Santtu-Matias Rouvali (b. 1985) is a Finnish conductor and percussionist. From a family of musicians, Rouvali's parents played in the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. He is the youngest of the three sons in his family. One of his older brothers died in a car accident at age 23.
Rouvali learned percussion as a youngster, and continued his studies at the Sibelius Academy. Rouvali completed in the Eurovision Young Soloists Finnish qualifier in 2004 as a percussionist. As a percussionist, he performed with such orchestras as the Mikkeli City Orchestra, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. At age 22, he focused more on studies in conducting at the Sibelius Academy, where his teachers included Jorma Panula, Leif Segerstam and Hannu Lintu.
In September 2009, Rouvali guest-conducted the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra as an emergency substitute conductor. He first guest-conducted the Tapiola Sinfonietta in November 2010. Later in the same month, the Tapiola Sinfonietta named Rouvali an artist-in-association with the orchestra, effective September 2011, with an agreement of 3 years.
Rouvali first guest-conducted the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra in January 2010. He subsequently returned as a guest conductor in December 2011. In September 2012, the orchestra announced the appointment of Rouvali as its chief conductor, effective with the 2013-2014 season, with an initial contract of 3 years. His current Tampere contract is through 2019.
Outside of Finland, Rouvali first guest-conducted the Copenhagen Philharmonic in November 2011. He subsequently became principal guest conductor of the Copenhagen Philharmonic with the 2013-2014 season. In August 2014, Rouvali made his first guest-conducting appearance with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (GSO). In May 2016, the GSO announced the appointment of Rouvali as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2017-2018 season, with an initial contract of 4 years.
Rouvali has made commercial recordings with the Oulu Philharmonic Orchestra for Ondine, and with the Tampere Philharmonic for Orfeo.
The 2017/2018 season sees Santtu-Matias Rouvali begin two new tenures; Chief Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, alongside these positions he continues his longstanding Chief Conductor-ship with the Tampere Philharmonic close to his home in Finland. Hailed by The Guardian as "the latest sit-up-and-listen talent to emerge from the great Finnish conducting tradition", until last season Santtu-Matias Rouvali was also Principal Guest Conductor of the Copenhagen Philharmonic.
Rouvali has upcoming debuts with the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Münchner Philharmoniker and Orquesta Nacionale de España in Madrid, as well as regular relationships with other orchestras across Europe, including the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Paris, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; and has ambitious touring plans with his own orchestras over the next few seasons in Europe, Japan and North America. His first season as Chief Conductor in Gothenburg includes a substantial Nordic tour with pianist Hélène Grimaud.
Previously a Dudamel Fellow at the conducting programme with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, last season he made a triumphant return as a highlight of their subscription season, alongside other American debuts with the Minnesota and Cincinnati symphony orchestras.
In June 2017, as Chief Conductor-designate, he joined Gustavo Dudamel and the Gothenburg Symphony in their El Sistema Side by Side project with the Gothenburg Symphony, which has been a hugely successful summer camp for children and young people.
As another cornerstone to his tenure in Gothenburg, he looks forward to adding his mark to the Orchestra's impressive recording legacy. Rouvali's latest disc – of Nielsen and Sibelius' violin concertos is with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and Baiba Skride – was released in summer 2015 on ORFEO. Rouvali has been Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Tampere Philharmonic since 2013, and in addition to his other recordings, highlights of the tenure so far include a Sibelius symphony cycle in autumn 2015, and the Orchestra's first tour to Japan in spring 2017 where they were accompanied by an exhibition of original Moomin drawings by Tove Jansson to mark the opening of the new museum at the Tampere Hall.
Alongside an extremely busy symphonic conducting career, as Chief Conductor in Tampere he has conducted Verdi's La forza del destino with Tampere Opera and his next project with them, in spring 2018, is a world premiere of Olli Kortekangas's My Brother's Keeper (Veljeni vartija) with Tampere Opera.
