Chicago Tribune

Fri 1 Dec 2017

Finnish conductor Storgards proves the real deal in his CSO podium debut

One of those discoveries, John Storgards, directed the CSO for the first time at Thursday night’s subscription concert at Symphony Center. And a successful debut it was. Indeed, the impressive musical results supported the acclaim that has greeted the 54-year-old Finnish conductor at every step of his rapid podium ascent worldwide.

The interpretation gloried in granitic strength, powerful forward motion, taut phrasing and firm rhythm. Yet Storgards’ keen sense of the ebb and flow of Sibelius’ music gave the lyrical pages their rhetorical sweep. Long-lined continuity and dramatic tension were kept paramount. Tempos were urgent but never felt pushed; sonorities were full but never plush.

I especially liked what Storgards did with the inner movements, the way he worked up those swirling eddies of string sound in the andante over the stern calls of the low brass, which gave way to lyrical repose at the end. The scherzo drove forward with the force of an icy Nordic storm, urged on by powerful timpani strokes. The CSO musicians answered his decisive beat with precise attacks, never more so than the violins’ big unison recitative in the finale. A rousing ovation was his and the orchestra’s reward.

The Telegraph

Sat 4 Nov 2017

Storgårds and the BBCSO brought ebullient, shimmering energy to D’un matin de printemps, and sustained the inner tension under washes of sound in D’un soir triste. For complete contrast, the programme switched in its second half to the Austro-German tradition. No composer is more steeped in that than Mahler, but this performance was striking for the way in which Storgårds articulated that. His account of the Fourth Symphony opened with unusual lightness and clarity of texture, showing the music’s classical roots. Storgårds was also clear-sighted about where the music was heading, so he never held back when it came to the expressionistic outbursts – here the textures were raw and exposed – and he never shirked the emotional depths of the middle movements.


Tue 14 Nov 2017

For me, Mr. Storgårds delivered a Tchaikovsky Fourth against which all others must be measured, with the high drama of the music accentuated by the conductor's magisterial podium presence and big, dramatic, full upper-body gestures.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Fri 10 Nov 2017

For the second half, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F minor received a stirring, powerful rendition, one of the best I’ve heard. Storgårds led with a sure hand, and the players were with him every for every measure. […] Storgårds and the orchestra gave it a practically flawless performance. […] The first movement was powerful, the second lyrical and flowing. Storgårds made the big fourth movement even bigger than the first; marked “allegro fuoco,” it was very fast and completely ablaze for a breathtaking conclusion to a superb performance.

Santa Fe New Mexican

Fri 25 Aug 2017

On Aug. 14, John Storgårds, the principal guest conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, did double duty as soloist and conductor in Weill’s Concerto for Violin and Wind Orchestra. (…) one could only admire how he dispatched his dazzling part, nowhere more than in his extended cadenza. (…) It is a tough nut of a piece, but Storgårds underscored its winning dynamism and even found lyrical contours lurking in its pages.


Thu 1 Jun 2017

John Storgårds revels in their idiosyncrasies, revealing a wealth of expressive detail I'd never heard before.

Tales From The Red Chair

Fri 3 Feb 2017

He is a lavishly gifted, fiercely intelligent, intensely communicative musician, and of the finest interpreters of Scandinavian and Nordic repertoire anywhere in the world. […] his Sibelius Symphony No. 6 was sublime, astonishing, masterful: by far the best performance of this composer I’ve yet heard from NACO. […] Storgårds’ impeccable instinct for structure and propulsion gave the work sculptural dynamism and unshakeable mass. Tension, delicacy, ascetic fury were all carved in vivid bas-relief. The orchestra’s sound was deliciously dark and frosty.

Sat 28 Jan 2017

Storgårds’ view was masterful, starting with his explosive attack on the opening notes. An animated presence, he controlled the work’s epic, powerful sweep with thrilling momentum, while illuminating its stunning atmospheres along the way.


Sun 1 Jan 2017

New music of a very, very high quality in a thrilling performance - and we have Storgårds to thank for both.

Musical Toronto

Thu 8 Dec 2016

Think of a mirror that you pass by every day in a room or hallway. Your reflection looks perfectly fine. But one day you bring along some cleaning spray and give the mirror a wipe, only to be taken aback by the newfound clarity and depth of the image reflected back at you. Storgårds took that proverbial bottle of Windex to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, which dates from 1888. The results were breathtaking, mainly because of the honesty and forthrightness with which Storgårds addressed its unabashed Romanticism.

Classical Iconoclast

Tue 2 Aug 2016

Astonishingly good performance - Storgårds is a tonic for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. He raises the bar for them, and they respond.

