Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (Finnish: Helsingin kaupunginorkesteri, Swedish: Helsingfors stadsorkester) is a Finnish orchestra based in Helsinki. Its primary concert venue is the Helsinki Music Centre.
In 1882, with the backing of two wealthy businessmen, Robert Kajanus founded the orchestra as the Helsinki Orchestral Society and served as its chief conductor for 50 years. It was the first permanent orchestra in the Nordic countries. In 1914, it merged with its rival ensemble, the Helsinki Symphony Orchestra, and acquired its present name. Until 1962, it also served as the orchestra for the Finnish National Opera.
Leif Segerstam was chief conductor of the orchestra from 1995 to 2007, and is now its chief conductor emeritus. John Storgårds became principal guest conductor of the orchestra in 2003, and took up the chief conductorship of the orchestra in the autumn of 2008, with an initial contract of 4 years. Following an initial renewal of his contract through 2014., in October 2013, the orchestra announced a further extension of Storgårds' contract through December 2015, at which time he stood down as chief conductor. In September 2014, the orchestra announced the appointment of Susanna Mälkki as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2016–2017 season, with an initial contract of 3 years. She is the first female conductor to be named to the post in the orchestra's history. In October 2017, the orchestra announced the extension of Mälkki's contract as chief conductor through 2021. In June 2019, the orchestra announced a further extension of her contract as chief conductor through 2023, with an option for a further 2-year extension past 2023.
The orchestra has recorded commercially for such labels as Ondine and Finlandia, as well as a smaller number for the EMI, Warner and Deutsche Grammophon labels. In November 2011, the orchestra was the first ensemble to perform reported sketches for the Symphony No 8 of Jean Sibelius.
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