About

Last update:
Jul 18, 2018

“Everything he tackles … is a success, regardless of whether it is Beethoven, Brahms, Schönberg or Stravinsky.”

– Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger

Jukka-Pekka Saraste has established himself as one of the outstanding conductors of his generation, demonstrating remarkable musical depth and integrity. Born in Heinola, Finland, he began his career as a violinist before training as a conductor with Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

An artist of exceptional versatility and breadth, Jukka-Pekka Saraste feels a special affinity with the sound and style of late Romantic music. Equally, he maintains a strong connection with the music of our time, such as that of Dutilleux, Lindberg, Salonen and Saariaho, among others. He conducted world premieres of works by Wolfgang Rihm, Friedrich Cerha, Pascal Dusapin and others. Moreover, he is co-founder of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, which has a strong emphasis on contemporary music.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste has served as Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne since 2010 and extended his contract in 2015 until the end of the 2018/2019 season. He was Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra from 2006 to 2013, and at the end of his tenure was appointed Conductor Laureate, the very first such title bestowed by that orchestra. His previous positions include the principal conductorships of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (1987-1991), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (1987-2001), after which he was made Conductor Laureate, Toronto Symphony Orchestra (1994-2001), and he also served as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Advisor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. He founded the Finnish Chamber Orchestra, the Artistic Advisor of which he still is. He also initiated the orchestra´s annual Tammisaari Festival, for which he is Artistic Director. Last but not least, he is a founding member of LEAD! The Orchestra Project, which aims to teach effective musical leadership and communication skills to aspiring young musicians within the context of orchestra playing, in workshops, concerts and masterclasses. His LEAD! activities in 2018 include orchestra projects at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne, Aurora Festival in Stockholm and NRW Orchesterzentrum Dortmund.

His guest engagements have led him to the major orchestras worldwide, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Munich Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and the leading Scandinavian orchestras, among others. In North America he has conducted the Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony and New York Philharmonic as well as Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste´s extensive discography includes the complete symphonies of Sibelius and Nielsen with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has made a number of well-received recordings with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra of works by Bartók, Dutilleux, Mussorgsky and Prokofiev for Warner Finlandia, most notably a recording of Dutilleux’s Second Symphony. His recording of Mahler´s 6th Symphony with the Oslo Philharmonic has received widespread acknowledgement. His CDs with WDR Symphony Orchestra for Hänssler have likewise earned him high critical praise, and include Schönberg’s Pelleas and Melisande, Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol, Brahms’ complete Symphonies as well as Mahler’s 5th and 9th Symphony and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8. Most recently, he and the orchestra recorded a complete cycle of Beethoven’s symphonies. The first CD with the symphonies No 4 and 5 has been released in June 2018, the box with the complete cycle will follow in October 2018.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste has received the Pro Finlandia Prize, the Sibelius Medal, and the Finnish State Prize for Music. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from York University, Toronto and an honorary doctorate from the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki.

2018/2019 – July 2018
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WDR

Finnish Chamber Orchestra

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