“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. 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, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, BBC Symphony Orchestra as well as all the major Nordic orchestras including Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra where he was Chief Conductor from 2008 to 2015. Further afield, he appears with the Sydney, Melbourne and NHK Symphony Orchestras as well as the St Louis and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Soloists with whom he collaborates include Yefim Bronfman, Sol Gabetta, Håkan Hardenberger, Kari Kriikku, Gil Shaham, Baiba Skride, Christian Tetzlaff, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Frank Peter Zimmermann.
Storgårds’ vast repertoire includes all symphonies by Sibelius, Nielsen, Bruckner, Brahms, Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann. He gave a historical cycle of all 54 symphonies by Mozart (including the unnumbered works) and conducted Finnish premieres of Schumann’s only opera ‘Genoveva’, his early ‘Zwickau’ symphony, plus world premieres of Sibelius’ Suite op. 117 for violin and strings and the Late Fragments. As a violinist, Storgårds 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 Brett Dean, Per Nørgård, Kaija Saariaho and Pēteris Vasks. Many of these composers have dedicated their works to him. In opera he conducted the world premiere production of Sebastian Fagerlund’s new opera ‘Höstsonaten – Autumn Sonata’ at the Finnish National Opera and directed by Stéphane Braunschweig. The title was a finalist at the 2018 International Opera Awards. Storgårds further lead Haydn’s ‘Orlando Paladino’, a new production by Paul-Emile Fourny of Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ at the Savonlinna Opera Festival as well as major titles by Strauss, Verdi and most Mozart operas.
Highlights of his 2018/19 season include Storgårds’ return to the BBC Proms with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra as well as his return to the Blossom Festival with the Cleveland Orchestra. Debut appearances include the Pittsburgh and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and Münchner Philharmoniker as well as the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden. He further gives his subscription series debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and returns to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra Washington as well as the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin for concerts at the Berliner Philharmonie as well as on tour conducting Bruckner’s monumental symphony No. 5.
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. Their latest recording project includes works by the American avant-garde composer George Antheil. 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.