Concert Reviews

Aug 23, 2017


18 August
Scottish Chamber Orchestra , Marc-André Hamelin

“Definition, drive and determination: Finnish conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste’s evening with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra was an electrifying and constantly surprising experience. Most of all, ­perhaps, in his ­concluding Sibelius Third Symphony, which he grabbed by the scruff of its neck in an urgent, vigorously projected first movement, and which he finished in a blaze of affirmation. The SCO players lapped up Saraste’s exacting attention, with beautifully translucent but chiselled textures, and a bite to their playing that made it thrillingly present.

…. Saraste opened with an expansive Beethoven Leonore No. 3 Overture that felt like he was barely keeping the music’s surging power in check. It was an evening of bristling energy, guided and channelled by expert hands.”

21 August 2017
David Kettle, The Scotsman
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Jul 20, 2017


13 July 2017
WDR Sinfonieorchester

“Whoever thinks that the Nordic cool of a Scandinavian conductor might affect the Romantic sound of Brahms, can rest assured given the coherent, almost song-like fluent passages, glowing horns and perfectly blended sounds…
Saraste crafted the sonorous interplay between, in his own words, optimism and pessimism, to a sculptural effect.
He and his musicians accomplished this in a sensational manner.”

15 July 2017
Olaf Weiden, Kölnische Rundschau / General-Anzeiger

Jun 5, 2017

Berlioz: Requiem “Grand Messe des Morts” – Cologne Cathedral

18 May
WDR Symphony Orchestra, WDR Rundfunkchor, Tschechisch Philharmonischer Chor Brno, Andrew Staples

“That the chief conductor of WDR Symphony, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, does not concern himself with superficial effects makes him even more intense, as he conveys an internal tension and transparency. These images of sound were as powerful as they were subtly structured.”

20 May 2017
Josef Oehrlein, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

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May 15, 2017


5 & 7 May
Wiener Symphoniker, Sol Gabetta

“Jukka-Pekka Saraste ensured an original Finnish sound experience with Sibelius’ second symphony: the towering heights, elfish light reflections and bold eruptions were achieved with technical perfection and a flourishing wealth of colours.”

11 May 2017
Heinz Sichrovsky,

Apr 25, 2017


19 & 20 April
Orchestre de Paris, Jan Lisiecki

“The final Allegretto, very complex in format, was especially convincing in the coda, culminating in a storm of applause by the audience for the conductor and the orchestra, then by the musicians for a chief who seems to have truly convinced them.”

20 April 2017
Vincent Guillemin, altamusica

Apr 5, 2017


31 March & 1 April
Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Anssi Karttunen

“The Konzerthausorchester… guided by Jukka-Pekka Saraste from the deep valleys to the dramatic summits of this rarely performed symphony … without caprice, but with irresistible urge.”

3 April 2017
Matthias Nöther, Berliner Morgenpost

Mar 27, 2017


10 March 2017
WDR Sinfonieorchester, Christian Tetzlaff

“Ja, das war großer, erfüllter “Tschai”, eindringlich im Jedem Moment – mit satt schwelgenden Geigenkantilenen, dramaturgisch makellosen Übergängem, herrlichen Steigerungen und gnoßer Wucht der rhythmischharmonischen Vertikale.
Dem Ende des ersten Satzes wuchs die Qualität eines fast schon Mahler’schen Zusammenbruchs zu, und wie Saraste das zentrale Schicksalsmotiv zunächst als Memento mori inszenierte, diesen Effekt am Ende aber ins Triumphale umkehrte, das war intellektuell wie emotional bestechend.

Das Orchester durfte sich wieder einmal zu beglückwünschen, diesen Chef zu haben.”

“The end of the first movement had an almost Mahlerian quality … captivating both intellectually and emotionally. Once again, the orchestra could congratulate themselves on having such a chief conductor.”

13 March 2017
MaS, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger

Mar 18, 2017


5 & 6 March 2017
Frankfurter Opern- Und Museumorchester, Anna Vinnitskaya
“Time and again, Saraste hauled off ravishing dynamic climaxes, without any danger of overstretched accentuation, as can be experienced so frequently elsewhere. The sonic image remained transparent despite its abundance.”

7 March 2017
Gerhard Schroth, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
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Feb 23, 2017


17 & 18 February 2017
WDR Sinfonieorchester, Karita Mattila

“Jukka-Pekka Saraste has rarely seemed more inspired than on this evening. He furnished the three excerpts from the stage music for the play “Kuolema” by Arvid Järnefelt, including the famous “Valse triste”, with illustrative urgency. His involvement with Igor Stravinsky’s burlesque “Petrushka” suite seemed almost even stronger. His accurate, steadfast leadership of the orchestra…was combined with a richly colourful energy of sound and a dramatically sharpened impulsiveness. He lent Stravinsky’s music an expectionally strong development … One left the concert with a tingling sensation.”

20 February 2017
Christoph Zimmermann, Kölner General-Anzeiger/Kölnische Rundschau

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