi's . As an Estonian , he naturally has a great flair for the music of Scandinavian composers Sibelius,Nielsen Greig and lesser-known ones from this area , and is the first conductor to bring the music of his native Estonia, which has a surprisingly rich musical tradition to international exposure . Before Jarvi, hardly any one had heard of composers such as Eduard Tubin (1905 - 1982 ) or others whose music he has performed and recorded , not to mention the music of Arvo part (1935 -) whose music is now quite well known internationally .
Jarvi is also one of the finest interpreters of such great Russian composers as Prokofiev, Shostakovich , Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin ,Tchaikovsky, etc and has also championed the very interesting music of such lesser-known Russian composers as Sergei Taneyev, Mily Balakirev, Nikolai Myaskovsky and others . When he became music director of the Detroit symphony some years ago , he became interested in American composers and performed and recorded music by such once well-known but long forgotten composers as George Whitefield Chadwick , William Grant Still ( one of the first African-American composers to achieve any success ) , and others .
There seems to be no limit to Jarvi's musical curiosity . He does conduct the familiar masterpieces of the orchestral repertoire but has never been content to confine himself to these . Jarvi has made numerous recordings of of-fbeat and standard repertoire for such leading record labels as Deutsche Grammophon, Chandos of England and BIS of Sweden . He has also conducted opera at the Met , the San Francisco opera and elsewhere . He has made acclaied recordings of such rarely heard operas as Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa , Carl Nielsen's Biblical opera Saul and David and Prokofiev's the fiery Angel , and Rachmaninov's three brief one-act operas .
Neeme Jarvi is also the proud father of two sons, Paavo and Krystian, who have also made international careers as conductors . Paavo Jarvi has just stepped down as music director of the Cincinnati symphony, and is currecntly music director of the Orchestre de Paris and the Frankfurt Radio symphony .
The elder Jarvi has put concertgoers and classical CD collectors all over the world in debt for his tireless efforts to widen the repertoire of orchestral and operatic music . Happy birthday,maestro ! As many great conductors have lived to a ripe old age without retiring until the very end , let''s all wish the maestro many more years before the public adn hope for many more recordings of off-beat and intriguing works .