Yan Pascal Tortelier

Last updated: April 17, 2023

Yan Pascal Tortelier enjoys a distinguished career as guest conductor of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. He began his musical career as a violinist and, at 14, won first prize for violin at the Paris Conservatoire, making his soloist debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra shortly afterward. Following general musical studies with Nadia Boulanger, Tortelier studied conducting with Franco Ferrara at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena.

In 2020 Yan Pascal Tortelier concluded his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra with whom he has built a very special relationship in this role over the years. Former positions have included Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Ulster Orchestra (1989–92) and Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (2005–08). He was also Principal Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra from 2009 to 2011. Following his outstanding work as Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic between 1992 and 2003, he was given the title of Conductor Emeritus and continues to work and record with the orchestra regularly.

Tortelier has enjoyed a long association with Chandos Records, resulting in an extensive catalogue of recordings, notably with the BBC Philharmonic and Ulster orchestras, 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 critically acclaimed discs of repertoire ranging from Hindemith and Kodály to Lutosławski and Karlowicz. With the São Paolo Symphony Orchestra and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, he has recorded the Ravel and Stravinsky piano concertos and Stravinsky’s Petroushka, plus a disc of works by Florent Schmitt. Tortelier’s most recent recording for Chandos is of Roussel’s Evocations with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and CBSO Chorus.

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