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Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

Langue disponible : anglais
The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra has played a key role in Finnish musical life from the late 19th century, when it gave the premiere performances of the symphonies of Jean Sibelius, down to the present day. It was the first permanent orchestra in Scandinavia and has operated without a pause since its founding. The orchestra was founded in 1882 as the Helsinki Orchestral Society, with the support of prosperous Helsinki merchants. In 1914, it merged with the rival Helsinki Symphony Orchestra and took its present name. The orchestra's home base is the Helsinki Music Centre. The Philharmonic was fundamentally shaped by founder Robert Kajanus, who remained chief conductor for five decades and brought much of Sibelius' orchestral music to the world. The group's early years are unusually well documented; the Helsinki Region Infoshare Database includes information on every concert given by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and its predecessors since 1882. In 1932, Kajanus was succeeded by Georg Schneevoigt, who also had led the orchestra during World War I. With Sergiu Comissiona (1990-1993) as one of just a few exceptions, most of the orchestra's conductors have been Scandinavian, and several have gone on to significant international careers. Notable conductors who passed through Helsinki on the way to other international capitals have included Paavo Berglund (1975-1979) and Leif Segerstam (1995-2007). In 1994, the Philharmonic recorded Sibelius' tone poem Kullervo, Op. 7, for the EMI label; later that same year, it issued a recording of works by Einojuhani Rautavaara on Ondine, and it has continued to record mostly for that label. The group's record of Sibelius premieres has extended into the 21st century; in 2011, the orchestra was the first to perform fragmentary sketches the composer left for his destroyed Symphony No. 8. Recordings on Ondine have continued to appear, devoted mostly but not exclusively to music from Finland and other Nordic countries; for Warner Classics in 2017, the orchestra issued a complete cycle of Sibelius' symphonies. Following Segerstam, the Philharmonic's conductors have been John Storgårds (2008-2014, and he was also heard on a Gramophone Award-winning album of music by Rautavaara in 2007) and Susanna Mälkki, its first female leader. Her contract is slated to run through 2023, with an option for renewal beyond that year.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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