The appointment, spanning 3 years from 2019, will see Letonja continuing an artistic association with the orchestra, returning to Tasmania for at least 3 weeks annually, to conduct orchestral and operatic concerts.
In his role as Conductor Laureate the TSO will continue to benefit from Letonja’s strong international connections, particularly with some of the world’s most recognised operatic stars. He was instrumental in securing Swedishdramatic soprano Nina Stemme - widely regarded as the greatest Wagnerian soprano of her era - for the TSO’s 2016 concert performance in Hobart of Wagner’sTristan und Isolde, which won a Helpmann Award for ‘Best Symphony Orchestra Concert’. As Conductor Laureate Letonja will provide expert advice on repertoire and concepts for the TSO’s annual ‘Opera in Concert’ performances, which have been a hallmark of his engagement.
TSO Managing Director Nicholas Heyward said, ‘Marko’s charismatic conducting style and excellence in repertoire selection have forged a remarkable connection with both the orchestra and our audience. He has led some of the most vibrant and exciting programs in our history and brought out a new level of cohesion and technical ability from our outstanding players. We are thrilled that we can extend our relationship with Marko beyond his Chief Conductor engagement, and continue to benefit from his talents and reputation. We are particularly pleased that we can reflect his importance to the TSO with the new title of Conductor Laureate.’
Letonja made his debut with the TSO in 2009, taking up the role of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director in 2012. Born in Slovenia, he studied at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana and the Vienna Academy of Music. He has worked with many orchestras in Europe including the Munich Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Berlin Radio Orchestra, as well as in many renowned opera houses including the Vienna State Opera, Berlin State Opera and La Scala Milan. In addition to his role with the TSO, Letonja continues to serve as Chief Conductor of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, a position he has also held since 2012.
After an extensive international search the TSO will announce a new Chief Conductor and Artistic Director in the near future, whose engagement will commence in 2020.
Marko Letonja conducts the TSO in Fauré Requiem, August 4. His final concert as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director is the Opera in ConcertRoméo et Juliette October 20.