The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
(c) Taavetti Alin and Samuli Skantsi
The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (FRSO) is the orchestra of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle). Its mission is to produce and promote Finnish musical culture and its Chief Conductor is Hannu Lintu.
The Radio Orchestra of ten players founded in 1927 grew to symphony orchestra strength in the 1960s. Its previous Chief Conductors have been Toivo Haapanen, Nils-Eric Fougstedt, Paavo Berglund, Okko Kamu, Leif Segerstam, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Sakari Oramo. The FRSO has two Honorary Conductors: Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Sakari Oramo.
The latest contemporary music is a major item in the repertoire of the FRSO, which each year premieres a number of Yle commissions. Another of the orchestra’s tasks is to record all Finnish orchestral music for the Yle archive.
The orchestras discs have reaped some major distinctions, such as the BBC Music Magazine Award, the Académie Charles Cros Award and the MIDEM Classical Award.
All the FRSO concerts both in Finland and abroad are broadcast, usually live, on Yle Radio 1. They can also be heard and watched with excellent live stream quality on yle.fi/klassinen.
(c) Heikki Tuuli
"Lintu led the orchestra through the restless landscape of Sibelius's Symphony No. 2 with remarkable delicacy; he and the orchestra sculpted wonderful sonorities with careful balance." – Washington Post, February 2013
2013/14 marks Hannu Lintu’s first season as Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Until summer 2013 he held the positions of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in Dublin. He has previously held Artistic Director positions with the Helsingborg Symphony and Turku Philharmonic orchestras.
Highlights of Hannu Lintu’s 2013/14 season include appearances with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, and Toronto Symphony orchestras; MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa; plus debuts with the Orchestre national de Lyon and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In the USA he returns to the Houston Symphony and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. Recent engagements elsewhere have included the Cincinnati Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, and City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras; the Sydney Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica de RTVE, and the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine; as well as the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Seoul Philharmonic orchestras.
Recent operatic projects have included Tannhäuser with Tampere Opera in spring 2012, while in summer 2014 Lintu will conduct Sallinen’s Kullervo at Savonlinna Opera Festival. Regularly appearing with Finnish National Opera, Lintu has conducted several productions including Wagner’s Parsifal directed by Harry Kupfer, Bizet’s Carmen, and Aulis Sallinen’s King Lear. He has also worked with Estonian National Opera, recording Tauno Pylkkänen’s Mare and her son, and has conducted at both the Savonlinna Opera Festival and Chicago's Grant Park Festival, giving a concert performance of Gianni Schicchi.
Hannu Lintu studied cello, piano and then conducting with Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy. He participated in masterclasses with Myung-Whun Chung at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and took first prize at the Nordic Conducting Competition in Bergen in 1994.
Hannu Lintu has made several recordings for Ondine, Naxos, Danacord and Hyperion, with whom he recently recorded Schumann's complete works for piano and orchestra featuring soloist Angela Hewitt. Other recent recordings include works by Enescu and Jouni Kaipainen with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, and Schumann, Dietrich, Gernsheim and Volkmann with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. He has received several prizes for his recordings both at home and abroad, including a Grammy nomination in the Best Opera CD category in 2011 plus a Gramophone Award nomination for his recording of Enescu’s Symphony No.2 with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra.
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
(c) Heikki Tuuli
Founded by 25-year-old Robert Kajanus in 1882, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO) has been operating without a break for longer than any other orchestra in the Nordic countries. Kajanus was to be the Orchestra’s Chief Conductor for five decades. The HPO is known for its strong Sibelius tradition; the composer himself conducted the premieres of many of his works between 1892 and 1923.
Violinist-conductor John Storgårds took over as the HPO’s 12th Chief Conductor in autumn 2008. The Orchestra gives 70–80 concerts a year to a total audience of over 100,000 at the Helsinki Music Centre and has an exclusive recording agreement with the Ondine label. Its two releases of the Sibelius Violin Concerto (Miriam Fried & Okko Kamu 1987 and Pekka Kuusisto & Leif Segerstam 1996) have both merited a Gold Disc.
The HPO has won a number of international record awards: Kullervo the Diapason d’Or in 2008, Luonnotar the MIDEM Classical in Cannes and the BBC Music Magazine’s Disc of the Year in 2007. Towards the Horizon, the premiere recording of the cello and percussion concertos by Einojuhani Rautavaara, won the prestigious Gramophone Award and a Grammy nomination in 2012.
Ever since its first foreign visit, to the Paris World Exhibition in 1900, the Orchestra has regularly toured abroad, performing in most of the countries in Europe, the United States, South America, Japan and China.
(c) Heikki Tuuli
“Helios Overture developed out of nothing into a climax of majestic radiance. This was just a taster for the palette of sounds Storgårds brought into play for the Sibelius.” The Guardian
Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor of BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, John Storgårds is one of Finland’s exceptional artists who have taken the classical music world by storm. He has a dual career as a conductor and violin virtuoso and is widely recognised for his creative flair for programming and his commitment to contemporary music. He additionally holds the title of Artistic Director of the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland, whose latest disc, of chamber symphonies by Holmboe, has been recognised as one of the top ten recordings of 2012, by National Public Radio Washington DC.Storgårds appears with such orchestras as Bayerischer Rundfunk, NDR Hamburg, Bamberger Symphoniker, City of Birmingham Symphony, Scottish Chamber, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Netherlands Radio, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino as well as all the major Scandinavian orchestras. Further afield, he has conducted the Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand Symphonies, Kioi Sinfonietta, Cincinnati Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra Washington DC, Toronto, Houston Symphonies, as well as Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood Festival. Soloists with whom he collaborates include Gil Shaham, Christian Tetzlaff, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Sol Gabetta, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Colin Currie, Håkan Hardenberger, Sabine Meyer, Kari Kriikku, Dejan Lazic, Karita Mattila and Matti Salminen.
Following a summer tour with Helsinki Philharmonic and a return to BBC Proms with BBC Philharmonic, Storgårds begins the new season in Helsinki’s prestigious new Music Centre, with a new commission of the Eighth Symphony by Per Norgård, a work he will also perform with Danish National Symphony and BBC Symphony Orchestras. Elsewhere in the season, he will return to such orchestras as WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, BBC Symphony, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Gothenburg Symphony, Stavanger Symphony and Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestras. He also performs several times in North America, returning to Houston Symphony and St Paul Chamber Orchestra, and appearing for the first time with St Louis Symphony, NACO Ottawa, Detroit and Indianapolis Symphonies.
In the opera field, he recently conducted Verdi’s “Don Carlos” at Tampere Opera and gave the Finnish premiere of Rodion Shchedrin’s “The Enchanted Wanderer”, in a concert performance to open his first season as Chief Conductor in Helsinki. This season, he performs a new opera by Uljas Pulkkis with the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland, at Helsinki Festival.
Storgårds’ vast discography includes the award-winning Vasks’ Violin Concerto Distant Light and Second Symphony, Saariaho’s Graal Theatre, works of Corigliano, Sibelius Violin Concerto with Frank Peter Zimmermann and, most recently, an extremely well-received disc of works by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and one of works by Rautavaara, which received a Gramophone Award 2012 and is nominated for a Grammy Award 2013. With BBC Philharmonic, he will perform and record a cycle of Sibelius symphonies for Chandos Records.John Storgårds was concert master of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra during Esa-Pekka Salonen’s tenure and subsequently studied conducting with Jorma Panula and Eri Klas. He received the Finnish State Prize for Music in 2002 and the Pro Finlandia Prize 2012.