“Helios Overture developed out of nothing into a climax of majestic radiance. This was just a taster for the palette of sounds Storgårds brought into play for the Sibelius.” The Guardian
Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra as well as Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa, John Storgårds has a dual career as a conductor and violin virtuoso and is widely recognised for his creative flair for programming. He additionally holds the title of Artistic Director of the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland.
Storgårds appears with such orchestras as WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Bamberger Symphoniker, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Netherlands Radio, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Symphony, CBSO, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, all the major Nordic orchestras including Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra where he was Chief Conductor 2008-2015. Further afield, he appears with Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand Symphonies as well as Boston, St Louis, Toronto Symphonies and the Cleveland Orchestra. Soloists with whom he collaborates include Yefim Bronfman, Colin Currie, Sol Gabetta, Håkan Hardenberger, Kari Kriikku, Dejan Lazic, Karita Mattila, Matti Salminen Gil Shaham, Baiba Skride, Christian Tetzlaff, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Frank Peter Zimmermann.
His repertoire includes all symphonies by Sibelius, Nielsen, Bruckner, Brahms, Beethoven and Schumann, and with Helsinki Philharmonic last season he has undertaken a full cycle of all ten symphonies by Schubert. With the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland he gave a historical cycle of all 54 symphonies by Mozart (including the unnumbered works). He has given Finnish premieres of Schumann’s only opera ‘Genoveva’, and his early ‘Zwickau’ symphony, plus world premieres of Sibelius’ Suite op. 117 for violin and strings and the Late Fragments. As a violinist, Storgårds also gave the Finnish premiere of Schumann’s own violin version of the cello concerto and his Violin Sonata No 3. Storgårds regularly performs world premieres of works by contemporary composers such as Kaija Saariaho, Brett Dean and Per Nørgård and Pēteris Vasks. Many of these composers have dedicated their works to him.
Storgårds conducted the Finnish premiere of Haydn’s Orlando Paladino at the Finnish National Opera, a production which remains one of the most successful in Finland. He has also conducted most Mozart operas and major operas by Strauss and Verdi. As part of his imaginative programming with Lapland Chamber Orchestra, the group regularly performs opera – last season featured Walton’s The Bear.
Highlights of this season include Storgårds’ return to the BBC Proms with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. He will take up his tenure as Principal Guest Conductor with the National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa and embark on tours to Mexico as well as Europe with Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra to mark the occasion of Jean Sibelius’s 150th birthday. Storgårds will give his Japanese debut with NHK Symphony Orchestra. Further debut appearances include New York Philharmonic and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Storgårds’ vast discography includes recordings of works by Schumann, Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn. With BBC Philharmonic, his much anticipated cycle of Sibelius symphonies was released on Chandos Records in spring 2014 and most recently a cycle of Nielsen symphonies released to critical acclaim. Other successes have included discs of works by Korngold and Rautavaara, the latter receiving a Grammy nomination and a Gramophone Award 2012. His 2013 disc of Holmboe symphonies with Lapland Chamber Orchestra was shortlisted for a Gramophone Award and his recording of Pēteris Vasks’ Second Symphony and Violin Concerto, also featuring him as soloist, won the Cannes Classical Disc of the Year Award in 2004.
Storgårds studied violin with Chaim Taub and subsequently became concert master of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen, before studying conducting with Jorma Panula and Eri Klas. He received the Finnish State Prize for Music in 2002 and the Pro Finlandia Prize 2012.
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