The younger Generation on the Podium

Four Conductors in short portraits

Santtu-Matias Rouvali wants to bring «fresh Finnish wind» to music. The charismatic former percussionist is one of several young conductors at Grafenegg. Aged 37, he’s been Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London since 2021/22, but is always drawn back to his Finnish home. «I hunt and fish my own food, I like to work in the forest and I go to the sauna to relax». His music expresses Finnish insouciance and the forces of nature. Here he interprets Elgar’s Violin Concerto (with Christian Tetzlaff as soloist) and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

With a legendary pianist next to him who’s also the artistic director of the festival, conductor Lahav Shani might be forgiven for nerves. But he and Rudolf Buchbinder have enjoyed fruitful collaboration already. Despite their 40-year age gap, they defy expectations. At 75, Buchbinder plays with youthful elan, while Lahav Shani is a mature artist. He debuted at 16 before winning the Gustav Mahler Competition in 2013. Since then he’s been conducting the world’s top orchestras. He became Chief Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in 2018 and took charge of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which he also brings to Grafenegg, in 2020. Shani and Buchbinder present Brahms’s First Piano Concerto and First Symphony.

Dubbed a «hurricane» (BBC), 33-year-old Norwegian conductor Tabita Berglund is set apart by more than just her youth. With deft musicality, clear expression and natural intuition, she brings lustre to famous and unknown works alike. She ably tackles Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto (soloist: Sergei Dogadin) and Prokofiev’s «Romeo and Juliet».

In Jakob Hrůša’s Grafenegg concert, he celebrates music from central Europe. Hrůša, Chief Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony, made his Salzburg Festival debut in 2022 with Leoš Janáček’s «Káťa Kabanová». «Janáček is simply great art; he never does anything cheap. Nevertheless, this art is thoroughly human and accessible to everyone», he says. The Czech conductor has a special bond with Janáček’s late-Romantic «The Cunning Little Vixen» and has compiled his own suite from it. Based on a comic strip in a Brno newspaper, the opera is about the forest, animals and the circle of nature. Next: a rare musical gem. George Enescu’s First Suite for Orchestra recalls his Romanian homeland. It’s follwed by Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances op. 45 with their interesting orchestration featuring alto saxophone, expanded percussion and a piano.


20/08 Sun
Philharmonia Orchestra London / Santuu-Matias Rouvali

24/08 Thu
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra / Lahav Shani

01/09 Fri
Tonkunstler-Orchestra / Tabita Berglund

03/09 Sun
Vienna Philharmonic / Jakob Hrůša


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