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For the future - Gothenburg Symphony appoints Santtu-Matias Rouvali as Chief Conductor

Pressmeddelande   •   Maj 25, 2016 14:00 CEST

“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.

Santtu-Matias Rouvali is set to become Chief Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony, 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 Directorof 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.

Since its foundation in 1905, the Gothenburg Symphony has cultivated a broad repertoire that spans everything from the works of Berwald, Grieg and Sibelius to the music of Prokofiev, Schnittke and Shostakovich. The composer, conductor and pianist Wilhelm Stenhammar served as its Principal Conductor from 1907 to 1922, establishing secure foundations for the orchestra’s subsequent development under the leadership of, among others, Issay Dobrowen, Charles Dutoit, Neeme Järvi, Mario Venzago and Gustavo Dudamel. The Gothenburg Symphony’s discography expanded rapidly during Maestro Järvi’s 22 years as Principal Conductor and has attracted many prestigious international awards and critical acclaim. The orchestra, known not least for its warm tone and virtuosity, is resident at the Gothenburg Concert Hall, much admired for its fine acoustics.

All concerts with Santtu-Matias Rouvali are recorded live for GSOplay and will be available free of charge on the web and on tablets and mobile phones.

Santtu-Matias Rouvali is represented by HarrisonParrott.

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Notes to Editors

Gothenburg Symphony

The Gothenburg Symphony, called “one of the world’s most formidable orchestras” by the Guardian, has toured the USA, Europe, Japan and the Far East and performed at major music centres and festivals throughout the world.

Santtu-Matias Rouvali is set to become Principal Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony, 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.

Founded in 1905, the Gothenburg Symphony (Göteborgs Symfoniker) now numbers 109 players. The great Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar was appointed Principal Conductor in 1907, contributing strongly to the Nordic profile of the orchestra by inviting his colleagues Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius to conduct their own works. Subsequent holders of the post include Sergiu Comissiona, Sixten Ehrling, and Charles Dutoit. During Neeme Järvi’s tenure (1982-2004), the orchestra became a major international force. It has toured in the USA, Japan, and Far East, and in 1997 was appointed The National Orchestra of Sweden. During five years as the Orchestra’s Music Director (2007-2012), Gustavo Dudamel and the Gothenburg Symphony made acclaimed appearances at the BBC Proms and Vienna Musikverein. In the autumn of 2013, the distinguished American conductor Kent Nagano started his tenure as the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor. The collaboration is very successful, and the contract has been prolonged to 2019. The list of prominent guest conductors has included Wilhelm Furtwängler, Pierre Monteux, Herbert von Karajan, Myung-Whun Chung, Herbert Blomstedt, David Afkham, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christian Zacharias and Sir Simon Rattle. The Gothenburg Symphony also runs extensive concert projects for children, and digital live concerts are available on:

For Chandos the Orchestra has recorded concertos and symphonies by Mieczysław Weinberg, a comprehensive two-disc set of orchestral works by Alban Berg, and a disc coupling Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and Brahms’s Double Concerto. The latest project is the complete symphonies of Kurt Atterberg with Neeme Järvi conducting, the first release has been praised by the critics, and singled out as Recording of the Month by MusicWeb International.

Among the orchestra’s many recordings on BIS and Deutsche Grammophon, several of them award-winning, are the complete symphonies of Sibelius, Nielsen, Stenhammar, Berwald, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky, operas and symphonies by Rachmaninov, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, and the complete orchestral music of Edvard Grieg. There is also a DG 3 CD-box with Gustavo Dudamel conducting Bruckner’s ninth symphony, Sibelius second and Nielsen’s fourth and fifth symphonies.

Gothenburg Symphony - The National Orchestra of Sweden - is owned by The Region Västra Götaland

Crown Sponsor: Volvo

Main Sponsors: SEB & Göteborgs-Posten

Principal Conductors of the Gothenburg Symphony

1905-1907Heinrich Hammer

1907-1922Wilhelm Stenhammar

1922-1925Ture Rangström

1925-1939Tor Mann

1937-1970Sixten Eckerberg (Principal Conductor of the Gothenburg Radio Orchestra,

i. e. Gothenburg Symphony)

1941-1953Issay Dobrowen

1953-1960Dean Dixon

1960-1967Sten Frykberg

1967-1972Sergiu Comissiona

1974-1975Sixten Ehrling

1976-1979Charles Dutoit

1982-2004Neeme Järvi

2004-2007Mario Venzago

2007-2012Gustavo Dudamel

2017 Santtu-Matias Rouvali

Santtu-Matias Rouvali

Santtu-Matias Rouvali is Chief Conductor of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Copenhagen Philharmonic.

With an already very established career Rouvali regularly works with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra to name a few.

Debuts this season include Bamberger Symphoniker, conducting the orchestra for their Sibelius anniversary celebrations, and the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg immediately following a return to the Dresdner Philharmonie.

Next season, as well as a tour with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne in Europe, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra all welcome Rouvali back. In North America he conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony and Minnesota orchestras. He will also return to Japan following two successful engagements there with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, but this time he takes his own orchestra; the Tampere Philharmonic.

Rouvali’s recordings include a disc with Ondine featuring Hakola and Hosokawa Guitar Concertos with Timo Korhonen and Oulu Symphony Orchestra and his latest release, of Nielsen and Sibelius’ Violin Concertos with Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and Baiba Skride, was released in summer 2015 on ORFEO. When reviewing the latter disc for the Guardian, Kate Molleson wrote that Rouvali “…is the latest sit-up-and-listen talent to emerge from the great Finnish conducting tradition”.

In addition to strong relationships with Nordic artists such as Vilde Frang, Pekka Kuusisto, Truls Mørk, Håkan Hardenberger and Kari Kriikku, notable soloist collaborations include Katia and Marielle Labèque, Alisa Weilerstein, Benjamin Grosvenor, Alison Balsom and Martin Grubinger.

As an opera conductor, Rouvali has performed Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart's Die Zauberflöte with West Coast Kokkola Opera, and will conduct Verdi’s La Forza del Destino with Tampere Opera this season.

Göteborgs Symfoniker, Sveriges Nationalorkester, bildades 1905 och består idag av 109 musiker.Sedan 2013 är amerikanske Kent Nagano konstnärlig rådgivare och förste gästdirigent för Göteborgs Symfoniker. Under dirigenten Neeme Järvis ledning 1982-2004 etablerade sig orkestern efter internationella turnéer och drygt 100 skivinspelningar bland Europas främsta orkestrar. Denna utveckling tog ytterligare ett steg framåt med Gustavo Dudamel, chefdirigent 2007-2012, en av vår tids mest uppmärksammade dirigenter.

Göteborgs Symfoniker är en del av Västra Götalandsregionen. Förste huvudsponsor: Volvo. Huvudsponsorer: SEB & GP.

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