Estonian Maria Seletskaja, a former ballet dancer turned conductor, has been appointed the new music director of the English National Ballet.
Seletskaja will work closely with Aaron S. Watkin, the artistic director of the institution, in overseeing the creative direction and quality of music at the English National Ballet and the English National Ballet Philharmonic.
Seletskaja, who was born in the Estonian resort town of Narva-Jõesuu, started her career as a professional ballet dancer, performing as a soloist with leading companies including the Estonian National Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, Zurich Ballet and the Royal Ballet of Flanders, while simultaneously pursuing her studies in piano, violin, music theory, harmony and orchestration.
She was 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; the San Francisco Ballet; the Royal Danish Ballet, and most recently, the Paris Opera Ballet.
“Taking up the position of music director at the English National Ballet marks the beginning of an exciting chapter in my professional life, which I am thrilled about,” Seletskaja said in a statement.
Seletskaja graduated from the 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. She studied music theory harmony, and orchestration at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. 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.
In 2022, she completed her master’s studies in orchestral conducting with conductor Arvo Volmer at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.