Skip to content
BSO, Pops, Tanglewood, and Symphony Hall Logos

John Storgårds

John Storgårds conducting intensely.


Chief 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 as well as his rousing yet refined performances. As Artistic Director of the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, a title he has been holding for over 25 years, Storgårds earned global critical acclaim for the ensemble’s adventurous performances and award-winning recordings. Most recently, Storgaards was announced Chief Conductor of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra beginning with the 24/25 season.

Storgårds appears with such orchestras as Berliner Philharmoniker, Bamberger Symphoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Münchner Philharmoniker, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchestra Sinfonica Nationale della RAI, BBC Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra as well as all major Nordic orchestras including the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was Chief Conductor from 2008 to 2015. He also regularly returns to the Münchener Kammerorchester, where he was Artistic Partner from 2016 to 2019. Further afield, he appears with Sydney, Melbourne, Yomiuri Nippon and NHK Symphony Orchestras as well as Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Soloists with whom he collaborates include Yefim Bronfman, Sol Gabetta, Kirill Gerstein, Håkan Hardenberger, Lucas and Arthur Jussen, 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 was revived in autumn 2019. In the 2022/23 season, Storgårds led the world premiere production of Tapio Tuomela’s new opera ‘The Fur Hat Opera’, performing in Rovaniemi and at the Finnish National Opera with his Lapland Chamber Orchestra. Later in the season, Storgårds returned to the Finnish National Opera with Shostakovich’s ‘Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk’.

Highlights of Storgårds’ 2023/24 season include two appearances at the BBC Proms with the BBC Philharmonic, his first as Chief Conductor, performing the world premiere of a work by Gerald Barry, and the first symphonies of Sibelius and Rachmaninov. Further season highlights include his debut with Orquesta Sinfonica y Coro de RTVE, performing Liszt’s ‘Christus’. Return engagements include, among others, SWR Symphonieorchester, hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich, Oslo Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Helsinki Philharmonic, appearing as both conductor and soloist. In the USA, Storgårds appears with Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and St. Louis Symphony.

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), as well as with the BBC Philharmonic were released to critical acclaim by Chandos. November 2019 saw the release of the third and final volume of works by American avant-garde composer George Antheil. Their latest project, recording the late symphonies of Shostakovich, commenced in April 2020 with the release of Symphony No. 11 . For BIS Records, John Storgårds and the Lapland Chamber Orchestra have released numerous critically acclaimed recordings, including Mahler’s 10th symphony in a special arrangement by Michelle Castelletti, works by Finnish composer Outi Tarkiainen, and Hans Abrahamsen’s ‘Schnee’. Other successes include discs of works by Nørgård, Korngold, Aho and Rautavaara, the latter receiving a Grammy nomination and a Gramophone Award in 2012. In 2023, Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic were nominated for Gramophone magazine’s Orchestra of the Year Award.

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.

Updated February 2023

See More