Santtu-Matias Rouvali
Conductor

“… he is the real thing: music unmistakably flows from him.” (Sunday Times, January 2016)

Contacts

Linda Marks +44 (0)20 3725 9120
Ed Milner +44 (0)20 3725 9178
Margot Moseley +44 (0)20 3725 9177

Biography

Artistic Director and Chief Conductor: Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra
Principal Guest Conductor Philharmonia Orchestra
Chief Conductor: Gothenburg Symphony

 

The 2017/18 season sees Santtu-Matias Rouvali begin two new tenures; Chief Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, alongside these positions he continues his longstanding Chief Conductor-ship with the Tampere Philharmonic close to his home in Finland. Hailed by The Guardian as “the latest sit-up-and-listen talent to emerge from the great Finnish conducting tradition,” until last season Santtu-Matias Rouvali was also Principal Guest Conductor of the Copenhagen Philharmonic. 

Artistic Director and Chief Conductor: Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra
Principal Guest Conductor Philharmonia Orchestra
Chief Conductor: Gothenburg Symphony

 

The 2017/18 season sees Santtu-Matias Rouvali begin two new tenures; Chief Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, alongside these positions he continues his longstanding Chief Conductor-ship with the Tampere Philharmonic close to his home in Finland. Hailed by The Guardian as “the latest sit-up-and-listen talent to emerge from the great Finnish conducting tradition,” until last season Santtu-Matias Rouvali was also Principal Guest Conductor of the Copenhagen Philharmonic. 

Rouvali has upcoming debuts with the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Münchner Philharmoniker and Orquesta Nacionale de España in Madrid, as well as regular relationships with other orchestras across Europe, including the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Paris, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; and has ambitious touring plans with his own orchestras over the next few seasons in Europe, Japan and North America. His first season as Chief Conductor in Gothenburg includes a substantial Nordic tour with pianist Hélène Grimaud. 

Previously a Dudamel Fellow at the conducting programme with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, last season he made a triumphant return as a highlight of their subscription season, alongside other American debuts with the Minnesota and Cincinnati symphony orchestras. 

In June 2017, as Chief Conductor-designate, he joined Gustavo Dudamel and the Gothenburg Symphony in their El Sistema Side by Side project with the Gothenburg Symphony, which has been a hugely successful summer camp for children and young people. 

As another cornerstone to his tenure in Gothenburg, he looks forward to adding his mark to the Orchestra’s impressive recording legacy. Rouvali’s latest disc – of Nielsen and Sibelius’ violin concertos is with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and Baiba Skride – was released in summer 2015 on ORFEO. Rouvali has been Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Tampere Philharmonic since 2013, and in addition to his other recordings, highlights of the tenure so far include a Sibelius symphony cycle in autumn 2015, and the Orchestra’s first tour to Japan in spring 2017 where they were accompanied by an exhibition of original Moomin drawings by Tove Jansson to mark the opening of the new museum at the Tampere Hall.  

Alongside an extremely busy symphonic conducting career, as Chief Conductor in Tampere he has conducted Verdi’s La forza del destino with Tampere Opera and his next project with them, in spring 2018, is a world premiere of Olli Kortekangas’s My Brother’s Keeper (Veljeni vartija) with Tampere Opera.

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Contacts

Linda Marks +44 (0)20 3725 9120
Ed Milner +44 (0)20 3725 9178
Margot Moseley +44 (0)20 3725 9177

Reviews

“Rouvali’s imaginative, often spectacular musicality is exceptional even in an era with a number of remarkable young conductors.” (Los Angeles Times, November 2016)

“No wonder the applause was tremendous and that many afterward danced on light feet into the evening.” (Göteborgs-Posten, April 2016)

“…he is the real thing: music unmistakably flows from him.” (Sunday Times, January 2016)

“Rouvali’s imaginative, often spectacular musicality is exceptional even in an era with a number of remarkable young conductors.” (Los Angeles Times, November 2016)

“No wonder the applause was tremendous and that many afterward danced on light feet into the evening.” (Göteborgs-Posten, April 2016)

“…he is the real thing: music unmistakably flows from him.” (Sunday Times, January 2016)

“Rouvali conducts full of energy, and is a craftsman in the truest sense of the word.” (Erlanger Nachrichten, December 2015)

