Concert Reviews

Dec 1, 2014

STRAUSS/BRUCKNER – Theater am Marientor, Duisburg, Germany

27 November 2014
WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Paul van Zelm

“Saraste does not build Bruckner 7 like a resonant cathedral, but rather lets the “large symphonic snake”, as it was named by the music critic Eduard Hanslick (1825-1904), run past the listener without any excess pathos or dynamics. […] Saraste´s sober interpretation does not lack force nor spatial width. And Bruckner´s instrumentation mastery is even clearer thanks to every single bar’s clarity of sound.“

“It is fascinating, how softly the slow movement of Bruckner subsides with the sound of the Wagner tubas, and how distinctively yet smoothly the strings react to that. Saraste holds the brass instruments under control, so that he manages to create an almost perfect balance between the instrument groups. And that without any loss of greatness and vigour.”

29 November 2014
Pedro Obiera, WAZ

Oct 1, 2014


5&6 September 2014
WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Xavier De Maistre

“A standard interpretation would not reveal the sense of this particular passage…to the listener – as its signals would remain buried in the depth of the score. Not so with a conductor of Jukka-Pekka Saraste’s stature… His interpretation of Schubert’s late work stems from Mahler – he unearths what is agitated and disturbing, and makes a compositional logic tangible which, while not that of Beethoven, does not miss out on the lyricism and the flow of the melodies.”

8 September 2014
MaS, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger

Sep 21, 2014

Rihm/Schubert – Berlin Philharmonie, Germany

17 September 2014
WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Trio Jean Paul

“Diligence is the first duty of the interpreter if he wants to reveal the work in all its “ubiquitous abundance”. The Finnish conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste takes precision as a starting point and achieves a reading which is musical in the best sense. ”

19 September 2014
Sybill Mahlke, Tagesspiegel

Jun 1, 2014

DVORAK/BRAHMS – Great Festival Hall, Salzburg, Austria

22 May 2014
WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Vilde Frang

“Brahms as it should be”

23 May 2014
Christiane Keckers, Salzburger Kulturzeitung

May 15, 2014

LUTOSLAWSKI/BRUCKNER – Konzerthaus Berlin, Germany

2,3&4 May 2014
Konzerthausorchester Berlin

“A curiously exciting reading which never got boring…the final movement in particular developed a tremendous energy. The Konzerthausorchester convinced with a present string sound, wisely restrained brass and soulful woodwinds….

Saraste is a conductor of subdued emotionality who does not require superficial effects to tout this music, which is impressive enough as it is.”

5 May 2014
Benedikt von Bernstorff, Der Tagesspiegel

Apr 14, 2014


9 April 2014
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Renaud Capuçon

“In Saraste’s lithe reading, the wraithlike clarinet and oboe, heroic solo horn, handsome trombones and firmly accented strings combined in a drama rich with Wagnerian characters, faint echoes of Beethoven, and hints of the greater landscapes to come in Mahler’s symphonies.”

11 April 2014
Anna Picard, The Times (UK)

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Apr 2, 2014

Rachmaninov/Beethoven – Cologne Philharmonie, Germany

27&28 March 2014
WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne, Anna Vinnitskaya

“Jukka-Pekka Saraste at the conductor’s stand endeavored to have some of the fourth symphony’s spirit resonate with the entire concert. This concerned the intonation, concise despite all the sumptuous violins, the clarity of lines and details, and altogether the relinquishment of the kind of perfumed sentiment, the bath of milk and honey, which sometimes makes Rachmaninov so unpalatable. …

Saraste continued his involvement with Beethoven by bringing the dramatically sharpened surface and the reverse parts of the fourth symphony into an exciting relation – supported by the WDR musicians with their rousingly splendid playing.”

31 March 2014
Markus Schwering, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger

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Mar 25, 2014

Mahler Symphony No.6 – Oslo Concert Hall, Norway

strong>6 March 2014
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra

‘’…an experience testing the limits of endurance…”

“From earlier meetings I often think of Mahler’s sixth symphony as Saraste’s speciality. After this performance, that impression is only more strongly reinforced. Further, the Oslo Philharmonic rose to the challenges posed by both Mahler and Saraste. With Saraste more energetic on the podium than I can remember ever having experienced him before, the musicians gave it everything they had. The result was devastating, ranging from the most delicately tender to the overwhelming; cascades of sound drenching us without any significant attempts by the composer to soften the effect.

Mahler’s sixth symphony can only sound like this if there is a good rapport between conductor and orchestra. On Thursday night this was at its very best.”

8 March 2014
Ståle Wikshåland, Dagbladet

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Jan 22, 2014

Rachmaninov/Shostakovich/Prokofiev – Salle Pleyel, Paris, France

10 January 2014
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Natalia Gutman

“Music Director of the Cologne Symphony Orchestra since 2010, Jukka-Pekka Saraste is certainly one of the most interesting conductors of the moment. Regularly invited by Radio France Philharmonic, the intensity of his interpretations confirm each time his ability to blend by osmosis into the most complex of music.

In a programme which was Russian through and through – where Isle of the Dead Rachmaninov sat alongside Symphony No. 3 “The Fiery Angel ” by Prokofiev and Shostakovich’s 1st Concerto for cello – the Finnish conductor demonstrated a feverishness and controlled violence culminating in the finale (Allegro agitato) of Prokofiev’s work, sustained by an infallible hand. The energy but also the expressive clarity of the reading, the quality of the phrases and the sense of structure, pushed the Philharmonic to the extreme, even if it meant putting brass and woodwinds in danger.

In the Concerto op. 107 by Shostakovich…the experience of Saraste, who never forces the tone, allowed an accompaniment of foolproof subtlety to be woven, testimony to the consummate art of conducting.”

13 January 2014
Michel Le Naour,

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