Concert Reviews

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

Read more

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
Read more

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

Read more

May 15, 2017


5 & 7 May 2017
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 2017
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 2017
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