Chief Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra Santtu-Matias Rouvali

Santtu-Matias Rouvali from Finland is undoubtedly one of the most talented conductors of his generation and is highly sought-after by the world’s leading orchestras. He is Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra’s Chief Conductor since season 2017-2018.

Santtu-Matias Rouvali is Chief Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony since 2017, and the contract has been extended to 2025. The collaboration has been an overwhelming national and international success, with a string of lauded concerts and tours in the Scandinavian capitals and in Germany/Austria. His is a unique combination of genuine musicality and exceptional technical control: “…he is the real thing: music unmistakably flows from him.” (Sunday Times)

Santtu-Matias Rouvali is Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and he retains his longstanding Chief Conductor position with Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra close to his home in Finland. Santtu-Matias Rouvali’s profile continues to flourish, with invitations from orchestras such as New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in wide-ranging repertoire.

His first meeting with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in 2012 was a tremendous success and after each visit the mutual respect and love grew – and joy spread like wildfire throughout the audience. The collaboration between Santtu-Matias Rouvali and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra has resonated internationally after tours in the Nordic capitals with pianist Hélène Grimaud and in Germany with pianist Alice Sara Ott and percussionist Martin Grubinger.

The many live streams of recent years on GSOplay have also attracted the attention of a large audience at home and around the world. The project with Sibelius ‘seven symphonies, both live in Gothenburg and as record editions (Alpha), has been praised by critics: “Sibelius’ fourth symphony sounded like a descent into the earth’s interior. As if it were made of glowing lava. That the orchestra after this gave Rouvali a “touche” was highly justified! ” (Martin Nyström, Dagens Nyheter)

When Santtu-Matias Rouvali is not working with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra or the Philahrmonia Orchestra – where he is also principal conductor – he guest-conducts leading orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Santtu-Matias Rouvalis grew up in a musical family, both parents played in the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, and at home the music sounded day and night.

– My parents were also music teachers and had students at home. And I went with my brothers to the rehearsals, then they did not need a babysitter, so we were there all day. Sat and listened and watched. As a young boy, I was captivated by the percussionists and the conductor – these were the two most interesting in the orchestra.

He was trained as a percussionist and then continued with conducting studies for Jorma Panula and Leif Segerstam at the Sibelius Academy. There he also laid the foundation for his study method that followed him during his conducting career.

– First you get to know the work – check the instrumentation, how many movements there are, then I do a harmony analysis and play parts on the piano. Then I make larger beats, put together whole phrases. I also think about the balance – maybe I’ll call in that “this must be heard, and this”. Then I see places that can possibly be played wrong, whether it is a wrong transposition or not – “that goes well”. Then it was clear. Then I can think about tempo selection and which parts you hit one in time or three. Then you rehearse and make sure that the orchestra plays correctly.

In his spare time, he enjoys hunting and fishing. This is when he summons renewed energy for creative new concerts as Chief Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

Concerts with Santtu-Matias Rouvali
Orkesterns musiker går mot kameran med instrumenten i handen.

A truly wonderful experience

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra consists of 109 musicians who are driven by their love of music and a desire to provide you with a truly wonderful experience that will live long in the memory. It is this passion and ambition that makes the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Sweden, one of the world’s foremost orchestras.

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
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