Estonian-born conductor Henri Christofer Aavik is a 2nd prize winner of the 5th Evgeny Svetlanov International Conducting Competition in Monte-Carlo (2022) and a 1st prize winner of the 8th International Jorma Panula Conducting Competition in Vaasa (2021).
In the 2023/24 season, Aavik makes his debut with the North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra and with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. He collaborates with the Residentie Orkest The Hague and leads concerts with the Orchestra of the Royal Conservatoire The Hague. He is also invited to take on the musical direction of Rossini’s “Il barbiere di Siviglia” and Mozart’s “Die
Zauberflöte” within two productions initiated by an internationally renowned Estonian bass Ain Anger. The 2022/23 season saw Aavik’s debuts with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Israel Camerata Jerusalem, and Bergische Symphoniker. At the Estonian National Opera, where he has appeared as a regular guest since 2020, he conducted performances of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” and Verdi’s “La traviata”.
Previously Aavik has conducted orchestras such as the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, Sinfonia Rotterdam, Staatskapelle Weimar, Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, Göttingen Symphony Orchestra, Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Senzaspine, and Pärnu City Orchestra. From 2017 to 2019 he was the artistic leader and conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of the Technical University of Ilmenau (Germany).
In 2021 Aavik founded a project-based orchestra in his home country with the aim of uniting and encouraging the rising generation of Estonian classical talents currently studying in various countries all around Europe and introducing them to a wider audience.
Aavik has worked as an assistant to numerous renowned conductors such as Jac van Steen, Antony
Hermus, Anja Bihlmaier, Eivind Gullberg Jensen, Jun Märkl, and Bas Wiegers. In May 2023 he assisted Jonathan Darlington with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century as part of the
Concertgebouw’s Beethoven Festival and led the orchestra in their educational concerts.
At an early age, Aavik attended Jorma Panula’s conducting classes in Finland. Later he studied in Germany at the HfM Franz Liszt Weimar with Nicolás Pasquet and Ekhart Wycik and in Switzerland at the ZHdK with Johannes Schlaefli. Currently, he continues his studies in the National Master’s programme of the conservatories in Amsterdam and The Hague with Jac van Steen and Ed Spanjaard. He has been mentored by Daniele Gatti, Paavo Järvi, Kenneth Montgomery, Pavel Baleff, Rüdiger Bohn, and Bruno Weil. From 2021 to 2023 he held a conducting fellowship in the German Music Council’s Forum Dirigieren