The orchestra was dreamed up in 2018 by a group of international musicians from various backgrounds, united by the desire to perform a larger variety of western classical music repertoire while bringing new and youthful energy to the Helsinki orchestral music scene and beyond.
The orchestra’s community extends to artists from all around the world who specialize in various styles of music, ranging from the oldest baroque to the most avant-garde contemporary music. This wide range of expertise helps lead to a true richness and breadth of repertoire.
The Helsinki Chamber Orchestra also works with other existing projects and ensembles, with affiliates including such initiatives as the Far Away Ensemble, the Polska Travels project, and the Key Discoveries Festival.
Each concert of the Helsinki Chamber Orchestra is built around a specific idea based on historical, artistic or philosophical concepts. These ideas serve as the string that ties the program together, helping guide the audience through a musical journey in every concert. Audience education is central to the mission of the Helsinki Chamber Orchestra, and it strives to perform accessible and understandable concerts for new audiences wherever and whenever possible.
The best art, the best performances, break down boundaries. The boundaries between real and imagined; the boundaries between people; the boundaries between audience and performer; the boundaries between members of the orchestra. The Helsinki Chamber Orchestra seeks to provide a platform for performers and audiences to achieve that unity. The orchestra is tailor-made to serve the music at the highest level, and to provide a unique experience of chamber and symphonic music, undivided.
The Helsinki Chamber Orchestra is a Finnish orchestra based in Helsinki and specialized in chamber orchestra repertoire ranging from early music to music of our time.
The Helsinki Chamber Orchestra works to produce high-quality performances of western classical music written for chamber orchestra or chamber ensemble, to bring classical music to new audiences through accessible performances and well-constructed concert programs, and finally, to celebrate the variety in classical music by performing works that span a breadth of different styles and by championing lesser-known works. In addition to that, the orchestra also seeks to promote and employ young talented classical music professionals seeking to find their place in the music industry, with the support of major institutions such as the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the French Institute in Finland, and the Sibelius Academy.
One of the central tenants of the Helsinki Chamber Orchestra is the importance of chamber musicianship and individual musical responsibility on behalf of all of its players. The rehearsal process is based on democratic principles, with the conductor and concertmaster serving as moderators for the process as opposed to executives. Additionally, all the players are hand-picked by the section leaders for each project, creating a rare human and musical link within the ensemble. The enhanced communication and awareness between players, combined with the advanced ensemble-playing skills, results in a unique synergy within the orchestra.
The Artistic Board of the Helsinki Chamber Orchestra serves as the catalyst of the mission of the orchestra. Although the orchestra operates on a democratic principle, the responsibility of proposing programming and ensuring artistic development is delegated to the artistic board. Although growing in popularity, this is still a relatively rare model among orchestras from around the world, found in Finland with ensembles like the Tapiola Sinfonietta and the Finnish Baroque Orchestra.
The membership of the artistic board meets regularly to discuss the future of the Helsinki Chamber Orchestra. This includes proposing concert programs, discussing artistic projects, and selecting guest conductors and soloists for the coming seasons. These proposals are then submitted to the orchestra as a whole for approval.
The members of the Artistic Board of the Helsinki Chamber Orchestra are its Concertmaster, Kanerva Mannermaa, its Principal Conductor, James Salomon Kahane, its Principal Cellist, Laura Martin and one volunteer musician among the permanent members appointed for a 6-month term.