"Themes and ideas, interconnections and contrasts, ricocheted across Estonian conductor Olari Elts’s cleverly constructed concert with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. […] Elts’s Rautavaara was a slow-burn, vivid with carefully etched detail and drawing intensely on the SCO players’ soloistic skills […] Elts’s Respighi was no less vivid, with an exquisite sparkle to its impeccably balanced textures – refined, but with a mischievous glint in its eye all the same. […] Elts’s Copland, too, felt intimate and introspective rather than monumental and expansive, offering a very fresh, human perspective on this well-loved classic of Americana."
The Scotsman David Kettle 07.11.2017
"Elts’ conducting can be flamboyant at the same time as being meticulously precise. [...] The result in Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances had intensity and color, decisiveness and vigor, allied with the same sensitivity which pervaded the Rhapsody, plus fine work from the alto saxophone in the first movement."
The SunBreak Philippa Kiraly 17.04.2017
"There’s an irresistible energy and joy in Elts’ conducting style; he leaps about the podium, sweeping his arms and hands in enthusiastic but exquisitely clear, focused gestures. His gift for revealing inner structures gave the symphony a fresh, living dimensionality. Elts took full advantage of NACO’s hybrid chamber/symphonic sound, working at close range to produce a magical balance between sternum-rattling power and painterly detail and transparency."
Artsfile Ottawa Natasha Gauthier 30.03.2017
"What made it really special was Elts’s remarkable handling of the orchestral texture, exquisitely balanced to revealing effect, so that you heard things you’d swear were never there before – but thankfully, never feeling in the slightest calculated."
The Scotsman David Kettle 11.04.2016
"He approached Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as though it was being played for the first time, with sparkling energy, clear articulation and a sense of narrative drive that rendered the whole thing sort of unarguable"
Seen and Heard International 08.04.2016 Simon Thompson
"The excellent Olari Elts went on to sculpt Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony in big, sweeping gestures and a positively lurid palette of orchestral colours. [...] This was broad-brush Shostakovich, thrillingly physical and reeking of vodka and boot-leather. The ending drew cheers."
The Birmingham Post Richard Bratby 05.02.2016
"Elts disclosed the hidden art of a mature Haydn. Elts guided an inspired Seattle Symphony orchestra with the precision of an artisan, arising new and surprising nuances from Haydn´s music."
Opera World Carlos J. Lopez 23.01.2016
"The true star of the show, though, was Estonian conductor Olari Elts, who rather magically managed to conjure quite analytical, microscopically detailed performances that still sparkled with spontaneity and fresh, vivid life."
The Scotsman David Kettle 11.05.2015
"Elts made his impromptu appearance a highly entertaining, highly intoxicating, even at times very beautiful experience. he has a charisma that is boyish and ebullient. It certainly came over."
The Scotsman, Ken Walton 03.12.2014
"Elts drew richly burnished tone from the orchestra's eloquent strings in both pieces, and the brilliance of Shostakovich's fast movement [of the Ninth Symphony], by turns skittish and saturnine, benefitted from the contrast with the Moderato's inwardness."
Seen and Heard International, Bernard Jacobson 07.02.2014