“City Opera's performance of "Madama Butterfly" on Sunday afternoon was conducted by a newcomer, Ari Pelto, who led an extremely well paced realization. The first act was crisp and biting, impressive not just as no-nonsense music making, but also setting the stage for highly romantic slower sections in the midst of the second act and a "vigil theme" to die for. The NYCO orchestra was in top form, their coloration as subtle as the cherry blossoms that fall…in this production.”
- Fred Kirshnit, New York Sun
"'Don Giovanni' at Wolf Trap: “Don Giovanni"… is shaped and paced with consummate skill by conductor Ari Pelto…"
- Joseph McLellan, Washington Post
"Lucretia" takes wing on the strength of its music… And Sunday's performance, led with no-nonsense efficiency by conductor Ari Pelto, showed the score to glittery advantage"
- Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
“Ari Pelto evoked superb vigor and stylish beauty of playing… (Rape of Lucretia).
- John Bender, San Francisco Classical Voice
“Under Ari Pelto's baton, the orchestra has never sounded better, nor the chemistry between pit and stage been quite so palpable.”
- Susan Elliot, Atlanta Journal Constitution
“ …as finely attuned to bringing out the dramatic values of a production as any conductor with whom I have worked in my 25 years as a stage director …”
- Vincent Liotta
"… a musician of real sensitivity who possesses a keen intellect and artistic idealism …"
- Robert Spano
At Spoleto USA: "Pelto shaped the work in a way which brought out all the charm and wit Haydn put into his music."
- Charleston Post and Courier
“...a dynamic young force inthe conducting world...”
- Sheri Greenawald, Director, San Francisco, Opera Center
With performances that have been called poetic, earthy, vigorous and highly individual, conductor Ari Pelto is increasingly in demand both as an operatic and symphonic conductor. Since his debut conducting Verdi's La traviata, he has been engaged as a regular guest conductor at New York City Opera, leading the company in performances of Madama Butterfly, Carmen, and La bohème. Other recent engagements have included La bohème and Rusalka with Boston Lyric Opera; Roméo et Juliette with Minnesota Opera; Carmen and The Cunning Little Vixen with Chautauqua Opera; and Die Zauberflöte with Portland Opera.
Maestro Pelto’s current engagements include La bohème with Opera Theatre of St. Louis; Carmen with Utah Opera; Così fan tutte with San Francisco Opera Center; and Falstaff with the New National Theatre, Tokyo.
Deeply committed to the future of opera in America, Maestro Pelto works regulary at some of the country's most prestigious young artists' programs. In 2005 he conducted Don Giovanni at Wolf Trap and returned in 2006 to conduct a new production of Le nozze di Figaro. At San Francisco Opera's Merola Program. He conducted Britten's Rape of Lucretia in 2004. In past seasons he has conducted operas at the Oberlin and San Francisco Conservatories and productions at the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School during the 2006-2007 season. He has also been engaged as a regular faculty member and conductor at the New National Theatre, Tokyo.
Maestro Pelto spent the fall of 2002 conducting 30 performances of La bohème in 20 states with Western Opera Theater, after bringing Così fan tutte to 21 states the previous year. In 1999 he made a successful international debut in Germany with the Bochumer Symphoniker, and the same year conducted Lucia di Lammermoor at Festival Opera in Walnut Creek, CA, returning the next year to lead Il barbiere di Siviglia. He has appeared several times with the Florida Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony, and the Atlanta Ballet.
At age 24 he became Assistant Conductor of the Spoleto Festival USA, where he led symphonic and chamber orchestra programs and was responsible for musical preparations of Fidelio, Janacek's Excursions of Mr. Broucek, and Britten's Curlew River. He also served as Assistant Conductor of the Florida West Coast Symphony in Sarasota from 2000-2002, conducting over 30 concerts there.
Maestro Pelto has worked with a number of the world's finest teachers of conducting: Robert Spano, Jorma Panula, Mendi Rodan. At the Indiana University School of Music he studied with Imre Pallo and Thomas Baldner. While pursuing his degree there, he also served as Assistant Conductor of the Opera Theater, where he led many performances including Don Pasquale, Idomeneo, Orpheus in the Underworld, and Falstaff.
He holds a degree in violin performance from Oberlin Conservatory, and has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral violinist in Europe, China, and throughout the United States.