Home > Artists > Sakari Oramo


Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Chief Conductor: BBC Symphony Orchestra
Chief Conductor: Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Principal Conductor: West Coast Kokkola Opera
Honorary Conductor: Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra


Sakari Oramo is Chief Conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and from the beginning of the 2013/14 season, Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, a position which began with the First Night of the Proms in July 2013. Oramo is also Principal Conductor of the West Coast Kokkola Opera and the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra. After a decade as Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, he became Honorary Conductor of the orchestra in the 2012/13 season. Between 1998 and 2008, he was Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

This season, highlights include performances at the Enescu Festival in Bucharest with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and a ‘Total Immersion’ project featuring the music of Villa-Lobos at London’s Barbican Centre with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Anu Komsi.

The 2012/13 season included performances with the Wiener Philharmoniker, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and hr-Sinfonieorchester as well as the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and a successful tour of North America with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition, Oramo is also a regular guest conductor at the NDR Sinfonieorchester, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

The short biography displayed on this page is for information only. For concert programmes and promotional materials please use the downloadable versions.


“Oramo really gets under the skin of this music, and the audience showered him with warm appreciation. I can feel National Treasure status beckoning already.” – (Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, August 2014)

“This can be a difficult work to bring off [Oedipus Rex], but Oramo scored strongly thanks to the scale on which he imagined the music, and not least the high-quality choral singing of the men’s voices of the BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Chorus…It was the power unleashed by Oramo, with his BBC forces, that revealed Stravinsky’s opera in its full, monumental glory.” (Richard Fairman, Financial Times, August 2014)

“Sakari Oramo’s account with the BBC Symphony Orchestra…came as a breath of fresh air. The introduction was full of suspense and foreboding, unfolding at a tempo that simply sounded ‘right’…This was a real Beethoven performance.” (Seen and Heard International, August 2014)

“A violinist himself, Oramo has always obtained a wonderfully refined string tone from the orchestras he conducts, and the hushed playing of the Royal Stockholm Phiharmonic…is strikingly effective.” (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, July 2014)

"The BBC Symphony Orchestra’s chief conductor controls musical operations with forensic exactness, but also flair. This was certainly so in an uplifting account of Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Oramo’s feeling for British music leapt into play. So did fresh winds from his native Finland…This was a supremely unified, organic reading." (Geoff Brown, The Times, May 2014)

“Oramo cunningly shaped the drama of the immense last movement, so that the first arrival at the home key was triumphant, but left room for an even bigger splendour later. And he relished Mahler’s intimate moments too, shaping the delicate Trio of the Scherzo with tender grace.”
(Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, November 2013)

“There’s no intrinsic reason why love of Elgar’s music should be confined to this country, and his greatest scores seem at last to be taking root abroad, as this splendid disc testifies. The Stockholm players seize the Second Symphony’s fabulous orchestral opportunities with relish and subtlety, and their Finnish conductor has an understanding at once individual and profound of its rich ambiguities. Sakari Oramo catches the sadness at the core of the first movement’s opening bravura and draws out beautifully its mysterious middle section. The wonderful Larghetto is a joy, the scherzo suitably wild and scary, and the performance ends in the right resigned, wistful glow.” (David Cairns, The Sunday Times, August 2013)

"[Oramo’s] grip on the scores was no less firm than his control of his orchestral forces, tempered by a flexibility and precision born of keen musical insight. That much was clear from the gripping performance of Carl Nielsen's Fifth Symphony with which Oramo concluded the program. The music ebbs and flows with eruptive surges of energy followed by pages of uneasy release, all of which Oramo laid out with sweeping authority. If there were more Nielsen advocates as committed as he, Nielsen's music would be smack in the center of the standard symphonic repertory." (John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, April 2013)

"Sakari Oramo, at the helm of the NDR Sinfonieorchester, pulled out all of the stops enticing a sparkling and effervescent brilliance from the strings and moulding the low brass to sound like a Wagnerian dragon crawling through the undergrowth." (Hamburger Abendblatt, March 2013)

“Sakari Oramo demonstrates very impressive credentials as a Bruckner conductor… There is never a hint of stodginess to this performance, a result no doubt of Oramo’s imaginative ear for orchestral sonority and his insistence on creating the maximum dynamic variety.” (BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012)

"The Sibelius symphony that ended the programme was the Third, presented by Oramo in brisk, bold paragraphs that worked to a wonderfully definitive climax" (The Guardian, October 2011)

“This first concert in the orchestra’s Sibelius symphony cycle marked Oramo’s first appearance with a London orchestra. Many others should follow...Strings deserve the top prize for subtleties of tone and attack, but each instrumental section excelled — something only possible when a conductor and the BBC players click...Oramo and the orchestra also fitted like hand and glove in Arnold Bax’s Tintagel” (The Times, October 2011)

“The performance of the Third Symphony which followed sounded new-minted, as if Oramo had re-thought every bar. The middle movement is often rendered as an innocuous serenade, but here the music unfolded with meditative slowness, as if it were discovering its own richness….The whole thing revealed Oramo’s masterly hand” (The Telegraph, October 2011)

“The Finnish conductor held the Sibelian sea swell and magical orchestral perspectives perfectly in balance with the film-fanfare-ish yet impeccably crafted themes. Nothing too brash or noisy here; one only wished that Bax had decided to end with the time-suspending hushed calm that was the most impressive feature of Oramo's layered interpretation” (The Arts Desk, October 2011)