ELISA TALVITIE, New York based, Finnish American conductor is known among orchestras and ensembles for her dedicated artistry and dynamic leadership. Her detailed musical craftsmanship and broad scholarly perspective keep inspiring professionals, concert audiences and aspiring student musicians in Finland, around Europe and in the United States.
Elisa Talvitie made her performance debut with Symphony Tacoma Chamber Orchestra in June 2021 conducting the premier recording of New York composer Brian Morales’s work Threshold (2020-21). Before Covid pandemic halted all performance activities in the U.S. and elsewhere, Elisa Talvitie received invitations to work with Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, ND professional ensemble, and with Concordia College Orchestra, MN, as well as Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra, WI. After the pandemic, she returned to live audience leading the Musikapiphany Ensemble, New York City musician and performing artist collective supporting contemporary performance practices and interaction between different fields of art. Previously a two-time featured guest conductor of the ensemble, she has engaged with them also at Multicultural Sonic Evolution (MuSE) Sounds of Arts Festival in Queens, NY, and at their 2019 annual concert.
Elisa has lead a performance of Stravinsky’s L’Oiseau de Feu Suite with Music in the Alps Festival Orchestra in Austria, and worked as assistant conductor in the festival production of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, supporting the work of Grammy nominated maestro Kenneth Kiesler. The program also presented works by Mozart and Brahms. Semi-finalist for Respighi Prize in Conducting, she received invitation to work with Chamber Orchestra of New York in June 2017. She has also worked with Seinäjoki Orchestra, regional professional orchestra in her native Finland and with Saratoga Orchestra of Whidbey Island, WA.
Elisa Talvitie’s other guest conductor merits include several professional and semi-professional orchestras in the U.S. and in Europe, e.g., String Orchestra of Brooklyn and Astoria Symphony Orchestra in NYC; Medomak Symphony Orchestra in ME; Gwinnett Symphony Chamber Orchestra in GA; Filharmonie Bohuslava Martinu in Czech Republic; South London Sinfonietta in UK; Tapiola Youth Symphony Orchestra and Tapiola Bach Strings as well as Panula Institute Chamber Orchestra in Finland. She has choral conducting experience with, e.g., MuSE Chorus and University of Helsinki Chamber Choir SOL. While in graduate school she directed Helsinki Opera Ensemble, university music student collective, and collaborated in a Baroque opera production with Finnish American theater director Johanna Freundlich. She was designated artistic director of Raudaskylän Soiva Kesä Music Festival and Master Classes in western Finland from 2000 to 2003.
Elisa Talvitie began her studies in orchestral conducting with David Gilbert (formerly principal conductor of American Ballet Theater and principal guest conductor of New York Philharmonic) and with Glen Barton Cortese at Manhattan School of Music, from which she graduated with honors. She has also studied under professor Kenneth Kiesler (University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance) and with Paul Nadler (resident conductor of Metropolitan Opera, NYC). Her other conducting teachers and mentors include Atso Almila, Jorma Panula, Diane Wittry, Markand Thakar and Donald Schleicher, among others. Elisa is a two-time alum of Conductors Retreat at Medomak, ME.
Elisa Talvitie has participated in numerous conducting master classes and workshops in Europe and in the U.S. She received master’s degree in musicology (performance practice and pedagogy) from University of Helsinki and bachelor of music degree in classical piano performance, conducting and composition from Manhattan School of Music. Furthermore, she has acquired professional piano performance diploma from Kuopio Conservatory, Finland, and completed post-graduate program in music education and educational philosophy at Columbia University, New York City. Before embarking on professional studies in music she was pre-college student at Kuopio Conservatory and graduated from Kuopio High School for Music and Dance. She has been awarded the Finlandia Foundation Fellowship and was featured in National Dean’s List of The American Association for Higher Education.
Versatile performer performing on multiple keyboard instruments, Elisa Talvitie has appeared in concerts as orchestra soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. She is currently the pianist/organist of Musikapiphany Ensemble, NYC. She was longtime lied partner to soprano soloist of Estonian National Opera, Nadia Kurem, and founded Strada Duo together with violist Victoria Voronyansky. She frequently performs as church musician.
For over a decade Elisa Talvitie maintained studio of private piano students of all ages and levels. While in Finland, she worked in service of the country’s acclaimed system of music schools and taught on piano faculties of Espoo Music Institute and Lohja Music Institute in Helsinki metropolitan area. She has appeared as guest speaker and lecturer at music festivals, colleges and adult education centers.
Alongside her performance career, Elisa Talvitie is known as multi-hatted music manager whose expertise and vision of the field have been utilized by numerous employers. Her passion for advocating for the arts and for arts education objectives brought Elisa Talvitie both national and international acclaim at young age. Known for her skill in negotiating and cultural diplomacy—and for her unique ability and willingness to work across the aisle—she has been trusted adviser to such notable arts organizations as Finnish Music Council and Conservatoire Association of Finland. From 2008 to 2011 she was advisory board member in a major music education research project launched and funded by Finnish National Agency for Education. In 2010 she was appointed by The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland to serve as Senior Adviser for Cultural Affairs at Consulate General of Finland in New York. During her tenure at the Finnish consulate, Elisa Talvitie collaborated with, e.g., New York Philharmonic Education’s Very Young Composers International, helping to put together new satellite program for young composers in New York and in Finland. Other partners in the initiative included Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish National Opera Orchestra and University of the Arts Helsinki, Sibelius Academy. Elisa Talvitie also served as one of the artistic and programmatic advisers to Bard Music Festival and American Symphony Orchestra in their efforts to create Sibelius themed music festival, which took place in summer of 2011. She was appointed Director of Program Development and Strategic Partnerships at Barenboim-Said Foundation USA in September 2017 and in that position had integral role in advancing The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’s 2018 Carnegie Hall appearance and U.S. tour.
Prolific writer on music and art related subjects, Elisa Talvitie’s articles have been published in, e.g., Chamber Music magazine and in Pianisti magazine, for which she served editor-in-chief in 2002—2003, as well as in several music festival publications.
Elisa Talvitie is a citizen of the United States and Finland.