was born in Stockholm and studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, completing his training at the University College of Opera in Stockholm. He has been a prizewinner at distinguished competitions including the Timo Mustakallio and Mirjam Helin Singing Competitions, and was the recipient of the first Karita Mattila Award. From 2002 until 2005 he was an ensemble member at the Komische Oper in Berlin, and has also performed at opera houses such as the Royal Swedish Opera, Finnish National Opera, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie and at the Savonlinna Opera Festival. Among the many roles he has appeared in are Wozzeck, Eugene Onegin, Don Giovanni, Valentin (Faust), Wolfram (Tannhäuser) and Gunther (Götterdämmerung). Gabriel Suovanen has taken part in several world premières, including Tuomas Kantelinen’s Paavo the Great, based on the life of the Finnish long-distance runner Paavo Nurmi, Rautavaara’s Rasputin and Mats Larsson Gothe’s Blanche and Marie. In addition to his opera work, Gabriel Suovanen is a dedicated Lieder singer, and is also active as a concert soloist, appearing regularly with major symphony orchestras in Sweden and Finland.
is one of the leading clarinettists of his generation. Alongside his outstanding performances of the classical repertoire, he is a dedicated ambassador for contemporary Nordic music, and composers such as Magnus Lindberg, Erkki-Sven Tüür and Aulis Sallinen have written more than 20 works for him. Orchestras with which he has appeared include the major Finnish orchestras, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, under conductors such as Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Sakari Oramo, Karl-Heinz Steffens and Hannu Lintu. Christoffer Sundqvist has been a guest at the Kuhmo, Delft, Kempten and West Cork Chamber Music Festivals and collaborates with Pekka Kuusisto, Bram van Sambeek and Liza Ferschtman. Since 2013 he has been artistic director of the Jakobstad Sinfonietta and the Rusk Chamber Music Festival in Jakobstad. He has a rich and varied discography, including an acclaimed recording of Sebastian Fagerlund’s clarinet concerto on BIS. Winner of the Crusell Clarinet Competition in 2002, Christoffer Sundqvist has been principal clarinet of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2005. He teaches the clarinet at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.
Lapland Chamber Orchestra
Founded in 1972, the Lapland Chamber Orchestra is the most northerly professional orchestra in Finland and indeed in the entire EU. The conductor and violinist John Storgårds has been the orchestra’s artistic director since 1996. Based in Rovaniemi, the Lapland Chamber Orchestra tours regularly, in the Barents region and elsewhere in Finland. Internationally, the orchestra has made highly successful appearances at the Carinthian Summer Music Festival in Austria, at the BBC Proms in London and at the Budapest Spring Festival, as well as touring in Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Scotland, Hungary, Germany, China and Canada. The Lapland Chamber Orchestra specializes in giving world premières of works by significant contemporary composers, including Kalevi Aho, Aulis Sallinen and Bent Sørensen. It has collaborated with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and distinguished guest performers including Soile Isokoski, Christian Tetzlaff, Nicholas Kraemer and Sabine Meyer. Many of the orchestra’s recordings have received critical acclaim. The Finnish Broadcasting Company selected Rituals by Kalevi Aho [BIS-1686] as disc of the year in 2009, and a recording of Kalevi Aho’s concertos for theremin and for horn [BIS-2036] received the distinguished German ECHO Klassik award in 2015.
Having begun his career as a violinist, John Storgårds is one of the most remark- able Finnish conductors of his generation. He is widely recognised for his creative flair for programming and his commitment to contemporary music. Former chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (2008–15), Storgårds is artistic director of the Lapland Chamber Orchestra (since 1996) and chief guest conductor of the BBC Philharmonic (since 2012) and the National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa (since 2015). He has also made guest appearances with, for example, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker and the orchestras of Boston, St Louis, Toronto and Cleveland. Storgårds has made numerous acclaimed recordings featuring not only standard repertoire but also rarities and contemporary music. He also appears frequently as a chamber musician and violinist at festivals, and as a violin soloist with orchestras such as the WDR Sinfonieorchester in Cologne. John Storgårds studied orchestral conducting, composition and violin playing in Finland – where his teachers included Esther Rautio and Jouko Ignatius – and in Israel under the legendary violinist Chaim Taub. He gained his conducting diploma from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki in 1997. He received the Finnish State Prize for Music in 2002 and the Pro Finlandia Prize in 2012.