In the 2019 - 2020 season Santtu-Matias Rouvali continues as Chief Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony and as Principal Conductor Designate of the Philharmonia Orchestra, where he succeeds Esa-Pekka Salonen in 2021 -2022. Alongside these posts he retains his longstanding Chief Conductor position with Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra close to his home in Finland.
His international profile continues to flourish, with debuts this season with New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in wide-ranging repertoire. In New York he conducts the New York premiere of Bryce Dessner’s Wires, and at the Concertgebouw he conducts the world premiere of a new piece by Theo Verbey, as well as Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex. In Berlin he is looking forward to performing Ravel’s piano concerto in G minor with Alice Sara Ott, alongside Sieblius Symphony 1.
He has built a loyal following internationally after successful tour concerts in Vienna with Gothenburg Symphony last season he returns there to conduct the Wiener Symphoniker and Nicola Benedetti. In 2019 - 2020 he returns to several orchestras across Europe, including the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
Rouvali’s Gothenburg season opens with a programme featuring Leif Ove Andsnes, the orchestra’s Artist in Residence for 2019 - 2020. Following last season’s successful tour of Germany and Austria with Alice Sara Ott and Martin Grubinger, Rouvali and Gothenburg Symphony are back on the road in February 2020 touring Japan. Together with violinist Fumiaki Miura and pianist Mari Kodama, they perform works by Shostakovich, Beethoven and Sibelius across eight major cities from Fukuoka to Tokyo. He also accompanies Philharmonia Orchestra on their tour to the Canary Islands in January 2020, performing in Gran Canaria and Tenerife as part of the Canary Islands Festival. In London, highlights of his season with Philharmonia include extracts from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Prokofiev’s Symphony 5 as well as Sibelius Symphony 5, alongside soloists Nikolay Lugansky, Behzod Aburaimov and Nemanja Radulovic.
Adding another cornerstone to his tenure in Gothenburg, Rouvali is making his mark on the orchestra’s impressive recording legacy. In January 2019 they released a celebrated first disc of an ambitious Sibelius cycle, pairing the First Symphony with the early tone poem En saga. The album won the Gramophone Editor’s Choice award, the Choc de Classica, a prize from the German Record Critics and the prestigious French Diapason d’Or “Decouverte”. The FFF Telerama commented that “In directing this highly-esteemed ensemble, the young Finnish conductor transcends in the repertoire of his fellow countryman. Breathtaking.”
With Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and violinist Baiba Skride, he has recorded five concertos together on the Orfeo label: Nielsen, Sibelius, Bernstein, Korngold and Rozsa.
Alongside a busy symphonic conducting career, as Chief Conductor in Tampere he conducted Verdi’s La forza del destino, and the world premiere of Olli Kortekangas’s My Brother’s Keeper (Veljeni vartija) with Tampere Opera in spring 2018.