KD SCHMID Jukka-Pekka Saraste


Jukka-Pekka Saraste

Biography – about the artist.


Jukka-Pekka Saraste has established himself as one of the outstanding conductors of his generation, demonstrating remarkable musical depth and integrity. Born in Heinola, Finland, he began his career as a violinist before training as a conductor with Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. An artist of exceptional versatility and breadth and renowned for his objective approach, he feels a special affinity with the sound and style of late Romantic music. He maintains a particularly strong connection to the works of Beethoven, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Stravinsky and Sibelius and is internationally celebrated for his interpretations of Mahler.

In April 2022, Jukka-Pekka was named as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. He will begin his tenure in summer 2023. From 2010 to 2019, he served as Chief Conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester in Cologne. Previously, Jukka-Pekka Saraste was Music Director of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and was subsequently appointed Conductor Laureate. Earlier positions include the principal conductorships of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, where he is now also Conductor Laureate, and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He founded the Finnish Chamber Orchestra, where he remains the Artistic Advisor. 

Jukka-Pekka Saraste is a founding member of the LEAD! Foundation, a mentorship programme for young conductors and soloists based in Finland. In 2020, it also created the annual Fiskars Summer Festival as an international platform for both Finnish and international artists to pass on their knowledge and experience to the next generation of conductors from all around the world.

Saraste's guest engagements have led him to the major orchestras worldwide, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Münchner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle Dresden, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Staatskapelle Berlin, Concertgebouworkest, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Wiener Symphoniker, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and the leading Scandinavian orchestras. In North America, he has conducted The Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, as well as Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. In recent years, Jukka-Pekka Saraste has developed a strong profile in opera and, following concert performances of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, Schönberg’s Erwartung and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, had great success at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna with a new scenic production of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Korngold’s Die tote Stadt at the Finnish National Opera. In the 2020/2021 season, he conducted a new staging of Reimann's Lear at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich which will be revived in January 2023.

His extensive discography includes the complete symphonies of Sibelius and Nielsen with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and a number of critically acclaimed recordings with Toronto Symphony Orchestra. His recordings with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln with works by Mahler, Schönberg, Stravinsky, Brahms, Bruckner, and the complete symphonies of Beethoven, have received widespread acknowledgement.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste has received the Pro Finlandia Medal, the Sibelius Medal, the Finnish State Prize for Music, and, most recently, the insignia of Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland. He holds honorary doctorates from York University, Toronto, and Sibelius Academy, Helsinki.

SEASON 2022/2023


The next dates:


St David’s Hall, Cardiff


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Royal Festival Hall, London


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Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury


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Your contact persons:

UK, Ireland, Asia, Australia and New Zealand:

Jeongmin Kim

+44 20 7395 09-12


Alexandre Lenne

Artist Coordinator

+44 20 7395 09-34


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Alexandre Lenne

Artist Coordinator

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Friedrich Cerha

Nacht & Drei Orchesterstücke

05.2016, Kairos, CD

> Amazon > iTunes

Gustav Mahler

Symphony No. 5

10.2014, Profil, CD

> Amazon > iTunes

Henri Dutilleux


10.2013, Warner Classics, CD

> Amazon

Johannes Brahms

Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3

05.2013, Profil, CD

> Amazon > iTunes


Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra announce Jukka-Pekka Saraste as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director

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Jukka-Pekka Saraste stepping in with the London Philharmonic Orchestra

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„The ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra shone under Jukka-Pekka Saraste, who opted for a romantic interpretation and staged the historicising, delicate polyphonic sections broadly and sometimes grandiosely. As long as this is done thus convincingly, it can be nothing but right.“

Nachrichten.at, Michael Wruss, 18.02.2019

„With impressive light-footedness, Saraste holds the balance between orchestra pit and choir, between the self-confident instrumental solos and the often very delicate vocal quartets and double quartets. No wishes remain unfulfilled regarding dynamics and accentuation. [Scenic ‘Elijah’ at Theater an der Wien]“

Tiroler Tageszeitung, Maria Scholl, 17.02.2019

„Saraste drove constantly onwards – taking in impish woodwind solos and astonishing pianissimos – to the ecstatic, brass-driven close. It was a hard-to-beat performance.“

The Guardian, Flora Willson, 08.12.2016

„Happy the man able to witness this superb evening with the WDR Symphony Orchestra. Under the baton of Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Mahler’s Third gained plenty of drive. The Finnish conductor’s view of the score was defined by structural foresight and multi-dimensional sculpting. Whilst he let the double-basses play in a burrowing way, in the upper registers a certain elegance prevailed; a sense of wide breath. Fierce eruptions were wildly carved out, but never uncontrolled. Under Saraste, Mahler appeared stringent and was performed with virtuosity, with great moments of intensity in the final movement.“

Kölnische Rundschau, Matthias Corvin, 02.05.2016

„In the opening movement, the strings produced a rarified transparency that evoked images of icy winds blowing over snowy plains. Saraste conducted like a reserved gentleman: always in control with but a few wild gestures and exuding a collected calm, even during Sibelius’ fiercest moments. He expertly layered the composer’s icy tension. Visibly engrossed by the Rotterdam Philharmonic’s sound, Saraste sustained a fragile suspense in his ceaseless momentum as he continued with the second movement Tempo andante.” … “Saraste’s Sibelius swept you off your feet.“

Bachtrack.com, David Pinedo, 06.04.2016

„A magnificent Ravel with Saraste “Ravel’s large-scale piece was a sensational experience, with Jukka-Pekka Saraste on the podium, drawing out the full musical drama from the WDR Symphony Orchestra and the WDR Rundfunkchor. Although this music was originally intended to support a ballet, when played with so much impetus it needs no additional imagery. It all develops in the mind”.“

Kölnische Rundschau, Johannes Zink, 22.02.2016