Hannu Lintu © Veikko Kähkönen

Hannu Lintu


With a “scrupulous ear for instrumental color and blend” (Washington Post) and bringing “a distinctive dynamism to the podium” (Baltimore Sun), Hannu Lintu enters his seventh year as Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in the 2019/20 season. Highlights include Schumann’s Faust Szenen, Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust and the second-ever FRSO Festival – devoted in 2019 to new and large-scale works by national composer Magnus Lindberg. Among the season’s featured soloists are Gerald Finley, Soile Isokoski, Igor Levit and Martin Grubinger, the latter joining the orchestra on tour for performances at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Bratislava and Ascona Festivals and in Verona in autumn 2019. In May 2020 Lintu and the FRSO travel to Japan; alongside soloists Seong-Jin Cho and Ryu Goto, they appear at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall and in Nagoya and Osaka.

In May 2019 Lintu was appointed Chief Conductor of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, a role which he commences in January 2022 shortly after his eighth and final season as the FRSO’s Chief Conductor. The appointment follows a series of hugely successful collaborations with the company – including Tristan und Isolde in 2016, Sibelius’s Kullervo in 2017 and Berg’s Wozzeck in spring 2019; he also conducts Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos in January-February 2020 – and reflects Lintu’s shifting focus into the field of opera. Lintu also regularly conducts at the Savonlinna Festival, most recently for productions of Verdi’s Otello (2018) and Sallinen’s Kullervo (in 2017, as part of Finland’s centenary celebrations).

Guest highlights of the 2019/20 season include returns to the Boston and Detroit symphony orchestras, Orchestre de Paris (following an acclaimed debut in 2018), Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra; Lintu also debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich. Recent engagements include debuts with the Boston Symphony and Hungarian National Philharmonic orchestras and returns to the Baltimore, St Louis and Cincinnati symphony orchestras, New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra and NDR Elbphilharmonie.

Lintu has made several recordings for Ondine, BIS, Naxos, Avie and Hyperion; recent releases include Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten and Violin Concerto with Leila Josefowicz, Lutoslawski’s Symphonies Nos. 1 and 4, and works by Kaija Saariaho with Gerald Finley and Xavier de Maistre, all of which feature Lintu’s principal recording partner, the FRSO. Lintu has received several accolades for his recordings, including two ICMA awards for Bartók’s Violin Concertos with Christian Tetzlaff (2019) and works by Sibelius featuring Anne Sofie von Otter (2018), a 2011 GRAMMY nomination for Best Opera CD (Rautavaara’s Kaivos), and Gramophone Award nominations for his recordings of Enescu’s Symphony No.2 with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and the Violin Concertos of Sibelius and Thomas Adès with Augustin Hadelich and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Lintu studied cello and piano at the Sibelius Academy, where he later studied conducting with Jorma Panula. He participated in masterclasses with Myung-Whun Chung at the L’Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and took first prize at the Nordic Conducting Competition in Bergen in 1994.