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Eri Klas Edit Profile

conductor , music educator

Eri Klas, Estonian conductor. Decorated Order of Nordsternier, Sweden. Chairman board Estonia National Cultural Foundation, since 1991.


Klas, Eri was born on June 7, 1939 in Tallinn, Estonia.


Student, Tallinn State Conservatory. Student, Leningrad State Conservatory. Doctor (honorary), Estonian Academy of Music, 1994.


Klas mainly worked in the Nordic scene since, but might be best known for his work leading the defunct Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra. He premiered Alfred Schnittke's 1st Cello Concerto (Munich Philharmonic, 1986) and Peer Gynt ballet (Hamburg State Opera, 1989), and worked on the diffusion of the Estonian symphonic repertory. He was also active as a pedagogue, holding professorships at the Sibelius Academy (1993–97) and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (1997 until his death), where he received an honorary doctorate.

He was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.


  • Klas was decorated with the Order of the Lion of Finland (1992, on the occasion of Finland's 75th Independence Day) and the Order of the White Star. In 1986, he was named a People's Artist of the USSR. An Estonian lightweight junior boxing champion, he was also a member of the Estonian Olympic Committee.


  • Other Work

    • Conductor numerous operas, operettas, museum, ballets. Conductor symphony orchestras in 25 countries.


Chairman board Estonia National Cultural Foundation, since 1991.