Chief Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic 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 held for nearly 25 years, Storgårds earned global critical acclaim for the ensemble’s adventurous performances and award-winning recordings.
Storgårds appears with such orchestras as WDR Sinfonieorchester in Cologne, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra as well as all 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 Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. 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 will be revived in autumn 2019.
Highlights of his 2019/20 season include Storgårds’ return to the BBC Proms with the BBC Philharmonic with whom he will embark on a major European tour this autumn. Following debut appearances last season with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Münchner Philharmoniker, Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden as well as his subscription debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Storgårds returns to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, Oslo Philharmonic, Bamberger Symphoniker, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin as well as Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien at the Konzerthaus in Vienna as well as on tour to Asia.
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. For BIS Records, John Storgårds and the Lapland Chamber Orchestra have released a critically acclaimed recording of Mahler’s 10th symphony in a special arrangement by Michelle Castelletti. 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.