“… he is the real thing: music unmistakably flows from him.”
Chief Conductor: Gothenburg Symphony Artistic Director and Chief Conductor: Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra Principal Conductor Designate (2021/22): Philharmonia Orchestra
In the 2019/20 season Santtu-Matias Rouvali continues as Chief Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony and Principal Conductor Designate of Philharmonia Orchestra, where he succeeds Esa-Pekka Salonen as Principal Conductor in 2021/22. Alongside these posts he retains his longstanding Chief Conductor position with Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra close to his home in Finland.
His international profile continues to flourish, with debuts this season with New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in wide-ranging repertoire. In New York he conducts the New York premiere of Bryce Dessner’s Wires, and at the Concertgebouw he conducts the world premiere of a new piece by Theo Verbey, as well as Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex. In Berlin he is looking forward to performing Ravel’s piano concerto in G minor with Alice Sara Ott, alongside Sieblius Symphony 1.
He has built a loyal following internationally after successful tour concerts in Vienna with Gothenburg Symphony last season he returns there to conduct the Wiener Symphoniker and Nicola Benedetti. In 19/20 he returns to several orchestras across Europe, including the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Rouvali’s Gothenburg season opens with a programme featuring Leif Ove Andsnes, the orchestra’s Artist in Residence for 2019/20. Following last season’s successful tour of Germany and Austria with Alice Sara Ott and Martin Grubinger, Rouvali and Gothenburg Symphony are back on the road in February 2020 touring Japan. Together with violinist Fumiaki Miura and pianist Mari Kodama, they perform works by Shostakovich, Beethoven and Sibelius across eight major cities from Fukuoka to Tokyo. He also accompanies Philharmonia Orchestra on their tour to the Canary Islands in January 2020, performing in Gran Canaria and Tenerife as part of the Canary Islands Festival. In London, highlights of his season with Philharmonia include extracts from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Prokofiev’s Symphony 5 as well as Sibelius Symphony 5, alongside soloists Nikolay Lugansky, Behzod Aburaimov and Nemanja Radulovic.
Adding another cornerstone to his tenure in Gothenburg, Rouvali is making his mark on the Orchestra’s impressive recording legacy. In January 2019 they released a celebrated first disc of an ambitious Sibelius cycle, pairing the First Symphony with the early tone poem En saga. The album won the Gramophone Editor’s Choice award, the Choc de Classica, a prize from the German Record Critics and the prestigious French Diapason d’Or “Decouverte”. The FFF Telerama commented that “In directing this highly-esteemed ensemble, the young Finnish conductor transcends in the repertoire of his fellow countryman. Breathtaking.”
With Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and violinist Baiba Skride, he has recorded five concertos together on the Orfeo label: Nielsen, Sibelius, Bernstein, Korngold and Rozsa.
Alongside a busy symphonic conducting career, as Chief Conductor in Tampere he conducted Verdi’s La forza del destino, and the world premiere of Olli Kortekangas’s My Brother’s Keeper (Veljeni vartija) with Tampere Opera in spring 2018.
(Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, November 2019)
“Rouvali made an impressive start as conductor designate of the Philharmonia, turning this relatively offbeat programme into party time.”
(Neil Fisher, The Times, June 2019)
“This was a deeply engaged and serious interpretation of a complex work, revealing impressive long-term concentration and attention to detail on Rouvali’s part that makes him a natural Straussian.”
(Curtis Rogers, Classical Source, December 2018)
“…he opened his account with the Philharmonia Orchestra as joint Principal Guest Conductor in a colourful all-Russian programme showing amazing physicality as he floated dance-like around the podium with clear, baton direction but with real intent and genuine musicality.”
(Bachtrack, Mark Thomas, October 2017)
“Rouvali was the bard and sage of the hour. He got a standing ovation, deservedly.”
(Classical Source, Ateş Orga, September 2017)
“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.”
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