Over the past two decades the Lahti Symphony Orchestra – under the direction of its chief conductor Osmo Vänskä (1988-2008) – has emerged as one of the most highly regarded orchestras in the world. From the autumn of 2008 the orchestra’s artistic advisor – and artistic director of the Sibelius Festival – is Jukka Pekka Saraste. Okko Kamu will begin as the orchestra's chief conductor and – and artistic director of the Sibelius Festival – in the autumn of 2011.
As the most highly commended Nordic orchestra for its recordings (including a Grand Prix du Disque in 1993, Gramophone Awards in 1991 and 1996, the Cannes Classical Award in 1997 and 2001 and the Midem Classical Award 2006), the Lahti Symphony Orchestra has been a welcome guest at major international venues. It made its first major tour of Japan in 1999, prompting Japanese critics to name it as the best foreign orchestra to perform in Japan that year. Also in 1999, the orchestra made a successful début in the Avery Fisher Hall in New York. In the wake of these successes, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra was invited to return to Japan in 2003 and 2006, and to the United States in January 2005 (e.g. Ann Arbor and the Avery Fisher Hall in New York). Sibelius’s Kullervo, which the orchestra performed in Tokyo, was voted by Japanese critics as the best classical performance of 2003 in Japan. In addition, the same Japanese critics ranked the best orchestras in the world and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra – ranked sixteenth – was the only Nordic orchestra in the top twenty.
Please, see orchestra web site for more info.