John Storgårds has accepted his first titled position at a UK ensemble – principal guest conductor of the BBC Philharmonic.
The 47-year-old Finn will conduct ‘up to four concerts per season’ in Manchester while also appearing at the Proms and recording a complete Sibelius symphony cycle for Chandos.
At home Storgårds is best known for his tenure at the Philharmonic Orchestra in Tampere – the so-called ‘Manchester of Finland’ – which saw a marked rise in the ensemble’s tonal and technical qualities. He relinquished the Tampere post in 2009 to focus on the top job in Finnish conducting, chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic (a role he assumed in 2008).
Occasional work with the Scottish Chamber and BBC Symphony orchestras has offered UK audiences a taste of Storgards in recent years, whose urgent, energetic podium style is combined with a distinct ability to conjure varied orchestral moods. Storgårds is known for his easy camaraderie with orchestral players; as a violinist he led a number of Nordic ensembles before taking up conducting.
General manager of the BBC Philharmonic Richard Wigley described his new signing as ‘a musician’s conductor…[whose] special relationship with the music of Sibelius will provide the anchor for his work with us in concert and on disc’. Storgårds will make his debut in the role on March 16, 2012 – ten months after the ensemble moves into its new administrative home and broadcasting facility in Salford this May.
Storgårds’s predecessor as principal guest conductor Vassily Sinaisky will become conductor emeritus, following the passing of Gianandrea Noseda’s chief conductor baton to Juanjo Mena this September. Storgårds continues as artistic director of the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland and remains contracted to the Helsinki Philharmonic until 2014.