Joost’s interpretation is profound, unpretentious and soulful.

— Leipziger Volkszeitung

Risto Joost is one of the most outstanding and versatile conductors of his generation, active in both the opera and concert scenes. He is a broad-minded musician whose rich repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary music, often including premieres of new works.

Risto Joost is the music director and chief conductor of The Vanemuine Theatre (since the 2020/21 season) and a conductor in residence at The Estonian National Opera (since 2009). From autumn 2024, Joost will become the chief conductor of The Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn.

The 2024/25 season will see Joost performing with several renowned orchestras, including The Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, The North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, and The Aalborg Symphony Orchestra. In his new position as chief conductor of The Württemberg Chamber Orchestra, Joost will stage a new production of Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ at The Heilbronn Theatre. Guest performances with the same orchestra will take him to venues such as The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, The Konzerthaus in Berlin, and The Tonhalle in Düsseldorf.

At The Vanemuine Theatre in the upcoming season, Joost will conduct premieres of Purcell’s ‘King Arthur’ and Puccini’s ‘La Bohème’. As one of the highlights of the season, he will also lead two concerts of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8.

As a sought-after guest conductor, Risto Joost has appeared with many renowned musical ensembles, including The MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig, The SWR Symphony Orchestra in Stuttgart, The Helsinki, Tampere, Bergen, Dutch, Strasbourg, Brno, and Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestras, the orchestras of The Norwegian National Opera and Saint Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre, The Helsinki City Orchestra, The Antwerp and Flanders Symphony Orchestras, The Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ERSO), The Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, The Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and others. He has also conducted highly acclaimed choirs such as The RIAS Chamber Choir, The Berlin Radio Choir, The Swedish Radio Choir, The Ars Nova Copenhagen, the mixed choir Latvija, and The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. He was the chief conductor of The Netherlands Chamber Choir from 2011 to 2015 and the artistic director of The MDR Leipzig Radio Choir from 2015 to 2019. From 2013 to 2019, he was the chief conductor of The Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, and from 2018 to 2019, the artistic director of The Tallinn Philharmonic and The Birgitta Festival.

Risto Joost’s discography reflects a deep love of contemporary music, and his records have often received critical acclaim. The include three albums of Arvo Pärt’s works, recorded with the chamber choir Voces Musicales (ERR 2009) and The Netherlands Chamber Choir and Chamber Orchestra (Globe 2011 and 2012). Additionally, there are three albums with Tõnu Kõrvits’s music, which has played a particularly prominent role in Joost’s artistic activities in recent years. Recordings with the label Ondine include ‘Hymns to the Nordic Lights’ with ERSO (2020), ‘You Are Light and Morning / Sei la luce e il mattino’ (2020), and ‘Moorland Elegies’ (2017) with The Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. In 2022, he premiered Kõrvits’s ‘The Voice of the Wings’, the final part of a trilogy of major works commissioned by Joost for The Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, also to be released under the Ondine label. Other recordings include music by Peeter Vähi, René Eespere, Jean-Paul Dessy, Verdi, Wagner, Haydn and others.

Risto Joost studied choral and orchestral conducting as well as singing at The Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and continued his studies at The University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. He completed his master’s degree at The Royal Collage of Music in Stockholm in The Jorma Panula conducting class.

Risto Joost has received many awards and recognitions. He is a laureate of The Jorma Panula and Nikolai Malko conducting competitions (in 2012 and 2015, respectively). He has received the annual Music Endowment Award of The Cultural Endowment of Estonia twice (in 2006 and 2016). In 2011, he received The Young Cultural Figure Award of The Republic of Estonia. In 2018, he was named Musician of the Year for upholding and passing on high values in music by the music editors of Estonian Public Broadcasting. In 2021, Risto Joost was awarded the Gustav Ernesaks Foundation’s main scholarship for choral music, and in 2022, he received The Estonian Theatre Union’s music award for his work as music director and conductor for the concert production of ‘Idomeneo’ at The Estonian National Opera and the opera productions of ‘Linda di Chamounix’ and ‘Don Giovanni’ at The Vanemuine Theatre.

First professional engagement as a soloist (Arvo Pärt „Passio“)

Established chamber choir Voces Musicales (Voces Tallinn)

First concert with the professional orchestra as a conductor (Tallinn Chamber Orchestra)

Completed studies in Royal College of Music in Stockholm

Conductor in residence in The Estonian National Opera

Recorded first Arvo Pärt CD, „Pilgrim’ Song“

Chief conductor of The Netherland’s Chamber Orchestra

Laureat of the Jorma Panula conducting competition

Chief conductor of Tallinn Chamber Orchestra

Laureat of the Malko conducting competition

Artistic director of The MDR Radio Choir

Music director and chief conductor at Vanemuine Theatre

Artistic director of Birgitta Festival in Tallinn

Premier of the documentary „Portrait. Risto Joost „The Sun Boy of the Music Space“

Completed the recording of the trilogy by Tõnu Kõrvits (Ondine)