Ari Pelto, the Finnish-American conductor, has assumed the position of Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor for the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera (SP&O) as of the commencement of the 2023/24 season. This appointment is not only a testament to his role as an Artistic Advisor but also marks the beginning of his tenure in this dual capacity.
The initial term of his appointment extends until the conclusion of the 2025/26 season. Throughout the first season under this contract, Pelto will take charge of directing five philharmonic programs and two operas, contributing to the ongoing post-pandemic success of SP&O. The organization has witnessed a surge in ticket sales, and many performances have reached full capacity.
Additionally, Pelto will spearhead the SP&O's Linkup Program, an initiative for community engagement that involves local elementary school students performing alongside orchestra members.
Ari Pelto, who assumed the role of Music Director at Opera Colorado in 2015, boasts an impressive conducting portfolio that includes engagements with renowned institutions such as the New York City Opera, San Diego Opera, Atlanta Ballet, and Atlanta Opera. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, Pelto pursued conducting studies at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem, and under the tutelage of Imre Pallo at Indiana University.
Reflecting on his new role, Pelto expressed, "When I first collaborated with the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, I was struck by the exceptional level of musicality demonstrated by this organization. I have gladly returned multiple times to conduct this exceptional ensemble. The special connection I feel with the musicians is significant, and I eagerly anticipate continuing our collaboration to bring the finest in orchestral music and opera to this community."
Giuliano Kornberg, the Executive Director of SP&O, emphasized the organization's growth over the past decade and the decision to invest in the musicians and their artistic prowess. According to Kornberg, the appointment of Ari Pelto as the artistic leader was a natural choice, given Pelto's established connection and dedication to Sacramento and his popularity among audiences.