“The Tampere orchestra sounds clean, supple and boisterous under its young chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali. He, meanwhile, is the latest sit-up-and-listen talent to emerge from the great Finnish conducting tradition.” (The Guardian, September 2015)

“Rouvali, 29, a product of the renowned Finnish conducting school in Helsinki, left a long-lasting impression on his Bern debut...Rouvali led the orchestra in a striking and gripping interpretation of Sibelius 1, which expressed the brusqueness and ruggedness of the work.” (Berner Zeitung, January 2015)

“An unforgettable evening which will remain etched in the memory as a peak of musicality… The superb continuity of sound, made possible through the cohesion of the orchestra, was maintained throughout each work by Santtu-Matias Rouvali, without any effort and with, on the contrary, an impassioned and spontaneous enthusiasm.” (bachtrack.com, July 2014)

“Rouvali asks a lot from the Deutsches-Symphony Orchestra, and he does indeed get a great sound from them. The beginning of Sibelius’ Finlandia was menacing, the victory march, however, shines with a brilliant broad sound. Rouvali was also at ease in Béla Bartók’s Dance Suite: he made the multifaceted, idealised peasant music colourful and exciting, fiery without being shy to bring out bright colours.” (Der Tagesspiegel,March 2014)

“Only one word; sensational.” (Aamulehti, March 2014)

“Guest conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali led the orchestra through beautifully crafted interpretations of music by Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius. This was an evening of energetic, fearless music making that mixed decisive interpretations with discipline, a clear understanding of the structure and form of the pieces on the program, and delightfully fresh musical perspectives. Rouvali led Nielsen's "Helios Overture" and Sibelius' Symphony No.1 with a completely winning mix of soaring phrases, exquisitely wrought small details and a clear understanding of the pieces' architecture." (Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 2014)

“Rouvali seems to touch the souls of listeners in an exceptional way. This program yet again proved that Rouvali is a magician speaking through sound.” (Aamulehti,January 2014)

“The Oulu Symphony Orchestra are on fine form throughout and Santtu-Matias Rouvali directs with assurance.” (Guy Rickards, Gramophone, September 2013)

“Santtu-Matias Rouvali showed that he is a percussionist at heart, as he handled complex rhythmical structure and its synchronisations with great aplomb.” (Hufvudstadsbladet, October 2013)

“Under the elegant, flexible conducting of Santtu-Matias Rouvali – just 27 years old – [Saariaho’s] Laterna Magica revealed an abundant sound world: alternately silky and spiky, vibrant and sensual. The audience was plunged into an immersive listening… The orchestra was transformed by the dazzling energy of the young Finnish conductor… in recognition of this wonderful evening, they enthusiastically applauded Rouvali. Already famous in Finland, his incredible talent was greeted most warmly by the Parisian public.” (Michele Tosi, resmusica.com, April 2013)

“Total physical response, fluid conducting movements, technical skill with very clear signalling and analytical penetration of the score, are the best that even experienced conductors hope for in order to create an exceptional musical experience.  Rouvali has all of this, and the resultant sound is as brilliant as it is explosive... It was amazing how Rouvali created the most sophisticated sounds with fine dynamic gradation, by virtue of historically-informed performance practice.  It recreated a little of the striking novelty that the audience must have felt at the work’s premiere... Rouvali’s interpretation of Sibelius’ Symphony No.1 was marked by the utmost vigour, vitality and sound-saturated urgency.  He understands the musical structure with absolute clarity, which leads the music to the very limits of tonal possibilities, and thereby produces elastic phrases of enormous potency… an electrifying performance…rightly cheered at the end.”  (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, January 2013).

“This is a conductor who not only carries the score in his head, but also carries the music of his homeland in his heart...it is no wonder that the instrumentalists of the orchestra were inspired.” (Fuldaer Zeitung, January 2013)

"Rouvali, who is creating a stir at an international level, showed a great flair for Beethoven with the Egmont Overture. He created beautiful contrasts between the grandeur of the piece and the lyrics with perfectly measured dynamics. He has a fluttering, strongly upward gesture, which enhances the orchestral tone with air and transparency. Dvorak’s Eighth was a passionate performance - atmospheric, elegant, compelling, imposing and exuberant." (NRC Handelsblad, July 2012)