Hart Artistic Director’s Chair
Photo credit: Liza Voll
Mikko Nissinen was appointed Artistic Director of Boston Ballet and Boston Ballet School in 2001. Born in Helsinki, Finland, Nissinen trained at The Finnish National Ballet School and the Kirov Ballet School in St. Petersburg, Russia. He danced professionally with The Finnish National Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Basel Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet, where he was a principal dancer for a decade. Nissinen’s vast repertoire ranged from classical to contemporary works. As a guest artist, he danced with various companies and partners and for numerous international galas.
Nissinen directed Alberta Ballet, in Calgary, Canada, from 1998-2001, also serving as Alberta Ballet’s Executive Director from 1999-2000.
As Artistic Director of Boston Ballet, Nissinen has defined the Company’s image, cultivating a compelling and dynamic collection of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary repertoire. Firmly committed to developing the art form and the future of dance, Nissinen actively promotes progressive new work and creations. The Company also performs Nissinen’s production of Swan Lake, the award winning The Nutcracker, and his reimagined Raymonda.
In 2008, Nissinen served as Executive Director of Boston Ballet for a year and a half, during which time he provided full organizational leadership, initiated a major redesign of the organization’s image, branding and website, and facilitated the Company’s move to its permanent performance home, The Boston Opera House.
Under his direction, Boston Ballet resumed touring after a 16-year hiatus, traveling to Paris, London, New York City, Spain, Korea, Canada, Finland, and Washington D.C. In 2005, Nissinen appointed Jorma Elo as Resident Choreographer and in 2016 Nissinen established an ongoing choreographic relationship with choreographer William Forsythe.
In addition, Nissinen leads Boston Ballet School, the largest dance school in North America, which includes Boston Ballet School’s Professional Division at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Citydance, and other community education programs.
Nissinen’s broad knowledge of dance, its history, and arts organization business leadership make him a popular presenter at conferences and universities worldwide. He was a fellow at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He is a member of the New York Choreographic Institute’s Artistic Committee. He is the recipient of the Finlandia Foundation’s 2008 Arts and Letters Award, Boston’s 2009 Ambassador for the Arts Award and the 2007 United Nations Association of Greater Boston Leadership Award. In 2019, Nissinen was appointed a Knight, First Class of the Order of the Lion of Finland. Nissinen is a dual Finnish and American citizen.