John Storgårds


“Indeed, the impressive musical results supported the acclaim that has greeted the (…) Finnish conductor at every step of his rapid podium ascent worldwide.” Chicago Tribune

Chief Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of 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 as well as his rousing yet refined performances. As Artistic Director of the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, a title he has been holding for over 25 years already, Storgårds earned global critical acclaim for the ensemble’s adventurous performances and award-winning recordings.

Storgårds appears with such orchestras as Bamberger Symphoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Münchner Philharmoniker, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchestra Sinfonica Nationale della RAI, BBC Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra as well as all major Nordic orchestras including the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was Chief Conductor from 2008 to 2015. He also regularly returns to the Münchener Kammerorchester, where he was Artistic Partner from 2016 to 2019. Further afield, he appears with Sydney, Melbourne, Yomiuri Nippon and NHK Symphony Orchestras as well as Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, St. Louis and Detroit Symphony Orchestras. Soloists with whom he collaborates include Yefim Bronfman, Sol Gabetta, Kirill Gerstein, Håkan Hardenberger, Kari Kriikku, Gil Shaham, Baiba Skride, Christian Tetzlaff, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Frank Peter Zimmermann as well as Soile Isokoski and Anne Sofie von Otter.

Storgårds’ vast repertoire includes all symphonies by Sibelius, Nielsen, Bruckner, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert and Schumann, including the Finnish premieres of Schumann’s only opera ‘Genoveva’ and the early ‘Zwickau’ symphony, plus world premieres of Sibelius’ Suite op. 117 for violin and strings and the Late Fragments. As soloist, he gave the Finnish premiere of Schumann’s own violin transcription of the cello concerto, as well as the Violin Sonata No 3. Embracing contemporary repertoire in his programmes, Storgårds regularly performs world premieres with many works being dedicated to him including Per Nørgård’s Symphony No. 8 as well as Kaija Saariaho’s Nocturne for solo violin. In opera he conducted the world premiere production of Sebastian Fagerlund’s ‘Höstsonaten – Autumn Sonata’ at the Finnish National Opera directed by Stéphane Braunschweig. The title was a finalist at the 2018 International Opera Awards and was revived in autumn 2019.

In the 2021/22 season, Storgårds celebrates his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker with Bruckner’s ‘saucy’ 6th symphony. The programme also includes the world premiere of Gerald Barry’s new concerto for double bass featuring the orchestra’s principal bass player Matthew McDonald. Summer 2021 sees Storgårds return to the Dresdner Philharmonie for a special post-pandemic adaptation of Grieg’s Peer Gynt performed on the beautiful banks of the river Elbe as well as the BBC Proms with the BBC Philharmonic. Further highlights include the world premiere of Sebastian Fagerlund’s Chamber Symphony “Auroral” with the Tapiola Sinfonietta as well as his return to the SWR Symphonieorchester. Storgårds and the Münchner Philharmoniker will give the world premiere of Fazil Say’s Phoenix, a new concerto for two pianos with Lucas and Arthur Jussen. In spring 2022 Storgårds also returns to the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for a podium swap with his “dynamic duo”-partner Barbara Hannigan.

Storgårds’ award winning discography includes recordings of works by Schumann, Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn but also rarities by Holmboe and Vasks’ featuring him as soloist. Two cycles of symphonies by Sibelius (2014) and Nielsen (2015) with the BBC Philharmonic were released to critical acclaim by Chandos. November 2019 saw the release of the third and final volume of works by American avant-garde composer George Antheil. Their latest project, recording the late symphonies Shostakovich, commenced in April 2020 with the release of Symphony No.11. For BIS Records, John Storgårds and the Lapland Chamber Orchestra have released numerous critically acclaimed recordings, including Mahler’s 10th symphony in a special arrangement by Michelle Castelletti as well as a recording of works by Finnish composer Outi Tarkiainen. Other successes include discs of works by Nørgård, Korngold, Aho and Rautavaara, the latter receiving a Grammy nomination and a Gramophone Award in 2012.

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.