The Rotterdam Philharmonic has announced the appointment of up-and-coming Finnish conductor Tarmo Peltokoski as its principal guest conductor from the start of the 2023-24 concert season.


The 22-year-old Finn made his debut with the orchestra in May, conducting works by Rachmaninov and Sibelius in place of Valery Gergiev. The latter was a former Rotterdam chief conductor, but had fallen out of favour after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, after refusing to distance himself from Putin's policies.

'Nothing short of a miracle (...) staggering, breathtaking, tear-jerking beauty,' was the verdict of Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad after the concert.

Peltokoski's next date with the Rotterdam Phil is on 17 September, when he will conduct the orchestra's Late Summer Spirit event. The special guest for that concert is Rotterdam's chief conductor Lahav Shani, who will perform as the piano soloist in Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

The young Finn is currently music director of the Latvian National Orchestra. He will hold the Rotterdam Philharmonic role for four years. At 22, he has already appeared at several festivals - and, last August, he completed his first Wagner Ring cycle at the Eurajoki Bel Canto Festival.

Peltokoski's Finnish music credentials are strong: he studied with Sakari Oramo at the Sibelius Academy, and has also been taught by Hannu Lintu, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

George Wiegel, general director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, says: 'Tarmo Peltokoski is an upcoming talent who already has much in store at his young age. Together with Lahav Shani he is a great match for our highly passionate orchestra.'

'Rotterdam is a place where young conducting talent has often risen to great heights,' adds Floris Don, the orchestra's artistic manager. 'We are looking forward to seeing how Tarmo will develop with us.'


Picture: Peter Rigaud


Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.