Σε όσους παρακολουθούν στενότερα την καλλιτεχνική και ιδιαίτερα τη μουσική ζωή όχι μόνο των σκανδιναβικών χωρών αλλά γενικότερα της Ευρώπης, το όνομα του νεαρού αρχιμουσικού είναι αρκετά γνωστό, καθώς ο Santtu-Matias Rouvali θεωρείται αυτή τη στιγμή το μεγαλύτερο ίσως ταλέντο στον κόσμο, στον τομέα της μουσικής διεύθυνσης.
Ο Santtu-Matias Rouvali είναι σήμερα μουσικός διευθυντής της Φιλαρμονικής Ορχήστρας του Τάμπερε, μιας πόλης της νότιας Φινλανδίας, καθώς επίσης και επισκέπτης αρχιμουσικός της ιστορικής Φιλαρμονικής της Κοπεγχάγης, ενώ συχνά καλείται να διευθύνει πολύ γνωστά και σπουδαία μουσικά σύνολα όπως την Ορχήστρα Φιλαρμόνια του Λονδίνου, τη Φιλαρμονική Ορχήστρα της Γαλλικής Ραδιοφωνίας και τη Συμφωνική Ορχήστρα της Φινλανδικής Ραδιοφωνίας. Τα προσεχή του σχέδια περιλαμβάνουν συναυλίες με τη Φιλαρμονική του Λος Άντζελες, την Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin και την Ορχήστρα της Μινεσότα.
Σχολιάζοντας την ανακοίνωση του διορισμού του στη θέση του μουσικού διευθυντή της Εθνικής Ορχήστρας της Σουηδίας, η οποία είναι περισσότερο γνωστή ως Συμφωνική Ορχήστρα του Γκέτεμποργκ, ο Santtu-Matias Rouvali δήλωσε: «Είμαι περήφανος που ακολουθώ τα χνάρια των προηγούμενων μεγάλων μουσικών διευθυντών της Συμφωνικής Ορχήστρας του Γκέτεμποργκ, όπως των Neeme Järvi, Mario Venzago και Gustavo Dudamel. Έχω απολαύσει μερικές εκπληκτικές συναυλίες με την ορχήστρα αυτή και ανυπομονώ να συνεργαστώ με όλους αυτούς τους υπέροχους μουσικούς. Η Φινλανδία και η Σουηδία έχουν η κάθε χώρα πολύ πλούσιο μουσικό πολιτισμό, κι αυτός είναι ένας ακόμη λόγος για τον οποίον ανυπομονώ να φέρω το καλύτερο και των δύο αυτών μουσικών πολιτισμών στο Γκέτεμποργκ αλλά και στις διεθνείς περιοδείες μας».
Ο Sten Cranner, γενικός και καλλιτεχνικός διευθυντής της Συμφωνικής Ορχήστρας του Γκέτεμποργκ, δήλωσε ότι ο Santtu-Matias Rouvali εκπροσωπεί σήμερα ό,τι πιο φρέσκο και μοναδικό ως μαέστρος, καθώς φέρνει τα πολυτιμότερα δύο κόσμων: τη μουσική σκανδιναβική παράδοση, με την οποία είναι συνδεδεμένη η Συμφωνική Ορχήστρα του Γκέτεμποργκ, και τον δυναμισμό της νεότητάς του. «Πιστεύω ακράδαντα ότι ο Rouvali αντιπροσωπεύει αυτό το οποίο είναι το μέλλον στον κόσμο της κλασικής μουσικής. Είμαι βέβαιος ότι θα διαμορφώσει και θα εξελίξει την Ορχήστρα με τη διορατικότητά του και την καλλιτεχνική λάμψη του».
Τα πρώτα και πολύ ενδιαφέροντα σχέδια του Santtu-Matias Rouvali, περιλαμβάνουν μία περιοδεία στις πρωτεύουσες των σκανδιναβικών χωρών, με την κορυφαία Γαλλίδα πιανίστρια Ελέν Γκριμό.
