Jukka-Pekka Saraste


Jukka-Pekka Saraste has established himself as one of the outstanding conductors of his generation, demonstrating remarkable musical depth and integrity. Born in Heinola, Finland, he began his career as a violinist before training as a conductor with Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

Saraste served as Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne from 2010 until 2019. His previous positions include Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he is now Conductor Laureate, as well as the principal conductorships of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He also was Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and founded the Finnish Chamber
Orchestra, where he remains the Artistic Advisor. Most recently, Jukka-Pekka Saraste created the LEAD! Foundation, which offers a leadership/mentorship programme for young conductors and soloists. Based in Finland, the foundation has run projects in Stockholm, Lausanne, Dortmund, and Sofia. Since 2020 it hosts the LEAD! Foundation Academy conductors’ masterclass at the annual Fiskars Summer Festival.

Guest engagements have led him to the major orchestras worldwide, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and the leading Scandinavian orchestras, among others. In North America he has conducted the Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic as well as Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.

His extensive discography includes the complete symphonies of Sibelius and Nielsen with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and a number of critically acclaimed recordings with Toronto Symphony Orchestra. His CDs with the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne with works by Mahler, Schönberg, Stravinsky, Brahms, Bruckner, and the complete symphonies of Beethoven, have received widespread acknowledgement.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste has received the Pro Finlandia Prize, the Sibelius Medal, and the Finnish State Prize for Music. He was awarded honorary doctorates from York University, Toronto and the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki.