Klas, Eri, Estonian conductor; b. Tallinn, June 7, 1939. He was a student of Ernesaks at the Tallinn Cons., of Rabinovich at the Leningrad Cons., and of Khaikin at the Bolshoi Theater School in Moscow (1969–72). In 1964 he made his conducting debut with Bernstein’s West Side Story at the Estonian Opera in Tallinn. From 1969 to 1971 he conducted at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, and led the company on tours abroad. In 1975 he became music director of the Estonian Opera. Afer serving as chief conductor of the Royal Opera in Stockholm from 1985 to 1990, he was music director of the Àrhus Sym. Orch. from 1990 to 1996. In 1991 he made his U.S. debut at the Hollywood Bowl. From 1994 he was a prof, at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He served as chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Sym. Orch. in Hilversum (from 1996) and as music director of the Tampere Phil, in Finland (from 1998). As a guest conductor, he appeared with major orchs. and operas companies throughout Europe, North America, and the Far East.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire