The French conductor and violinist, Yan Pascal Tortelier, was born in in Paris, the son of the cellist Paul Tortelier, and the brother of Maria de la Pau. He began piano and violin studies at age 4. He began his musical career as a violinist and, at 14, won first prize for violin at the Paris Conservatoire, making his soloist debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra shortly afterward. Following general musical studies with Nadia Boulanger, he studied conducting with Franco Ferrara at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena
Yan Pascal Tortelier enjoys a distinguished career as guest conductor of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. From 1974 to 1983 he was Associate Conductor of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. Further positions since then have included Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Ulster Orchestra (1989-1992) and Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (2005-2008). He was also Principal Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (OSESP) from 2009-2011, and currently holds the position of Guest Conductor of Honour (2011-2013), in which capacity he returns to the orchestra a number of times each season. Following his outstanding work as Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra between 1992 and 2003, including annual appearances at the BBC Proms and a very successful tour of the USA to celebrate the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra's 60th anniversary season, he was given the title of Conductor Emeritus and continues to work with the orchestra regularly. He also holds the position of Principal Guest Conductor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has also been a Principal Guest Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYOGB).
Yan Pascal Tortelier has collaborated with major orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala (Milan), Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Further afield he has collaborated with the Melbourne Symphony, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. He first guest-conducted the Iceland Symphony Orchestra (ISO) in 1998. In October 2015, the ISO announced the appointment of Tortelier as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2016-2017 season, with an initial contract of 3 years.
Highlights of the 2014-2015 season and beyond include returns to the USA to conduct the orchestras in Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, and Baltimore Symphony; European performances with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Lyon National Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic Orchestra; and his return to Australia to conduct the Melbourne Symphony, Adelaide Symphony, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Tortelier will also perform with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Montreal Symphony.
Yan Pascal Tortelier has enjoyed a long association with Chandos Records, resulting in an extensive catalogue of recordings, notably with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra, and including award-winning cycles of the orchestral music of Debussy, Ravel (featuring his own orchestration of Ravel's Piano Trio), César Franck, Albert Roussel, and Henri Dutilleux. He has also conducted critically acclaimed discs of repertoire ranging from Paul Hindemith and Zoltán Kodály to Lutoslawski, and Karlowicz. Recent releases for Chandos include the Ravel piano concertos coupled with Debussy’s Zoltán Kodály, with pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, and a disc of works by Florent Schmitt with the Sao Paulo Symphony. In the 2013-2014 season, he added to this catalogue with the release of an entire disc of Igor Stravinsky, once again collaborating with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.