In September 2015, a jury headed by Riccardo Muti unanimously chose Erina Yashima as the CSO’s third Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice. For her apprenticeship, which began officially in February 2016, Yashima spent at least 10 weeks each season studying with and assisting Muti during his Chicago residencies in addition to guest conducting the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and various community engagement programs of the Negaunee Music Institute. She also worked with CSO musicians, guest artists and conductors. Her ability to adapt and excel at myriad musical landscapes quickly made Yashima an invaluable asset to the CSO family throughout her tenure.
“Words cannot express my gratitude for what the years in Chicago with the CSO family have meant to me,” Yashima said. “I can say with certainty that meeting Maestro Muti and winning the Solti Apprenticeship have made the biggest impact in my career, and I will always look on this as a crucial moment in my life. There is so much I have learned from Maestro Muti and the CSO, and also by taking part in the great community-outreach projects of the Negaunee Music Institute and by working with the Civic Orchestra — an orchestra that will always remain close to my heart. I will miss everyone tremendously and am very glad that I will come back to Chicago to conduct the CSO Family and School Concerts in November next season.”
While initially a two-year position, Muti announced in April 2018 the extension of Yashima’s position for another season. In April 2019, the Philadelphia Orchestra appointed her as its assistant conductor. In addition to many engagements as conductor in Chicago and her native Germany, Yashima participated in the Italian Opera Academy with Muti in Ravenna, Italy, in 2015. She made her Italian opera debut in February 2017, conducting Rossini’s La Cenerentola with the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra in Lucca and Ravenna and again in Piacenza in 2018. In February 2019, she led the orchestra in a production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in Novara and Ravenna. She also has conducted at the Salzburg Festival and in Venezuela with El Sistema, among other notable venues and ensembles.
Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association are grateful for her service and wish Erina Yashima well in her ongoing artistic endeavors. “Ms. Yashima has demonstrated great commitment to her role as our Solti Conducting Apprentice and an excellent level of artistry that she shares with our young musicians of the Civic Orchestra,” Muti said. “I have respect and appreciation for her artistic qualities that she has demonstrated in Chicago and Europe. I wish her much success in her career.”