The first professional symphony orchestra to be founded in the Nordic countries.
The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the first professional symphony orchestra to be founded in the Nordic countries (1882), has been operating without a break for 135 years. It has grown from a band of 36 players to an orchestra of 102 regular members giving concerts attended by a total audience of a good 120,000 a year at the Helsinki Music Centre and abroad.
Between 1892 and 1923 the HPO gave the first performances of almost all the symphonic works by Jean Sibelius with the composer himself conducting. The HPO’s founder and first Chief Conductor Robert Kajanus was succeeded by e.g. Paavo Berglund, Leif Segerstam and John Storgårds. Conductor Susanna Mälkki was appointed the next chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in autumn 2014. She began in her position as Chief Conductor of the Orchestra in autumn 2016 and continues until spring 2021.
Works by Sibelius and Rautavaara have featured on the highly acclaimed discs made by the HPO. The disc of songs by Sibelius, featuring soprano Soile Isokoski and Leif Segerstam, was awarded the MIDEM Classical Award in Cannes in 2007, and Towards the Horizon, disc containing music by Einojuhani Rautavaara under the baton of John Storgårds, the Gramophone Award in 2012.
HarrisonParrott arranged tours to Mexico in 2015 with conductor by John Storgårds, as well as in Spain in May 2016, under the conductorship of newly appointed Susanna Mälkki. In 2018 the collaboration continued with engagements in Paris and Salzburg, and in 2019 in Dortmund, Amsterdam, Vienna, Katowice and Warsaw.
“Following the Ligeti came the first Ravel work on the program, Shéhérazade. Mälkki brought a tremendous transparency to the work’s hazy and perfumed textures. The first movement climax was polished to the finest instrumental detail. Particularly memorable was the meltingly beautiful playing of the HPO strings, especially in the outer movements.”
ResMusica, September 2016
“While there were numerous individual highlights throughout the evening, equally impressive was the versatility that both Mälkki and the orchestra brought to this highly varied collection of works.”
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