With generous phrasing and great vigor but without sentimentality, she gave new life to an overplayed symphony. The Royal Philharmonic played with gusto, to well-deserved fanfare. Svenska Dagbladet Whether in orchestral concerts or leading operatic performances, the young Finnish conductor Eva Ollikainen impresses audiences with her clear communication, infectious enthusiasm and her elegant and nuanced technique.
In the 2018/19 season she has made her debut with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and at the Royal Danish Opera with Turandot. She also returned to the Wiener Symphoniker, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and to the Semperoper for Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Upcoming debuts include the Malmö Opera Orchestra, Bochum Symphony and Staatskapelle Halle.
She has recently been appointed Music Director and Artistic Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra beginning in the 20/21 season, and has served as Principal Conductor of the Nordic Chamber Orchestra based in Swedish Sundsvall since September 2018.
She decided to pursue a career in conducting while still a young student at the Sibelius Academy, where she studied with Leif Segerstam and Jorma Panula and also trained as a pianist. At the age of 21 she won the international Jorma Panula Conducting Competition and subsequently worked with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Kurt Masur, as well as the Philharmonia Orchestra and Christoph von Dohnányi as part of the Conducting Academy of the Allianz Cultural Foundation. Also influential was the instruction she received from Bernard Haitink and Herbert Blomstedt as a Conducting Fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center. Eva Ollikainen has subsequently developed a comprehensive repertoire with a focus on the great German symphonies, and has been working with leading international orchestras including the Staatskapelle Dresden, Wiener Symphoniker, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Lahti Symphony and Brussels Philharmonic. Ollikainen also recently conducted the Magic Flute for the Royal Swedish Opera and Carmen for the Gothenburg Opera.