Crédit Kaupo Kikkas

Kristiina Poska

The National Youth Orchestra of France’s Next Musical Director

Chair of the Board Dominique Dujols, the Board of Directors and the National Youth Orchestra of France team led by Charlotte Ginot-Slacik are delighted to announce the appointment of Kristiina Poska as Musical Director from the summer of 2025.

She will be taking over from the Danish conductor Michael Schønwandt who has brought the orchestra his very best with charisma and talent. Schønwandt’s tenure has been marked by his great ambition in terms of repertoire, his unfailing commitment to the life of the orchestra and numerous public successes. The orchestra would like to thank this great musician for the commitment, kindness and high standards with which he has guided and accompanied the young musicians of the OFJ for four wonderful years.

Kristiina Poska, a brilliant conductor, is currently Musical Director of the Flanders Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor at the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra. She has also been Musical director of the Theater Basel and Kapellmeister at the Komische Oper Berlin. She regularly works with orchestras all over the world including the BBC Scottish Symphony, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouworkest, the hr-Sinfonieorchester, the Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, the Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, the Minnesota Orchestra and the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, to name but a few. In France, she has directed the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, and the Orchestre National de Metz, and this year, made her debut with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France.

Kristiina Poska’s nomination is part of the OFJ’s project to provide training of excellence in the symphonic repertoire, to keep pace with developments in the profession of orchestral musician, and to develop its international reputation.

Her commitment to younger generations, her passion for music of our time and her ability to unite orchestral musicians all correspond to the ambitions of the OFJ, a unique training facility in France recognised abroad for its very high standards.

“I am extremely proud and honoured to become the new musical director of the National Youth Orchestra of France  and to follow in the footsteps of my magnificent predecessors. Over the last few years, I have worked regularly with young conductors. I find it particularly inspiring and gratifying to be so focused on the music we’re making, exploring it in depth together.  I can’t wait to pass on my experience and knowledge to the next generation of French musicians, and to enjoy the outstanding setting of the Saline Royale d’Arc-et-Senans, the orchestra’s headquarters, and perform with them in some of Europe’s most prestigious halls.” Kristiina Poska

Michael Schønwandt has agreed to extend his tenure until the end of 2024. In the summer of 2024, Michael Schønwandt and Kristiina Poska will both work with the orchestra on alternating projects to ensure a smooth transition in the interests of the orchestra and its musicians.