Mihhail Gerts. Photo Kaupo Kikkas (detail) View full image

MA signs Mihhail Gerts

Maestro Arts is delighted to welcome Estonian conductor Mihhail Gerts to its roster.

Born into a musical family, Gerts studied piano and conducting from a young age, and early in his career conducted the Tallinn Chamber Choir and Estonian Male Voice Choir. Aged only 23 he became Resident Conductor of Estonian National Opera, where he conducted more than 40 different productions over seven years and developed a technique that has been praised for its clarity.

He says of the experience: ‘I learnt a lot of repertoire, and how to provide the framework – both in opera and ballet, and also operetta, which is a very difficult genre, with so much rubato. Very early on, I had to understand what to do with my hands, and that has never left me.’

On a quest to develop his musical voice, he decided to return to studying. He says: ‘After seven years at the opera, I was at the point where I felt I had learnt nearly everything I could. I had a large operatic repertoire, but practically no symphonic knowledge or experience in rehearsing. That’s why I decided to go to study at the Hanns Eisler School of Music. From that moment on I started to think of conductor’s role. How do I convey the idea of the music to the players? Through technical means, metaphors, being efficient with rehearsal time and making the process exciting. Step by step, I learnt to build up a clear idea of what I’m asking players to do without just saying, “Do it this way.’’’

He has a clear philosophy about his work: ‘Conducting is not about ego. My role is to lead the performance, but I’m not doing it for myself. I have a conviction that the music we are performing needs to be played a certain way. It can be played in many different ways, but since I’m on the podium today, we will play it like this because there is no other way that I can personally present this music.’

He also sees his role as advocating for the power of classical music: ‘Classical music has so much to offer, whether inspiring emotions, creating energy, provoking thinking, offering connection. It needs mediators, though, and that is how I see myself – opening our world up to as many people as possible... The future of classical music depends on how well we are able to engage communities at the local level where orchestras are based, so that people feel that what we do is part of their lives, their identity, and that it’s fantastic. We need to do a lot of work to demonstrate that works from the past have something to tell us today.’

Since graduating from Hanns Eisler in 2013, Gerts has gone on to build relationships with orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and Estonian National Symphony, as well as winning praise for performances with Staatskapelle Dresden, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Oslo Philharmonic, NHK Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras.

Forthcoming concerts

Friday 2 February, Dublin
National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Wagner, Stanford and Brahms

Tuesday 13 & Wednesday 14 February, Dortmund
Dortmunder Philharmoniker
Beethoven and Grieg

Thursday 29 February, Oulu
Oulu Sinfonia
Rachmaninoff and Rimsky-Korsakov

Friday 8 March, Tallinn
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Grünberg, Brahms, Debussy and Ravel

Thursday 16 & Friday 17 May, Lisbon
Gulbenkian Orchestra
Wagner, Strauss and Brahms

For further information please contact Emma Sweetland.