The current chief conductor of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, Hannu Lintu (b. 1967), has been a regular performer at Gulbenkian Music in recent years, conducting around twenty concerts by the Gulbenkian Orchestra to both public and critical acclaim. This season he led the Orchestra for the Portuguese premiere of Thomas Adès’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra as part of a program that includes Gustav Mahler’s The Song of the Earth. In May of next year, he will again conduct the Gulbenkian Orchestra in a program totally dedicated to Dmitri Shostakovich.
Gulbenkian conductor Risto Nieminen declared Hannu Lintu to be “a conductor of the highest level who has established a close relationship with the Gulbenkian Orchestra ever since his debut in the Foundation’s Grand Auditorium in March 2016. The Orchestra has excelled under Hannu Lintu’s baton and I’m therefore certain that he will usher in a very exciting and promising new era.”
On his appointment, Lintu stated: “I have been working and performing with the Orquestra Gulbenkian for years and each concert has been very enjoyable. The atmosphere and concentration are impressive and the music is always rewarding. The Grand Auditorium and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation as a whole offer a unique and inspiring environment for music and art. I’m looking forward to many seasons of incredible experiences with the wonderful Gulbenkian Orchestra and Choir.”
Lintu took up the position of chief conductor at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet after eight years leading the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
With the Finnish National Opera and Ballet he has stood out for an operatic repertoire, directing productions of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde in 2016, Sibelius’s Kullervo in 2017, Berg’s Wozzeck in 2019, and Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos in 2020. He received renewed acclaim last season for the operas Salome by Strauss and Billy Budd by Britten, and this season is conducting The Ring cycle by Wagner.
As regards his international agenda, this season Lintu will make his debut as conductor of the New York Philharmonic and Atlanta Symphony Orchestras with other concerts scheduled with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra and Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Lintu has made various recordings for the labels Ondine, Bis, Naxos, Avie, and Hyperion, picking up various awards along the way, including two ICMAs for Béla Bartók’s Concerts for Violin with Christian Tetzlaff (2019) and for his recording of works by Sibelius with Anne Sofie von Otter (2018). In 2021, his performances of Lutosławski’s Symphonies No. 2 and No. 3 were nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Orchestral Performance” category. In 2011, he also received a Grammy nomination for Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Kaivos in the “Best Opera CD” category. His recordings of George Enescu’s Symphony No. 2, with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, and Concerts for Violin by Sibelius and Adès, with Augustin Hadelich and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, were nominated for the Gramophone awards.
Lintu studied cello and piano at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, from which he later graduated in conducting under Jorma Panula. He also studied under Myung-Whun Chung at the L’Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena. In 1994, he won first prize in the Nordic Conducting Competition in Bergen.