Concert Reviews

Sep 20, 2018


12, 13&14 September 2018
Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Janine Jansen

“Saraste’s first movement was given an emphatic, exhilarating reading…graceful and elegant in the Ländler, properly savage in the Rondo-Burleske.
The final ‘dying’ movement was a glory, with enchanting solos from both concertmaster Andreas Janke and principal viola Gilad Karni. After almost inaudible closing bars, Saraste held the audience in the palm of his hand before allowing them to start the generous applause.”

14 September 2018
John Rhodes, Seen and Heard International

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Aug 3, 2018


6&7 July 2018
WDR Sinfonieorchester, Pekka Kuusisto

“Bravi were elicited by the pagan spectacle of Stravinsky’s “Spring Sacrifice”, which, despite all its vehemence and coarse rhythms, notably puts the orchestra’s current playing culture to the test. And after eight years with Saraste, this is really impressive. Under his encouraging grasp, Stravinsky’s ballet machine “Le Sacre de Printemps”… reached the finish line as the winner; the bravi were well-deserved.”

9 July 2018
Olaf Weiden, Kölnische Rundschau

“Stravinsky’s music, oscillating between primitivism and construcivism, found congenial interpreters in the excellently prepared WDR Sinfonieorchester, which under chief conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste transformed the Cologne Philharmonie into orgiastic pandemonium.”

9 July 2018
Rainer Nonnenmann, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger

May 1, 2018


20&21 April 2018
WDR Sinfonieorchester, Arabella Steinbacher

“It was a true experience to listen to the various parts of the mosaic being brought together and gradually put into context, especially in the triumphantly elaborate, exalted finale.”

23 April 2018
Marianne Kierspel, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger

Mar 22, 2018


23&24 February 2018
WDR Sinfonieorchester, Christiane Karg,Ingeborg Danz, Maximilian Schmitt, Tareq Nazmi,
NDR Chor, WDR Rundfunkchor

“With his flexible conducting, he elicited a smooth and cultivated sound from his orchestra. Swift, but by no means forced tempi instilled a wonderful liveliness to the music.”

“…transparent sound, nuanced down to the smallest detail without neglecting the overarching line”

“The Pastorale was illuminated with all the refinement it deserves. Saraste created ravishing transitions, placing emphasis on seemingly trivial matters such as trills or simple accompanying figures, always keeping an eye on the overall form. … on the whole a wonderful performance.”

“…a captivating interpretation, leaving a fabulous impression. A mercurial first movement, a wonderfully poignant third, and finally a breathtaking Finale that left nothing to be desired…”

26 February 2018
Mathias Nofze, General-Anzeiger

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Feb 14, 2018


1 February 2018
Zürcher Kammerorchester, Radu Lupu

“Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in D major op. 36 shines in glorious colours, captivates with taut dynamics and occasionally almost Mozartian lightness, displaying grace and finesse. The force of the entries never seems overbearing, clearing the way for dramatic climaxes”.

3 February 2018
Svend Peternell, Berner Zeitung

Nov 22, 2017


17&18 November 2017
WDR Sinfonieorchester

Remarkably, this conductor and his orchestra succeed in expressing a very individual style of playing Beethoven. More precisely, there is a paradoxical combination of sobriety and fervour to be found …

The radiance arises entirely from the very precise realisation of inner musical processes – from razor-sharp articulation, minutely and strategically contrived crescendi, elaborate transitions between the formal sections and a great tonal vitality in the details that goes to the depths of the score.

As a result, an energy is created that can not be increased further, in the fast and slow passages alike, and which sometimes makes the sound virtually explode. This is by no means a cosy Viennese Beethoven — the orchestra plays without a safety net, with the listener perched, mentally breathless, on the edge of his chair.

… “Saraste’s Beethoven” is an occasion.

20 November 2017
Markus Schwering, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger

Aug 23, 2017


18 August 2017
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 2017
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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