Forming the Future

“With his dynamic youthfulness and phenomenal energy, Santtu-Matias Rouvali represents something we firmly believe to be the future in the world of classical music,” Sten Cranner, General Manager and Artistic Director of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

Santtu-Matias Rouvali is set to become Chief Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Sweden. The 30-year old, recently hailed by the Guardian (London) as “the latest sit-up-and-listen talent to emerge from the great Finnish conducting tradition”, will take up his new position at the beginning of the 2017-18 season. His appointment underlines the special relationship forged between conductor and orchestra in August 2014 with Rouvali’s debut programme of works by Richard Strauss, Tchaikovsky and Bernstein. Critical acclaim has followed their subsequent performances together, with Håkan Dahl of Göteborgs-Posten praising Rouvali as ‘absolutely superb’ (October 2015).

“I am proud to follow in the footsteps of previous Principal Conductors of the Gothenburg Symphony, Neeme Järvi, Mario Venzago and Gustavo Dudamel among them,” comments Santtu-Matias Rouvali. “I have enjoyed some fantastic concerts with the orchestra and look forward to making music with these wonderful musicians again this autumn. Finland and Sweden both have a rich musical culture, which is why I can’t wait to bring the best of both together in Gothenburg and on our international tours.”

Sten Cranner, General Manager and Artistic Director of the Gothenburg Symphony, is equally delighted with the appointment. “With his organic musicianship and irresistible charisma, Santtu-Matias Rouvali has taken both orchestra and audience by storm,” he comments. “He has clearly shown that he represents something fresh and unique as a conductor. Santtu-Matias brings the best of two worlds: he is deeply rooted in the Gothenburg Symphony’s Nordic music tradition and, with his dynamic youthfulness, Rouvali represents something we firmly believe to be the future in the world of classical music. We are confident that he will shape and develop the orchestra with his artistic brilliance and insight.”

The excitement at Rouvali’s appointment is clearly reflected by the Gothenburg Symphony’s players. “Santtu-Matias Rouvali’s energy and musicality is remarkably stimulating and enriching for us,” observes Sara Trobäck, the orchestra’s concertmaster. “To hone tradition, as well as finding new ways in making music together, will be extremely inspiring.”

Rouvali will return to the Gothenburg Symphony for two high-profile concerts in the forthcoming 2016-17 season, conducting Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra and Brahms’s Piano Concerto No.1 with Marc-André Hamelin in September, and Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante with the orchestra’s Artist-in-Residence Truls Mørk in May.

Highlights of Santtu-Matias Rouvali’s inaugural season as Chief Conductor include a tour to Scandinavian capitals with pianist Hélène Grimaud, and a series of exciting concerts in the orchestra’s hometown. Looking further ahead, the 2018-19 season promises a European tour, followed by a programme of thrilling projects and activities in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the city of Gothenburg, culminating in 2021.

Santtu-Matias Rouvali

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