John Storgards
© Marco BorggreveArtist

„Storgårds secures as compelling a rendering of 'The Bard' as I can ever recall.“

20 / 23


Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra as well as Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa and Artistic Partner of the Munich Chamber Orchestra, John Storgårds has a dual career as a conductor and violin virtuoso and is widely recognised for his creative flair for programming. He is also Artistic Director of the Lapland Chamber Orchestra.

Storgårds appears with such orchestras as WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Bamberger Sym-phoniker, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Symphony, CBSO, all the major Nordic orches-tras including Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra where he was Chief Conductor 2008-2015. Fur-ther afield, he appears with Sydney, Melbourne, New Zealand and NHK Symphonies as well as Boston, St Louis, Toronto, Vancouver Symphonies, Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Soloists with whom he collaborates include Yefim Bronfman, Colin Currie, Sol Gabetta, Håkan Hardenberger, Kari Kriikku, Dejan Lazic, Karita Mattila, 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 he has undertaken a full cycle of all symphonies by Schubert. With the Lapland Chamber Orchestra he gave a historical cycle of all 54 symphonies by Mozart (including the unnumbered works). Storgårds has given numerous premieres including Sibelius’ Late Fragments, Schumann’s only opera ‘Genoveva’ as well as works by contemporary composers such as Kaija Saariaho, Brett Dean, Per Nørgård and Pēteris Vasks many of whom have dedicated their works to him. In opera, Storgårds conducted the Finnish premiere of Haydn’s Orlando Paladino at the Finnish National Opera and most recently a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Savonlinna Opera Festival. Storgårds conducted most Mozart operas and major titles by Strauss and Verdi. As part of his imaginative programming with Lapland Chamber Orchestra, the group regularly performs opera – most recently Walton’s The Bear.

Highlights of this season include Storgårds’ return to the BBC Proms with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. He will give debut appearances with the Gewandhausorchester zu Leipzig, Orchestre National de France and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin for a concert at the Philharmonie.

Storgårds’ vast discography include highly acclaimed cycles of Sibelius’s and Nielsen’s symphonies for Chandos Records. Other successes have included a disc of works by Einojuhani Rautavaara, receiving a Grammy nomination and a Gramophone Award 2012. 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 recording of concertos for theremin and horn by Kalevi Aho received the distinguished ECHO Klassik award in December 2015. 

Storgårds studied violin with Chaim Taub and subsequently became concert master of the Swe-dish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen, before studying conducting with Jorma Panula and Eri Klas. He received the Finnish State Prize and the Pro Finlandia Prize 2012.

SEASON 2016/2017


“He is a lavishly gifted, fiercely intelligent, intensely communicative musician, and of the finest interpreters of Scandinavian and Nordic repertoire anywhere in the world. […] his Sibelius Symphony No. 6 was sublime, astonishing, masterful: by far the best performance of this composer I’ve yet heard from NACO. […] Storgårds’ impeccable instinct for structure and propulsion gave the work sculptural dynamism and unshakeable mass. Tension, delicacy, ascetic fury were all carved in vivid bas-relief. The orchestra’s sound was deliciously dark and frosty.”

Tales From The Red Chair, Natasha Gauthier, 03.02.2017

“Storgårds’ view was masterful, starting with his explosive attack on the opening notes. An animated presence, he controlled the work’s epic, powerful sweep with thrilling momentum, while illuminating its stunning atmospheres along the way.”, Janelle Gelfand, 28.01.2017

“New music of a very, very high quality in a thrilling performance - and we have Storgårds to thank for both.”

Gramophone, Andrew Mellor, 01.2017

“Think of a mirror that you pass by every day in a room or hallway. Your reflection looks perfectly fine. But one day you bring along some cleaning spray and give the mirror a wipe, only to be taken aback by the newfound clarity and depth of the image reflected back at you. Storgårds took that proverbial bottle of Windex to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, which dates from 1888. The results were breathtaking, mainly because of the honesty and forthrightness with which Storgårds addressed its unabashed Romanticism.”

Musical Toronto, John Terauds, 08.12.2016

“Storgards’s dynamic control here and in Nielsen’s Symphony No 5 was stunning.”

The Times, Anna Picard, 03.08.2016

“Astonishingly good performance - Storgårds is a tonic for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. He raises the bar for them, and they respond.”

Classical Iconoclast, Doundou Tchil, 02.08.2016

“John Storgårds conducted the BBC Philharmonic on that journey through music expressed with an increasing physical immediacy, culminating in the graphic and almost tangible battle between the abstract forces of good and evil depicted within Carl Nielsen’s Fifth Symphony.”

Classical Source, Curtis Rogers, 01.08.2016

“The ensemble, deftly guided by Storgards, responded with admirable sensitivity and, in the kinetic dance-like passages, great snap.”

The Baltimore Sun, Tim Smith, 21.05.2016

“Mr. Storgards brought exceptional transparency and crisp articulation to Mahler’s colorful orchestral music. [...] Mr. Storgards emphasized the discontinuities and jarring turns of the music, as well as the piercing shards of dissonance that Sibelius folds into his deceptively sonorous harmonic language. Yet there was no sense of manipulation about the interpretation. Nothing was oversold or pumped up. The Philharmonic sounded sensational. During the standing ovation, the players clapped along with the audience every time Mr. Storgards took a bow.”

New York Times, Anthony Tommasini, 13.05.2016

“Storgårds picked apart the composer’s multi-layered musical lines brilliantly, and never let up in a hugely moving Romanze slow movement.”

