Alpha begins a complete cycle of the symphonies by Sibelius alongside some of his symphonic poems with Gothenburg Symphony and its new chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali.

In the great tradition of Finnish conductors, Santtu-Matias Rouvali is known for his extremely physical and organic interpretations: ‘Music unmistakeably flows from him,’ commented The Sunday Times.  This was evident when, at a very young age, he stepped in to conduct a concert with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra which began the journey to his first tenure as Chief Conductor with the Tampere Philharmonic; a meteoric rise to a career working at the highest musical level internationally; and a third post as Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. 

When Bachtrack asked him how he shapes the orchestral sound, he replied: ‘I sing it, I move my hands the way I want it (…) the conductor should be able to show tempo somewhere in the body (…) I was also a drum kit player, so my feet and hands can do different things at the same time. When you read the score, you sing it in your head (…) I think it’s the sense of inside groove that you get from playing percussion which is very important in Sibelius’s music .’

In the Gothenburg Symphony he finds a prestigious cohort of musicians with an impressive discography, and joins a line of their illustrious musical directors, notably Neeme Järvi, the orchestra’s principal conductor from 1982 to 2004, but also Gustavo Dudamel, who is honorary conductor. From season 2019-2020 Barbara Hannigan and Christoph Eschenbach have been nominated first guest conductors.

GRAMOPHONE Editor's Choice award Le choix de France Musique award Choc Classica award Diapason Découverte award

"This is a terrific disc."
"Rouvali’s inspired baton triggers unrelenting storms, white-hot or icy blasts of air, breathless expectations... giving the Sibelian fresco a rarely heard sense of urgency and tragic intensity."
Le Monde
"Santtu-Matias Rouvali and his famous musicians have made a strong statement at the beginning of their complete Sibelius recording: Sibelius under high tension, fine-nerved, electrifying. Can I have some more, please!"
BR Klassik