John Storgårds is a Finnish conductor and violin virtuoso, known for his strong interest in playing and promoting contemporary music. His skill on the violin and at the podium has earned him opportunities to perform around the world.
Storgårds was born on October 20, 1963, in Helsinki. After studying the violin with Esther Raitio and Jouko Ignatius at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, he went to Israel to study with Chaim Taub. While performing as an orchestra musician, Storgårds frequently led as the concertmaster, and he developed an interest in conducting, particularly after receiving an offer to conduct the Helsinki University Symphony Orchestra. From 1993 to 1997, he studied conducting with Eri Klas and Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy. Storgårds was the concertmaster of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen.
In 1996, Storgårds took up duties as the artistic director of the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland, the most northerly orchestra in Europe. As a guest conductor, he has worked with orchestras throughout Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia. These orchestras include the City of Birmingham Symphony, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Danish National Symphony, the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino, the New York Philharmonic, and the Sydney Symphony. He became the principal guest conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in 2003, then was hired as chief conductor from 2008 until 2015. He also served as chief conductor of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra from 2006 to 2009. In 2012, Storgårds was named as principal guest conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, taking over from Vassily Sinaisky. In 2015, he was named principal guest conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. Storgårds was a founder of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, and has led the ensemble's Summer Sounds Festival. He has also been the artistic director of the Korsholm Music Festival. He was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Music in 2002.
Storgårds has mainly recorded for Ondine and BIS, performing music by Panufnik, Corigliano, Holmboe, Melartin, and Vasks. In 2019, he released several albums: George Antheil's Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 3, with the BBC Philharmonic on Chandos, as well as Mahler's Symphony No. 10, leading the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland, on BIS.
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