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 an impressive 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. Currently led by Chief Conductor Susanna Mälkki, the orchestra continue to enthral audiences globally with tours taking them to Mexico City, Paris, Salzburg, Dortmund, Amsterdam, Vienna, Katowice and Warsaw in the last couple of years.
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, and Towards the Horizon, disc containing music by Einojuhani Rautavaara under the baton of John Storgårds won a Gramophone Award.
“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.”