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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

"Naar hun Sibelius luister je als een opeenvolging van bonte dromerijen. Ze zijn tastbaar en gedetailleerd voor je neergezet, maar niet altjd even mooi aan elkaar gelijmd. In 'En Saga' werkt Rouvali's schilderende aanpak wel perfect. Hij laat het klankgedicht als een sluimerende gedacht voorbij kruipen."
De Standaard