Home > Artists > Santtu-Matias Rouvali


Artistic Director and Chief Conductor: Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra
Principal Guest Conductor: Copenhagen Phil
Artist in Association: Tapiola Sinfonietta


2013/14 sees Santtu-Matias Rouvali take up the positions of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Copenhagen Phil. Following outstanding debuts last season, he has been immediately invited to return to the hr-Sinfonieorchester, Philharmonia, Dresdner Philharmonie, Stockholm Philharmonic and Tokyo Symphony orchestras, as well as the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France . 

Guest engagement this season include concerts with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Ulster Orchestra as well as the Milwaukee and New Jersey symphony orchestras, and his return to the Dresdner Philharmonie.    

He continues to have strong and regular relationships with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Residentie Orkest. In recent seasons he has worked with a number of prominent soloists, including Mischa Maisky, Alisa Weilerstein, Alison Balsom, Vilde Frang and Kirill Gerstein. He has also conducted Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart's Die Zauberflöte with West Coast Kokkola Opera.

The short biography displayed on this page is for information only. For concert programmes and promotional materials please use the downloadable versions.


“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)