The Telegraph, David Kettle, 28.02.2016

“There are few conductors around who are more riveting and involving in performance than Storgårds, [...] who gave an incredibly detailed account of the orchestral score, bringing wonderful variety to the string textures, an overarching beauty to the winds (especially at the end of the Canzonetta), and great Slavic fervour and anticipation to the dramatic, driving moments. The brass had remarkable ‘bite’. With this conducting, it seemed that a sense of musical space and natural motion just opened out as the work progressed – and the interaction and timing of soloist and conductor were impeccable.”

Vancouver Classical Music, Geoffrey Newman, 16.01.2016

“Storgards presents Beethoven like the raging revolutionary he was. His conducting is valiant, fierce, and passionate, with Beethovenian bursts of violence.”

Ottawa Citizen, Natasha Gauthier, 06.01.2016

“It is eye-opening to hear the (Nielsens) symphonies performed by John Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic for their sheer gorgeousness.”, Steven Kruger, 04.11.2015

“With Storgards, instinct and refinement become one, which is a rare gift indeed.”

The Telegraph, Ivan Hewitt, 21.07.2015

“Bold and incisive as ever Storgårds launched into the work with a ferocious energy constructing a performance of structural integrity and thrilling playing that penetrated right to the core of the work. The crucial elements of dynamic flow and continual movement were compellingly conveyed.”

Seen and Heard International, Michael Cookson, 12.06.2015

“Rarely have I heard these works (Nielsens) so convincingly constructed.”

Bachtrack, Rohan Shotton, 11.06.2015

“Here that vitality is held in balance with an edgy, uneasy calm, as Storgårds explores both extremes to the full, galvanising his BBC players as he goes — neat packaging, fine recording.”

Financial Times, Richard Fairman, 05.06.2015

“The sheer force and magnetism of the event boiled down to two words: John Storgards. [...] Storgards totally galvanised and ignited the RSNO in a grippingly-atmospheric and dramatic account of Sibelius's Nightride and Sunrise, where the chill, rustling pace of the gallop had the hair standing up on the back of my neck.”

The Herald Scotland, Michael Tumelty, 03.05.2015

Go back


Georg AntheilJohn Storgårds conducts pieces of George AntheilMay. 2017, Chandos, CD, Available on: Amazon
Bent Sørensen - MignonLapland Chamber Orchestra, Katrine Gislinge, John Storgårds, conductor & violinNov. 2016, Cacapo, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
Per Nørgård Symphonies 4 & 5Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, John StorgårdsMay. 2016, Dacapo, CD, Available on: Amazon
RautavaaraRubáiyát, Balada, Canto V Four Songs from RasputinMay. 2016, Ondine, CD, Available on: Amazon
Sunleif Rasmussen Symphony No.2'THE EARTH ANEW'May. 2016, Dacapo, CD
Per Nørgård Symphonies 2 & 6Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, John StorgårdsApr. 2016, Dacapo, CD
Dvořák - SukJosef Suk Fantasy in G minor, Op. 24 Antonin Dvořák Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53 Romance, Op. 11Mar. 2016, Ondine ODE 1279-5, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
Berlioz, Chausson, DuparcSoile Isokoski, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and John Storgårds performing orchestral songs by Chausson, Berlioz and DuparcJul. 2015, Ondine, CD, Available on: Amazon
Nielsen: Complete SymphoniesJohn Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic present a complete set of Carl Nielsen's symphonies.Jun. 2015, Chandos, CD, Available on: Amazon
Wallin: ManyworldsThis CD and Pure audio Blu-ray release includes three orchestral works by Rolf Wallin performed by John Storgårds, Håkan Hardenberger and the Bergen Symphony Orchestra.May. 2015, Ondine, CD, Available on: Amazon
Zemlinsky: Seejungfrau / SinfoniettaThe Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under John Storgårds offer a fascinating program of two major orchestral works by Alexander Zemlinsky (18711942), arr. by Roland Freisitzer, as ...Mar. 2015, Ondine, CD, Available on: Amazon
Shostakovich Violin Concertos 1&2Christian Tetzlaff with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and John StorgårdsSep. 2014, Ondine, CD, Available on: Amazon
Sibelius: Complete SymphoniesJohn Storgårds, Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, presents his first recording on Chandos, a complete symphonic cycle of his nation's greatest musical export, Jean ...Mar. 2014, Chandos, CD, Available on: Amazon
Robert Schumann Violinkonzerte • PhantasieThis CD of Baiba Skride, John Storgårds and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra features works by Schumann, including the renowned Violin Concerto.Jul. 2013, Orfeo, CD, Available on: Amazon
Leevi MadetojaThis new release of works by Finnish composer Leevi Madetoja features his Symphony No. 2 as well as the symphonic poem Kullervo and Elegy.Jan. 2013, Ondine, CD, Available on: Amazon
Korngold: Much Ado About NothingThis release of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Much Ado About Nothing and Sinfonietta follows Ondine's release of the Symphony in F sharp and the Tänzchen im alten Stil.Nov. 2012, Ondine, CD, Available on: Amazon
Chamber SymphoniesJohn Storgårds with Chamber Symphony Nos. 1, 2 & 3 by Vagn Holmboe and the Lapland Chamber OrchestraJun. 2012, Dacapo, CD, Available on: Amazon
RautavaaraWorks by Einojuhani Rautavaara: Cello Concerto No. 2, Modificata & Percussion Concerto "Incantations"Feb. 2012, Ondine, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
KorngoldJohn Storgårds with works by Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Symphony in f sharp major Op.40 and Tänzchen im alten StilMar. 2011, Ondine, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
Sibelius: Violin ConcertoWith Frank Peter Zimmermann and works by Sibelius: Violin Concerto in d minor op.47, The Bard op.64 & The Wood Nymph op.15Aug. 2010, Ondine, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
Peteris VasksWorks by Peteris Vasks (Symphony No. 3 & Cello concerto) with the Tampere Philharmonic OrchestraNov. 2006, Ondine, CD, Available on: Amazon