Finland’s Santtu-Matias Rouvali, on concert podiums and at home on the farm

Posted on: August 3, 2022

Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali’s garden in Finland is “just a blip in the scale of Rouvali’s … farm … on over 34 acres,” writes Joshua Barone in Sunday’s (7/31) New York Times. “It is [here] that he feels most at ease, especially compared with where he’s more often seen: inside the world’s major concert halls” as principal conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, with chief conductor positions at Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony and Finland’s Tampere Philharmonic; his guest conducting includes dates with the New York Philharmonic in the upcoming season. “Rouvali, 36, [spends] as many weekends as possible on his farm … ‘to kind of rest and have a mental break and not really think about music,’ he says. When he is at work, Rouvali has developed a reputation as a lively conductor, one who revels in experimentation and fluid interpretations, and who has a gift—befitting his background as a percussionist—for internal rhythms and harmonies…. His style today [is] one in which he retains some of a drummer’s gestures, but also in which that physicality is an expressive vessel for open, sometimes trial-and-error interpretations with a liberal use of rubato.”