Outside of the Nordic music scene, he was probably best known as chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1996 until 2003. Other significant appointments were with the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra (1991-6), the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra (1998-2006), Estonian National Opera (1975-95) and Danish Royal Opera (1985-90).
He was a professor at the Sibelius Academy (1993-7) and at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (1997-2016).
In addition to his musical activities, he was an Estonian lightweight junior boxing champion and a member of the Estonian Olympic Committee.
Eri Klas died in Tallinn on 26 February 2016, aged seventy-six.