John Storgårds as Chief Conductor of the HPO
Like many other conductors, John Storgårds began his career as a violinist. He was leader of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and this led him to conducting engagements.
John Storgårds’ first conducting fixture was with the Helsinki University Symphony Orchestra in 1992. The following year he began studying at the Sibelius Academy. In 1996, he was installed as Artistic Director of the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, where he became renowned for his inventive programming.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Storgårds was Principal Guest Conductor of the Oulu Symphony and the Tampere Philharmonic, and Conductor of the Tapiola Sinfonietta. He was, however, very unusual in that he continued his active violinist career all the time. John Storgårds has a considerable discography both as a solo violinist and as a conductor.
John Storgårds began as Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in autumn 2008, as successor to Leif Segerstam. From 2003 to 2008 he had been the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, so he was already familiar with it.
Storgårds the conductor has been described as passionate, full of feeling and extremely inventive. He is known for his liking for picking out scores that have long been forgotten. He is said to have enhanced the playing of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra with his fresh ideas for repertoire and by developing its chamber music qualities.
Sources: John Storgårds's website & Vesa Sirén – Suomalaiset kapellimestarit.