With the Pärnu Music Festival Paavo Järvi creates competition for Europe … This is highly concentrated music making (from the Estonian Festival Orchestra), all the details are worked out: the ping pong of accents between violins and horns, antiphons between the woodwind groups, targeted focus curves in the second violins. Nothing is sweeping, nothing sleepy and nothing washed away.
Jan Brachmann, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Pärnu: What many festivals dream of achieving is self-evident here… The central mentors are Neeme and Paavo Järvi, father and son. The Järvi Academy offers conducting masterclasses to students from around the world and the Estonian Festival Orchestra, a new first class ensemble, brings together professional musicians from the whole of Europe and top players from Estonia, creating a musical entity which was received with standing ovations for their performances of Sibelius, Nielsen and Shostakovich: pure astonishment for this extraordinary collective music making … in an atmosphere of fun, openness and curiosity.
Ursula Magnes, Klassik Radio

Where would you go to hear the most electrifying and collegial orchestral playing in the world? It used to be Lucerne while Claudio Abbado was alive. Now that the Lucerne Festival Orchestra has become like any classy superband, the answer is Pärnu in the south of Estonia. … The jewel in the Pärnu festival crown is the heady mix of top western and Estonian players in what after five years has now become the Estonian Festival Orchestra … I have never, anywhere, heard an orchestral unison that bore through the body like this one at the start (of Shostakovich’s Sixth Symphony). Climaxes raised the roof, but precisely; the maverick structure whereby two far from light scherzos follow one long slow movement struck home.
David Nice, The Arts Desk

Paavo Järvi is swiftly bringing the Festival Orchestra into great shape, conducting Haydn with eloquent temperament and Shostakovich with burning intensity; the fabulous orchestra is seated on the edge of their seats and spreads infectious enthusiasm … In Pärnu, the special charm of the festival’s musical intoxication is the co-existence of international top-class and young musicians, from the unpretentious approachability of the stars and the enthusiastic echo it creates, which is felt in both the concerts and open rehearsals …”
Regine Müller, Rheinische Post