Classical Source

Mon 1 Aug 2016

John Storgårds conducted the BBC Philharmonic on that journey through music expressed with an increasing physical immediacy, culminating in the graphic and almost tangible battle between the abstract forces of good and evil depicted within Carl Nielsen’s Fifth Symphony.

The Baltimore Sun

Sat 21 May 2016

The ensemble, deftly guided by Storgards, responded with admirable sensitivity and, in the kinetic dance-like passages, great snap.

New York Times

Fri 13 May 2016

Mr. Storgards brought exceptional transparency and crisp articulation to Mahler’s colorful orchestral music. [...] Mr. Storgards emphasized the discontinuities and jarring turns of the music, as well as the piercing shards of dissonance that Sibelius folds into his deceptively sonorous harmonic language. Yet there was no sense of manipulation about the interpretation. Nothing was oversold or pumped up. The Philharmonic sounded sensational. During the standing ovation, the players clapped along with the audience every time Mr. Storgards took a bow.

The Telegraph

Sun 28 Feb 2016

Storgårds picked apart the composer’s multi-layered musical lines brilliantly, and never let up in a hugely moving Romanze slow movement.

Vancouver Classical Music

Sat 16 Jan 2016

There are few conductors around who are more riveting and involving in performance than Storgårds, [...] who gave an incredibly detailed account of the orchestral score, bringing wonderful variety to the string textures, an overarching beauty to the winds (especially at the end of the Canzonetta), and great Slavic fervour and anticipation to the dramatic, driving moments. The brass had remarkable ‘bite’. With this conducting, it seemed that a sense of musical space and natural motion just opened out as the work progressed – and the interaction and timing of soloist and conductor were impeccable.

Ottawa Citizen

Wed 6 Jan 2016

Storgards presents Beethoven like the raging revolutionary he was. His conducting is valiant, fierce, and passionate, with Beethovenian bursts of violence.

La Stampa

Sat 17 Nov 2007

Britten s'illumina di Rimbaud

Sibelius ci mette un ardore tutto suo nell'incalzare dei ritmi e nelle stupende tetraggini degli ottoni, evocatrici di un nord leggendario che lo Storgards, finlandese pure lui, ha reso a grandezza naturale......
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International Record Review

Wed 31 Oct 2007


Panufnik Heroic Overture, Sinfonia di Sfere, Landscape, Sinfonia Sacra
Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra
John Storgards (conductor)
ONDINE | ODE11015 | SACD | 0761195110157

Comparisons: LSO/Atherton (1978)

...Storgårds delineates the cool yet ominous manner of the first movement more clearly than Atherton in his pioneering account, while yielding to him in the force which the Allegro music of its successor emerges from and into its Andante. If Atherton makes more of the drum-driven energy of the finale's outer potrtions, Storgårds
finds greater emotional depth in its central span, asell as bringing a more overraching conclusiveness to the work's final pages.

The fill-ups are equallyindicative of Panufnik's range: Heroic Ouverture (1953) belies its Socialist Realist trappings for a declaration of faiyh in the country he was soon to leave; Landscape (1962) elides Polish and English imagery in a work whose brevity only furthers its profundity.
Storgårds and the Tampere Philarmonic - another Finnish Orchestra of the front rank - do them full justice....

The Daily Telegraph

Sat 8 Sep 2007

Panufnik-Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra

John Storgårds spans the music's range from serenity to rhythmic incisiveness with a sure hand....
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The Guardian

Fri 7 Sep 2007

Storgards conducts Panufnik

Taken together the four pieces, in vivid performances under John Storgards, give a good sense of the power (...) of Panufnik's music....
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Fanfare Magazine (USA) May/June 2007

Fri 1 Jun 2007

Ondine; Vasks Symphony n. 3

...the Tampere Philarmonic under John Storgårds play as if possessed and the sound of this disc has to be heard to be believed...
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Opus Magazine

Thu 30 Nov 2006

Peteris Vasks - John Storgårds - Marko Ylnen - Ondine ODE 1086.5

A la tête de l'Orchestre Philarmonique de Tempere, John Storgårds offre la direction idéal à une musique inspirée...Un disque vers lequel on revienfra souvent....
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Classictoday France

Sun 10 Sep 2006

Peteris Vasks - John Storgårds - Ondine 1086-5

Après le sublissime CD couplant la Symphonie n° 2 et le Concerto pour violon par John Storgards, je me suis précipité sur cette parution réunissant la 3e Symphonie et le Concerto pour violoncelle. Le miracle se renouvelle à tous les niveaux....
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Daily Telegraph

Mon 1 Aug 2005

successo di pubblico e di critica ai Proms "...this was nothing short of a triumph...
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