Paavo Järvi’s first season with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich will be devoted to his Nordic roots. Estonia, Russia, Finland, Latvia and Sweden are the countries which will be the principal musical destinations of the 2019/20 season which opens on 2 October with Sibelius’ Kullervo, featuring guest artists Johanna Rusanen (Soprano) Ville Rusanen (Baritone) and the Estonian National Choir.

The new occupant of the Creative Chair will be Estonian composer, Erkki-Sven Tüür, who this year celebrates his 60th birthday and the In Focus series will also feature the talents of Nordic artists, including appearances by Martin Fröst, Pekka Kuusisto and Ksenija Sidorova, both with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich under Järvi’s baton and in chamber music ensembles.

A major focus of the first season will be the complete symphonies of Tchaikovsky which Paavo and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich will perform and record live in concert. Having grown up under Soviet occupation in Tallinn, Russian music was a major part of the cultural landscape for Paavo in his youth. “Tchaikovsky was virtually a saint,” he commented. “There were several gurus who specified how he should be played.”