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.
He served as Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne from 2010 until July 2019. His previous positions include Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra of which he is now Conductor Laureate, 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. Last but not least, he is a founding member of LEAD! The Orchestra Project, which aims to teach effective musical leadership and communication skills to aspiring young musicians.
Conducting the major orchestras worldwide, Jukka-Pekka Saraste has also received much critical acclaim for his recordings, including the complete symphonies of Sibelius, Nielsen and Beethoven. He is the recipient of numerous awards and holds honorary doctorates from York University, Toronto, and the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki.