Leif Segerstam, born in 1944, is one of Scandinavia‘s most interesting and versatile musical talents. After his studies (violin, pianoforte, composition and conducting) at the Sibelius Academy Helsinki from 1952-63, he continued his studies at the Julliard School of Music in New York.
His career as conductor began with posts at the opera houses of Helsinki, Stockholm and West-Berlin and guest performances at the Metropolitan Opera New York, Teatro alla Scala Milano, Royal Opera House Covent Garden London, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires, the opera houses of Cologne, Hamburg, Munich and Geneva and the Salzburg Festival. At the Savonlinna Festival in Finland Segerstam conducted Salome, Boris Godunov, Don Carlo, Aida, The Flying Dutchman, Fidelio and Macbeth. At the Finnish National Opera he directed Wagner‘s Ring and Lohengrin, and at the Royal Stockholm Opera Korngold‘s Die tote Stadt, Massenet‘s Werther, Puccini’s Tosca and Strauss‘ Capriccio.
Leif Segerstam was the chief conductor of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Wien (1975-82) and the Finnish Radio-Symphony Orchestra Helsinki (1977-87). From 1983-89 he was General Music Director of the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, where he holds still today the post of Honorary Conductor. In December 1988 he was appointed chief conductor of the Danish Radio-Symphony Orchestra. From 1995-2001 he was the chief conductor of the Royal Stockholm Opera and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.
Leif Segerstam‘s numerous recordings have been acclaimed by audiences as well as critics: They include works by Mahler, Nielsen and Sibelius and contemporary pieces with the Danish Radio-Symphony Orchestra, Scriabin and Schnittke with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Brahms with the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz. The Sibelius- and Rautavaara-recordings with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra have received several international prizes.
As composer, Leif Segerstam has shown enormous creativity. The list of his compositions includes 244 symphonies, 30 string quartets, 13 violin und 4 piano concertos as well as several other instrumental concerts, chamber and vocal music. Especially mentionable are his composition cycles, such as „Symphonic Thoughts“, written on the occasion of the turn of the millennium, the series "Impressions of Nordic Nature“, as well as orchestra works without conductor, among them a cycle dedicated to the twelve months.
Since autumn 1997, Leif Segerstam has been „Professor of Conducting“ at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. In November 1998, was nominated for his work by the Nordic Music Committee NOMUS for the Nordic Council Music Prize as „great master of Scandinavian music“.
Among Leif Segerstam‘s current guest performances are concerts in London, Detroit, Tokyo, Chicago, Paris, Lisbon, Barcelona, Bern, Munich, Dresden, Essen, Bonn, Madrid, Toulouse, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Oslo, Brussels, Antwerp and Strasbourg. Next opera engagements include among other things Lohengrin and Salome at Vienna State Opera as well as a new production of Peter Grimes at De Vlaamse Opera.