An artist of exceptional versatility and breadth, 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 has served as Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne since 2010. His previous positions include Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, 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. He founded the Finnish Chamber Orchestra and the orchestra ́s annual Tammisaari Festival, for which he is Artistic Director.
Guest engagements have led him to the major orchestras worldwide, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles and New York Philharmonic.
Saraste´s extensive and critically acclaimed discography includes numerous recordings with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne.
Among his honours and awards are the Pro Finlandia Prize, the Sibelius Medal, and the Finnish State Prize for Music.