Estonia's Maria Seletskaja named English National Ballet music director

Maria Seletskaja.
Maria Seletskaja. Source: The Harrison Parrott Foundation

Conductor and former ballet dancer Maria Seletskaja from Narva-Jõesu has been selected as the English National Ballet's new music director. Seletskaja studied at Tallinn Ballet School and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater.

Maria Seletskaja will lead the music department and collaborate with Aaron S. Watkin to oversee the creative direction and music at English National Ballet and English National Ballet Philharmonic, the announcement says.

Seletskaja will conduct English National Ballet Philharmonic for performances of "Nutcracker" in January and "Swan Lake" in June and she will assume the role of music director full-time at the beginning of the 2024/2025 season.

"Taking up the position of music director at English National Ballet marks the beginning of an exciting chapter in my professional life, which I am thrilled about. I am looking forward to working alongside English National Ballet's Artistic Director, Aaron S. Watkin, and sharing my love of music with the wonderful musicians of English National Ballet Philharmonic, the dancers, and of course, our audiences," Seletskaja said.

Maria Seletskaja. Source: The Harrison Parrott Foundation

"Maria's innate understanding of the artform gives her a unique perspective, which, alongside her energy and intelligence, are a perfect fit for Music Director at English National Ballet. I am excited to work together and look forward to welcoming her to the company," Aaron S. Watkin, artistic director of English National Ballet, said.

Seletskaja graduated from Tallinn Ballet School in 2002 and continued her studies at St. Petersburg Vaganova Ballet Academy. From 2003 to 2006, she studied choreography at Tallinn University.

Maria started her career as a professional ballet dancer, performing as a soloist with leading companies including Estonian National Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, Zurich Ballet and the Royal Ballet of Flanders, whilst simultaneously pursuing her studies in piano, violin, music theory, harmony and orchestration. 

During her final years as a dancer, she was also an assistant conductor at Stuttgart Ballet where she made her conducting debut in April 2017.

Since 2018, Maria has dedicated herself to conducting, working with prestigious ballet companies including The National Ballet of Canada where she was Conductor-in-Residence, San Francisco Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, and most recently Paris Opera Ballet, where she conducted Soirée Robbins.

In 2022, she completed her Master's studies in orchestral conducting with Maestro Arvo Volmer at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater.

Maria Seletskaja. Source: The Harrison Parrott Foundation

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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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