Santtu-Matias Rouvali is a Finnish conductor and percussionist, and Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Rouvali was born in Lahti into a family of musicians. Rouvali's parents played in the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. He is the oldest of the three sons in his family. One of his younger brothers died in a car accident at age 23.
Rouvali learned percussion as a youngster, and continued his studies at the Sibelius Academy. Rouvali competed in the Eurovision Young Soloists Finnish qualifier in 2004 as a percussionist. As a percussionist, he performed with such orchestras as the Mikkeli City Orchestra, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. At age 22, he focused more on studies in conducting at the Sibelius Academy, where his teachers included Jorma Panula, Leif Segerstam and Hannu Lintu.
In September 2009, Rouvali guest-conducted the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra as an emergency substitute conductor. He first guest-conducted the Tapiola Sinfonietta in November 2010. Later in the same month, the Tapiola Sinfonietta named Rouvali an artist-in-association with the orchestra, effective September 2011, with an agreement of 3 years.