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Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera Names New Principal Conductor

The Finnish-American conductor Ari Pelto stepped into the role, in addition to being and Artistic Advisor, at the opening of the 2023/24 season


The Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera (SP&O) has appointed Ari Pelto as its new Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor. His tenure began at the opening of the 2023/24 season, and the initial term will run until the close of the 2025/25 season.

During the first season of his contract, Pelto will lead five philharmonic programs, as well as two operas. He will continue to build on the post-pandemic momentum that SP&O has established: ticket sales have skyrocketed, and many performances have sold out.

In addition, Pelto will lead the SP&O's Linkup Program, a community engagement initiative that sees local elementary school students performing alongside members of the orchestra.

Appointed Music Director at Opera Colorado in 2015, Ari Pelto has also conducted the New York City Opera, San Diego Opera, Atlanta Ballet, and Atlanta Opera, among numerous others. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, he studied conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Rubin Academy in Jerusalem, and with Imre Pallo at Indiana University.

"When I first worked with the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, I was in awe of the quality of musicianship this organization produces, and I have happily returned again and again to conduct this fine ensemble," Pelto said. "The connection I feel with the musicians is special, and I look forward to continuing to work with them and bring the best in orchestral music and opera to this community."

"As we’ve grown over the last decade, we realized it was time to really invest in our musicians and their artistry, and the best way to do that is to bring in renowned artistic leadership," said Giuliano Kornberg, SP&O's Executive Director.

"Ari has been a frequent guest conductor here, and as we explored engaging an artistic leader, it became obvious that Ari was the right choice, given his connection and dedication to Sacramento and his popularity among audiences."

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