Yan Pascal Tortelier

Recently appointed Principal Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra beginning in the 2016-17 season, Yan Pascal Tortelier enjoys a distinguished career as guest conductor of the world’s leading orchestras. He began his musical career as a violinist and, at fourteen, won first prize for violin at the Paris Conservatory, making his debut as a soloist with the London Philharmonic shortly afterward. Following general musical studies with Nadia Boulanger, Mr. Tortelier studied conducting with Franco Ferrara at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, and from 1974 to 1983 he was Associate Conductor of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. Further positions since then have included principal conductor and artistic director of the Ulster Orchestra (1989 to 1992) and principal guest conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony (2005 to 2008). He was also principal conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra from 2009 to 2011, and he currently holds the position of Guest Conductor of Honor, in which capacity he returns regularly to lead the orchestra. Following his work as chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic between 1992 and 2003, including annual appearances at the BBC Proms and a tour of the US to celebrate the orchestra's 60th anniversary season, he was given the title of Conductor Emeritus; he continues to work with the orchestra regularly. He also holds the position of Principal Guest Conductor at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Highlights of the 2015-16 season and beyond include return visits to North America to conduct the orchestras of Pittsburgh, Dallas, Montreal, Saint Louis, and Baltimore. Further afield, he returns to lead the Bournemouth Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Stavanger Symphony, as well as the Melbourne  and Adelaide symphonies, and Hong Kong Philharmonic. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 1998. 

Yan Pascal Tortelier has enjoyed a long association with Chandos Records, resulting in an extensive catalogue of recordings, notably with the BBC Philharmonic and Ulster Orchestra, and including award-winning cycles of the orchestral music of Debussy, Ravel (featuring his own orchestration of Ravel's Piano Trio), Franck, Roussel, and Dutilleux. He has also conducted acclaimed discs of repertory ranging from Hindemith and Kodály to Lutosławski and Karłowicz. Recent releases for Chandos include the Ravel piano concertos coupled with Debussy’s Fantaisie, with pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, a disc of works by Florent Schmitt with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and an all-Stravinsky disc with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.

(October 2015)