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. — Berner Zeitung, January 2015
An unforgettable evening which will remain etched in the memory as a peak of musicality... The superb continuity of sound, made possible through the cohesion of the orchestra, was maintained throughout each work by Santtu-Matias Rouvali, without any effort and with, on the contrary, an impassioned and spontaneous enthusiasm. — bachtrack.com, July 2014
Rouvali asks a lot from the Deutsches-Symphony Orchestra, and he does indeed get a great sound from them. The beginning of Sibelius' Finlandia was menacing, the victory march, however, shines with a brilliant broad sound. Rouvali was also at ease in Béla Bartók's Dance Suite: he made the multifaceted, idealised peasant music colourful and exciting, fiery without being shy to bring out bright colours. — Der Tagesspiegel, March 2014
Only one word; sensational. — Aamulehti, March 2014
Guest conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali led the orchestra through beautifully crafted interpretations of music by Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius. This was an evening of energetic, fearless music making that mixed decisive interpretations with discipline, a clear understanding of the structure and form of the pieces on the program, and delightfully fresh musical perspectives. Rouvali led Nielsen's "Helios Overture" and Sibelius' Symphony No.1 with a completely winning mix of soaring phrases, exquisitely wrought small details and a clear understanding of the pieces' architecture. — Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 2014
Rouvali seems to touch the souls of listeners in an exceptional way. This program yet again proved that Rouvali is a magician speaking through sound. — Aamulehti, January 2014
The Oulu Symphony Orchestra are on fine form throughout and Santtu-Matias Rouvali directs with assurance. — Guy Rickards, Gramophone, September 2013
Santtu-Matias Rouvali showed that he is a percussionist at heart, as he handled complex rhythmical structure and its synchronisations with great aplomb. — Hufvudstadsbladet, October 2013
Under the elegant, flexible conducting of Santtu-Matias Rouvali – just 27 years old – [Saariaho's] Laterna Magica revealed an abundant sound world: alternately silky and spiky, vibrant and sensual. The audience was plunged into an immersive listening... The orchestra was transformed by the dazzling energy of the young Finnish conductor... in recognition of this wonderful evening, they enthusiastically applauded Rouvali. Already famous in Finland, his incredible talent was greeted most warmly by the Parisian public. — Michele Tosi, resmusica.com, April 2013
Total physical response, fluid conducting movements, technical skill with very clear signalling and analytical penetration of the score, are the best that even experienced conductors hope for in order to create an exceptional musical experience. Rouvali has all of this, and the resultant sound is as brilliant as it is explosive... It was amazing how Rouvali created the most sophisticated sounds with fine dynamic gradation, by virtue of historically-informed performance practice. It recreated a little of the striking novelty that the audience must have felt at the work's premiere... Rouvali's interpretation of Sibelius' Symphony No.1 was marked by the utmost vigour, vitality and sound-saturated urgency. He understands the musical structure with absolute clarity, which leads the music to the very limits of tonal possibilities, and thereby produces elastic phrases of enormous potency... an electrifying performance... rightly cheered at the end. — Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, January 2013
This is a conductor who not only carries the score in his head, but also carries the music of his homeland in his heart... it is no wonder that the instrumentalists of the orchestra were inspired. — Fuldaer Zeitung, January 2013
Rouvali, who is creating a stir at an international level, showed a great flair for Beethoven with the Egmont Overture. He created beautiful contrasts between the grandeur of the piece and the lyrics with perfectly measured dynamics. He has a fluttering, strongly upward gesture, which enhances the orchestral tone with air and transparency. Dvorak's Eighth was a passionate performance – atmospheric, elegant, compelling, imposing and exuberant. — NRC Handelsblad, July 2012
Photos by Kaapo Kamu
Santtu-Matias Rouvali – All the posts
Dmitri Shostakovich: Passacaglia from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali (HD 1080p)
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.12 in D minor "The Year 1917" – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali (HD 1080p)
Jean Sibelius: The Wood Nymph, En Saga, & Symphony No.5 in E flat major – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali – Saturday, August 19, 2017 – Livestream
Klaus Florian Vogt sings Richard Strauss – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali (HD 1080p)
Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali (HD 1080p)
Igor Stravinsky: Petrushka – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali (HD 1080p)
Carl Nielsen: Helios Overture – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali (HD 1080p)
Katarina Leyman: Solar Flares – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali (HD 1080p)
Johannes Brahms: Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor – Marc-André Hamelin, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali (HD 1080p)
Béla Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali (HD 1810p)
Santtu-Matias Rouvali is the new Chief Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – All the posts