Concert Reviews

Dec 18, 2016


12 & 13 December 2016
Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Alisa Weilerstein

“It is always a joy to re-encounter Jukka-Pekka Saraste at the head of the OCL. At the age of 60, the Finnish conductor has nothing to prove anymore. He instils his long experience with symphonic phalanxes into the musicians whilst entirely complying with the contingents of a chamber orchestra. His delicate and expressive gestures as well as his rejection of pathos allow him to illuminate the various facets of Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings. …. The Lover by Sibelius, played at the beginning of the concert, exuded the same subtlety. A beautiful evening …”

14 December 2016
Julian Sykes, Le Temps

Dec 14, 2016


7 December 2016
BBC Symphony Orchestra

“Saraste’s concern for clarity paid many dividends (feathers ruffled), yet there was no lack of lyricism, tenderness or exquisiteness, and some passages were related directly back to Tchaikovsky; here were forest murmurs, lightness of touch for swiftness and plenty of drama, too, leading to an ‘Infernal Dance’ that was wild, not in speed but in temperament, menace accrued. Significantly, Saraste knocked a few minutes off the average Firebird-1910 timing, but that’s no indication of how each segment was persuasive and that everything belonged to everything else. Solos were full of character and the triumphal ending was glorious.”

“Saraste guided an impressive reading, alive to the Sturm und Drang and onomatopoeic aspects of the first movement… As virile and well-drilled as the opening Allegro spiritoso was, there was room for manoeuvre, as there was in the slow movement, turned and decorated to a nicety and warm-hearted. The Minuet was muscular, the piquant Trio at-one with its surrounds, and the Finale was ideally moderate in tempo so as to give the shortest notes a chance. There was no lack of joie de vivre, however, and this really was a thoroughly agreeable and ‘modern’ rendition of marvellous music.”

7 December 2016
Colin Anderson, Classical Source
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Oct 17, 2016


7 October 2016
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Chœur de Radio France, Géraldine Chauvet, Yann Beuron, Henk Neven

“Jukka-Pekka Saraste on great form, knowing well how to bring out the best in the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, was the primary and magnificent architect of this exhilarating Roméo et Juliette.”

7 October 2016
Gilles Lesur, ConcertoNet

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May 9, 2016


29 & 30 April 2016
WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne, Kölner Domchor, Female voices of the WDR Rundfunkchor, Wiebke Lehmkuhl

“Happy the man able to witness this superb evening with the WDR Symphony Orchestra. Under the baton of Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Mahler’s Third gained plenty of drive. The Finnish conductor’s view of the score was defined by structural foresight and multi-dimensional sculpting. Whilst he let the double-basses play in a burrowing way, in the upper registers a certain elegance prevailed; a sense of wide breath. Fierce eruptions were wildly carved out, but never uncontrolled. Under Saraste, Mahler appeared stringent and was performed with virtuosity, with great moments of intensity in the final movement.”

2 May 2016
Matthias Corvin, Kölnische Rundschau

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Apr 10, 2016


2 & 3 April 2016
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Boris Giltburg

“In the opening movement, the strings produced a rarified transparency that evoked images of icy winds blowing over snowy plains. Saraste conducted like a reserved gentleman: always in control with but a few wild gestures and exuding a collected calm, even during Sibelius’ fiercest moments. He expertly layered the composer’s icy tension. Visibly engrossed by the Rotterdam Philharmonic’s sound, Saraste sustained a fragile suspense in his ceaseless momentum as he continued with the second movement Tempo andante.”

“Saraste’s Sibelius swept you off your feet.”

6 April 2016
David Pinedo,

Feb 29, 2016


19 & 20 February 2016
WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne, WDR Rundfunkchor, Laura Aikin

“A magnificent Ravel with Saraste”

“Ravel’s large-scale piece was a sensational experience, with Jukka-Pekka Saraste on the podium, drawing out the full musical drama from the WDR Symphony Orchestra and the WDR Rundfunkchor. Although this music was originally intended to support a ballet, when played with so much impetus it needs no additional imagery. It all develops in the mind”.

22 February 2016
Johannes Zink, Kölnische Rundschau

Dec 20, 2015


4 & 5 December 2015
WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne, Johannes Wohlmacher

“The audience was electrified by his energy as soon as he stepped on the podium. With impulsive gestures, Jukka-Pekka Saraste raised a storm from the explosive WDR Symphony Orchestra … with their perfect synergy, conductor and orchestra prove themselves to be a highly versatile chameleon.”

7 December 2015
Rainer Nonnenmann, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger

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Dec 1, 2015


12 & 13 November 2015
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Karita Mattila, Jennifer Pike

“The Oslo Philharmonic’s sole Conductor Laureate possesses a closeness and an under-standing for his compatriot’s music which does not render the mysticism alienating – nor the lyrical affected.

Completely free of the sentimentality which lies within, he captures the whole and reveals the paths to the Finnish forests – and the unfathomable depths which carry within them a strong existential appeal.”

13 November 2015
Vaart Land

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Nov 9, 2015


4 November 2015
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Paul Lewis

“Big-boned readings, free of gratuitous effect or personal glory, precisely articulated, planned in the long term, are his hallmark.”

“Saraste proved himself unrivalled in getting his 95 players to respond as one to every nuance of tempo, phrasing, pause and inflexion…The cumulative effect was thrilling, cinematic, enriching.”

“Unleashed, the LPO, more than a few members no doubt remembering the molten Tennstedt days, rose to the occasion.”

6 November 2015
Ateş Orga,

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