“… 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 2020/21 season Santtu-Matias Rouvali continues as Chief Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony and as Principal Conductor Designate of the Philharmonia Orchestra, where he succeeds Esa-Pekka Salonen in 2021/22. Alongside these posts he retains his longstanding Chief Conductor position with Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra close to his home in Finland.
Starting the season on a high, Rouvali gives his highly anticipated debut at the BBC Proms with Philharmonia Orchestra, performing Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in F minor and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.24 with Vikingur Ólaffson, alongside Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegels and Death in Transfiguration. Throughout the season he continues his relationships with top level orchestras across Europe, including NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and Münchner Philharmoniker, and soloists such as Martin Fröst, Alice Sara Ott, Pekka Kuusisto, Bryce Dessner, Henning Kraggerud, Nina Stemme and Alexander Melnikov.
Rouvali’s Gothenburg season opens with Wagner’s Ring withoutWords, accompanied by Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder, before embarking on a tour to Spain in October. Performing a varied programme featuring Tchaikovsky Symphony No.4 and Dvořák Cello Concerto, they will play in Barcelona, Madrid, Alicante, Valencia and San Sebastian, with soloist Truls Mørk.
A tour to Rouvali’s home country Finland will also be the start of his season with Philharmonia Orchestra: performing in Helsinki and Tampere under the theme of ‘Nature’, he will be conducting Dvořák’s In Nature’s Realm in a programme that will also feature music by Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, alongside pianist Denis Kozhukhin. Other highlights of the season in London include Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Philharmonia Chorus as well as concerts with Lars Vogt.
Chief Conductor of the Tampere Philharmonic since 2013, in Spring 2021 Rouvali will bring the Orchestra for a second time to Japan, following their very successful debut tour in 2017. The tour will hit several major Japanese cities and will feature a Nordic-russian programme alongside soloist Nemanja Radulović.
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 Symphony No.1 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”. In February 2020 they released the second volume, which features Sibelius’ Symphony No.2 and King Christian II, which also has immediately been awarded a Choc de Classica award. The Sunday Times commented that “Thanks to conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali’s overall shaping and a rhythmic precision that nevertheless leaves the composer’s characteristically fluid phrases intact, the Gothenburg players’ performance, beautifully balanced and characterfully coloured, is powerfully cogent.”
With the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and violinist Baiba Skride, he recorded five concertos on the Orfeo label: Nielsen, Sibelius, Bernstein, Korngold and Rózsa.
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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