“I always want to bring a piece of my home country,” says Santtu-Matias Rouvali. “Something like a Finnish identity or even mentality.” Accordingly, the internationally sought-after guest conductor of leading orchestras brought Jean Sibelius’s First Symphony with him for his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2019, of which he has already made a highly acclaimed recording with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.
Santtu-Matias Rouvali first studied percussion in Lahti before switching to Leif Segerstam’s conducting class at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki at the suggestion of Jorma Panula and Hannu Lintu. In 2011/12, he was one of the Dudamel Conducting Fellows with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Since September 2013, “the latest conductor in the great Finnish conducting tradition to be listened to carefully” ([The Guardian]) has been head of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2017, he also took up his post as chief conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and was appointed principal guest conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, where he took up the position of principal conductor for the 2020/21 season. Rouvali makes guest appearances with orchestras such as the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Munich Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He has a close artistic partnership with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and the Copenhagen Phil. The Finn has also made his mark in the field of musical theatre, for example as assistant to Sakari Oramo at the Kokkola Opera Festival, where he conducted Bizet’s [Carmen] and Mozart’s [Magic Flute].