Erina Yashima, the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will remain in her post for another season, Music Director Riccardo Muti has announced. Originally appointed in 2015 for a two-year term covering the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, Yashima said she looks forward to continuing in the role “has made a major impact in my life as a musician and as a person.”

To honor Yashima’s accomplishments during her tenure, Muti and the CSO decided to extend her contract through 2018-19. She is the third person selected as a Solti Conducting Apprentice, a position that Muti helped to establish as a means of recognizing the CSO’s long tradition of training young musicians. In her CSO post, Yashima has spent at least 10 weeks each season studying and assisting Muti during his Chicago residencies with the CSO. Yashima also has worked closely with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the CSO’s training ensemble for young professional musicians. The Solti Conducting Apprenticeship is a program of the Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO.

“I have respect and appreciation for Ms. Yashima,” Muti said. “She demonstrates 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. I am pleased that she will continue with us for the upcoming season.”

As the Solti Apprentice, Yashima has taken on many podium assignments, such as leading the orchestra assembled for the finals of the 2017 and 2018 Young Artists Competition, and conducting Civic Orchestra musicians alongside young musicians from the People’s Music School, Sistema Ravinia and ChiMOP during the 2018 Youth in Music Festival. She also assisted guest conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen in rehearsals for the CSO’s 2017 world premiere performances of his cello concerto written for Yo-Yo Ma.

Yashima will lead the Civic in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 and Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 on April 9 at Symphony Center.

“The opportunity to learn from one of the greatest conductors such as Maestro Muti and the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and to collaborate with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago over the last two years has been a significant experience that I will take with me throughout my life in music,” Yashima said. “I hope I can return to the musical world what has been shared with me by these incredible musicians during my time in this role.”

Born in 

Germany, Yashima made her house debut at the 2017 Salzburg Festival in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor, the festival’s opera production for children, and her Italian opera debut in 2017 in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, leading the Cherubini Youth Orchestra in Lucca and Ravenna. In September, Yashima also was invited to be a cover conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.

Previously, Yashima served as répétiteur with conducting duties at the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern, where she made her podium debut in December 2015.  Her guest conducting experiences include 2015 concerts with El Sistema in Venezuela, where she led two youth orchestras. Also in 2015, Yashima participated at Muti’s Italian Opera Academy at the Ravenna Festival. She also was selected by Bernard Haitink as one of seven candidates for his conducting master class during the Lucerne Festival.

Announced in 2009, the Solti Apprenticeship is named for Sir Georg Solti, CSO music director from 1969 to 1991. The post was previously held by Sean Kubota (2011-2013) and Matthew Aucoin (2013-2015). Support for the Solti Apprenticeship in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons was underwritten by the Claire Rosen & Samuel Edes Foundation.

TOP: Erina Yashima leads the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in a rehearsal. | ©Todd Rosenberg Photography