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Santtu-Matias Rouvali

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Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali was termed "the latest sit-up-and-listen talent to emerge from the great Finnish conducting tradition" by The Guardian. He has conducted major orchestras in Finland and Sweden, and in 2017 he was named a principal guest conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. Rouvali was born in Lahti, Finland on November 5, 1985. His parents were both musicians and members of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. Rouvali started as a percussionist, represented Finland in the Eurovision Young Soloists competition in 2004, and performed on percussion with the Lahti Symphony, the Finnish Radio Symphony, and other groups. Studying at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, he switched to conducting in his early twenties and took classes with Leif Segerstam, Hannu Lintu, and Jorma Panula. In September of 2009, Rouvali gained attention when he stepped in to conduct the Finnish Radio Symphony on an emergency basis. The following year he guest-conducted the Tapiola Sinfonietta, leading to a three-year association with that ensemble. Rouvali's longest-running engagement in Finland has been with the Tampere Philharmonic, which he guest-conducted in 2010 and 2011, and then, in 2013, became chief conductor. Meanwhile, he was beginning to find work outside Finland, with the Copenhagen Philharmonic in Denmark, where he became principal guest conductor in 2013, and with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Sweden, where he made appearances as guest conductor (after one of which, his publicity claims, "delirious joy spread like wildfire throughout the audience"), and was appointed chief conductor two years later. He has also made guest appearances with the Oslo Philharmonic, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Münchner Philharmoniker, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Minnesota Orchestra. In 2017 Rouvali was named one of two principal guest conductors of the Philharmonia Orchestra. He has made several recordings and in 2019 led the Gothenburg Symphony in a recording of Sibelius' Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39, on the Alpha label.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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