KRISTJAN JÄRVI was born in Tallinn, Estonia, in 1972 and moved with his family to New York when he was a small boy. He first studied piano and participated in courses and masterclasses given by Tatiana Nikolayeva t the Mozarteum in Salzburg, and Victor Derevianko and Arle Vardi in Israel. He completed his piano studies with Nina Svetlanova at the Manhattan School of Music before going on to study ocnducitng at the University of Michigan with Kenneth Kiesler.
Drawing from his inherited and adopted cultures, his musical tastes are extremely eclectic. He is a keen advocate of contemporary music and has already conducted over 50 premieres by emerging international composers including Erkki-Sven Tüür, Charles Ezequiel Viñao, Chris Theofanidis and Udo Kasemets.
He is the founder and Music Director of Absolute Ensemble, formed five years ago and based in New York. Their repertoire ranges from pre-renaissance to rock and they have performed in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Markin Concet Hall in New York. He also established a chamber music concert series entitled Music in a Chamber at Kostabi World, New York. In March 1998 he successfully auditioned for the position of Assistant Conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which he took up at the start of the 1998/99 season.
Kristjan frequently performs in Scandinavia and has appeared with the Gothenburg Symhony Orchestra, the Estonian Chamber Orchestra, the Pärnu Sinfonietta and the Symphony Orchestra of the Estonian Academy of Music. He has also appeared at the Eduard Tubin International and RAE Music Festivals. In 1997 he worked with, among others, the Vanemuine Opera Orchestra in Tartu, Estonia, and the Västerås Sinfonietta in Sweden. He also gave a premiere performance of Supreme Silence by Peeter Vähi with the Estonian National Male Choir at the NYYD 1997 International New Music Festival in Tallinn, Estonia; he recording of the work was released in September 1998. Engagements in 1998 included the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at the Bravo! Colorado Vail Valley Music Festival and a tour of Estonia with the Absolute Ensemble. During the 1998/99 he appeared with the Turku Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestras. In August 1999 he will conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.