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 will give his highly anticipated debut at the BBC Proms with Philharmonia Orchestra, performing Bach’s Keyboard Concerto 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 without Words, 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 Dvorak’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 Chrous 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.