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￼Kaapo Ijas (b.1988) is the Mills Williams Junior Fellow in Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music. He has been fiercely interested in composing, performance, drama, group dynamics and the orchestra itself for all his life. In 2012 it lead him to conducting studies first in Sibelius Academy then Zürcher Hochschule der Künste and ultimately Royal College of Music in Stockholm where he graduated from in spring of 2017.
His teachers during his studies and masterclasses include Jorma Panula, Johannes Schlaefli, Jaap van Zweden, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Zinman, Neeme and Paavo Järvi and Atso Almila. Ijas has conducted i.a. Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Norrköping SO, South Jutland SO, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Gävle Symfoniorkester, Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester (Mannheim), Hradec Kralove Philharmonia, KMH Symphony Orchestra, Seinäjoki City Orchestra, KammarensembleN, Norrbotten NEO, Swedish Army Band, Helsinki Police band and numerous other project ensembles and choirs during masterclasses and in concerts.
Ijas has been invited to various prestigious masterclasses including Gstaad Menuhin Festival 2018 with Jaap van Zweden, Riccardo Muti Opera Academy 2017 in Ravenna, the 8th Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich masterclass with David Zinman in 2017 and Järvi Academy with Paavo and Neeme Järvi in 2016. He was semifinalist in Donatella Flick Conducting Competition 2016 after invited to the competition with 2 weeks notice and among the top 7 in Cadaqués Conducting Competition 2017. In 2018 Ijas was selected as 24 conductors from 566 applicants to take part in Nikolai Malko competition in Copenhagen and won the 3rd prize in Jorma Panula Conducting Competition in Vaasa.
Ijas has been assistant conductor in several opera productions including Aïda at Stockholm Royal Opera with Pier Giorgio Morandi in 2018, Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the city of Mahagonny at NorrlandsOpera in Umeå During fall of 2016 with Damian Iorio and during spring of 2018 he assisted Sasha Mäkilä in OperaBox production of Rigoletto. He has also conducted opera productions in co-operation with Operahögskolan in Stockholm including Behind the Masks (combined production of Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte) and STHLM New Opera 2017.
Ijas is the founder and conductor of ArtsOrchestra, a student orchestra specializing in combining other arts, pedagogical elements and social criticism with concert music. Such concerts has been i.a. Nutcracker 2.0 (New dramaturgical arrangement of the Tchaikovsky’s ballet with audiovisual elements and contemporary dance) and Ekokalypsi (composition of Ijas for orchestra and mixed choir, with the text dealing with environmental issues).
Broadmindedness and unprejudiced attitude towards other arts and all genres is in the very core of Ijas‘ approach. Music, as any other art, is breathing together whatever the style or period.
Kaapo’s studies and projects are supported by Suomen Kulttuurirahasto, Wihuri Foundation, Suomen Säveltaiteen Tukisäätiö and The Sibelius Academy Foundation.