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Hooray! We are celebrating our 10-year anniversary in 2023! The celebrations will be themed around the future of arts.

Markus Lehtinen

  • Professor, opera, Vocal music, Sibelius Academy

Job description

Professor of Opera (Opera and Opera Coach programs)



Markus Lehtinen (b. 1959) gained diplomas in orchestral conducting and piano from the Sibelius Academy in 1985. His teachers included Jorma Panula (orchestral conducting) and Meri Louhos (piano), in addition to whom he received tuition from Aulis Sallinen and Einojuhani Rautavaara in his composition studies. During the years of studying he received tuition also from Arvid Jansons, Leif Segerstam, Erik Werba and Ralf Gothoni

Markus Lehtinen’s conducting career took off on winning the Nordic conducting competition in 1987, after which he was soon engaged as conductor to the Copenhagen Royal Opera from 1988-1993, and since 1992 he has also been a regular visitor to the Stockholm Royal Opera, while taking part in several foreign tours, such as to Athens, the USA and the Czech Republic. 

Markus Lehtinen has twice been engaged by the Finnish National Opera: from 1985-88 and 1992-97, since which time he has been guest conductor. During 1999-2002, Markus Lehtinen was chief conductor of Jyväskylä Sinfonia and 2002 – 2006 chief guest conductor of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra.

Markus Lehtinen made his debut with the Hamburg Opera conducting Prokofiev’s ballet Cinderella in the spring of 1993, and his engagements at Hamburg and cooperation with the ballet and John Neumeier have continued every year, now already over 20 years. His performances at German opera houses have expanded to include, for example, the Deutsche Oper Berlin (including Henze’s Undine, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Puccini’s Turandot, Verdi’s Aida and Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman) and the Bavarian State Opera (Le Sacre de Printemps etc.)

The list of world premieres that have been conducted by Markus Lehtinen is impressive: Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Caroline Mathilde (Copenhagen), Rodion Shchedrin’s Lolita (Stockholm) together with Mstislav Rostropovich, George Couroupos’ Odysseus (Athens and Hamburg), Aulis Sallinen’s Kuningas lähtee Ranskaan (The King Goes Forth to France) together with Okko Kamu, Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Aleksis Kivi  (both at Savonlinna Opera Festival) and Tuomas Kantelinen’s Paavo Nurmi (Helsinki). In summer 2007, Lehtinen conducted the Savonlinna Opera Festival Olli Kortekangas’ opera Isän Tyttö (Daddy’s Girl), which was commissioned in honour of the centenary of the Finnish Parliament. The world premiere of Yhden yön juttu (One Night Stand) by Olli Kortekangas was part of the opening festivities of the new Music Center in Helsinki 2011.

Mr. Lehtinen is also known as a lied pianist and has accompanied such luminary figures as Matti Salminen, Jorma Hynninen, Raimo Sirkiä, Tommi Hakala, Karita Mattila, Soile Isokoski and Monica Groop. 

His cooperation with singers goes back (starting from 1980) to the Savonlinna Opera Festival and Mr. Lehtinen was voted Artist of the Year 2005. In the same year he conducted the 60th birthday gala concert for Matti Salminen. During 2000-2005, he was also a member of the Savonlinna Opera Festival’s artistic committee.

Since autumn 2004, Markus Lehtinen has been Professor of the Opera at the Sibelius Academy, being active developer and re-organizer of various programmes. As the professor Lehtinen has been active to create connections to all actors on the field of opera. One of the projects has been commissions of new modern Finnish operas for Sibelius Academy Opera, operas like One Night Stand by Olli Kortekangaas (2011) and Frida y Diego by Kalevi Aho (2014)

Between years 1993 – 2006 Lehtinen was the Artistic Director and the conductor of the Tapiola Youth Symphony Orchestra at the Music Institute in Espoo with many tours around Europe. Lehtinen has work intensively with young music ensembles around Scandinavian countries (Nordea Jean Sibelius Orchestra)

In the season 2011 -12 Lehtinen did his successful debut at Wiener Staatsoper, and the contact has led to performance contracts till summer 2015. He will his debut in Boshoi Theater, Moscow in Janauary 2016. During the last years the collaboration with Sinfonia Lahti has developed to several concerts per year and even recordings.

Artistic work has continued aside the work as professor: conductor for Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competitions finale, concerts with Karita Mattila (Tampere Hall 20 years gala etc.) and Matti Salminen. It is worth mentioning that Lehtinen has had the honour to celebrate many festivities of Royal Danish Family, like Queen Margarete´s 50 years jubilaeum galas and the last one in 2012 the great Gala Concert of Her Majestys 40 years in reign.

Lehtinen’s other artistic activities include master classes with several artists like Kim Borg, Jorma Hynninen, Tom Krause, Karita Mattila and Matti Salminen etc.

Lehtinen has held conducting classes in many countries. Already in 1980´s he was the assistant teacher for professor Jorma Panula in Copenhagen, Royal Danish Academy of Music. Guest teaching in Edsberg Manor (at the Royal college of Music, Stockholm) and several courses at the Institute of Music, Espoo has increased his experience. In Copenhagen 2011 Lehtinen had a international master course for conductors arranged by the American Conductor Guild.

Lehtinen has recorder several CDs and has made many recordings for broadcasting companies in different countries as a conductor, pianist and composer.


Teaching master students of Opera Program, Opera Coach Program and occasionally students of Vocal Department as well as the Conducting Class students