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Sakari Oramo chief conductor

Chief conductor and artistic advisor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Read about his musical background and path to Konserthuset Stockholm.

Sakari Oramo is chief conductor and artistic advisor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. He took over the position in 2008 and since his first three-year period with the orchestra, he has signed contracts three times for additional terms, currently until 2021. He is one of the founders and chief conductor of the Karleby Opera, as well as chief conductor of the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, having succeeded Juha Kangas in 2013.

After Sakari Oramo concluded his period as chief conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, he was appointed chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with which he has participated in several Proms concerts since 2013, including Last Night of the Proms 2014 and 2016. In 2014 he made his Proms debut as a violinist as well – as part of the Chamber Music series, performing Prokofiev's Sonata for Two Violins with Janine Jansen.

His musical curiosity has continuously manifested in sterling work with new music. Sakari Oramo is also an excellent violinist, and was previously concertmaster of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He reveals this side of his musical expertise every season at Konserthuset, partly through chamber music concerts, though he has also been a soloist with the orchestra.

While he was concertmaster of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, he began studying conducting with Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. In 2004, Oramo was appointed Honorary Doctor at the University of Central England in Birmingham, in recognition of his “outstanding contribution to the musical life of the city”, for the years he spent as chief conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He was also appointed an Honorary Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his contributions to British music life. In 2008, Oramo was awarded the Elgar Medal in recognition of his dedication to Edward Elgar’s music and as a reflection of his enormous interest in British music in general.

Oramo has conducted orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, the Oslo Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and more. He has also conducted opera, including the Finnish National Opera.

Sakari Oramo is represented on many records, primarily as the conductor, but also as a violinist and chamber musician (including on Warner Classics, Ondine, Philips and Hyperion). Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s recordings of, among other things, all six of Carl Nielsen’s symphonies on three albums (BIS) have been critically acclaimed globally, and the album with Symphonies No. 1 and 3 received the BBC Music Magazine Award for best orchestral recording in 2016.

Other recordings with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra from recent years include two albums with music by Anders Hillborg (BIS) – which both won Grammis Awards in the best classical album category. Also worth mentioning are the recordings of all of Schumann’s symphonies by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (Sony Classical), which were received with high praise by the international press. And the latest record, Distant Lights, with Renée Fleming as soloist with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Sakari Oramo, has received glowing reviews all over the world.

In 2012, Sakari Oramo was elected as a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In 2016, Sakari Oramo was named Conductor of the Year by the historic Royal Philharmonic Society in London.