Erkki Linko 1927-52
Erkki Linko was the founder-conductor of the Radio Orchestra and remained with it until he retired. Before joining it, he had studied at the Helsinki Music Institute and been the pianist and leader of restaurant and cinema orchestras. He was also in charge of the Radio Music Library and made guest conducting appearances on the radio in Riga, Prague and Stockholm. Erkki Linko was born at Kangasala in 1893 and died in Stockholm in 1966.
Toivo Haapanen 1929-50
Toivo Haapanen was the first Chief Conductor of the Radio Orchestra. He had studied the violin and theory at the orchestra school run by the Helsinki Philharmonic Society and was a member of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra until 1917. In 1925 he obtained a doctorate with a thesis examining medieval Finnish music. Also a Docent and Supernumerary Professor of musicology at the University of Helsinki, he was employed by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) as its first Head of Music before devoting himself entirely to conducting. He conducted Finnish music in a number of European countries and also composed. Toivo Haapanen was made a member of the Swedish Royal Music Academy in 1943. He was born at Karvia in 1889 and died at Asikkala in 1950.
Erik Cronvall 1944-69
Erik Cronvall was a member of the Radio Orchestra from the moment it was founded, as its leader 1927-53 and its Conductor 1944-69. He also played I violin in the Sibelius Quartet founded by him and in the Linko-Cronvall-Selin Trio. Having studied the violin at the orchestra school attached to the Philharmonic Society, at the Helsinki Music Institute and in Paris, Berlin and Vienna, he taught the violin and ensemble playing at the Sibelius Academy and conducted a number of amateur orchestras (such as the Helsinki University Symphony Orchestra 1946-66). He made numerous guest appearances in Central Europe and Scandinavia and was awarded the honorary title of Professor in 1968. Erik Cronvall was both in Helsinki in 1904 and died there in 1979.
Nils-Eric Fougstedt 1944-50, Chief Conductor 1950-61
Nils-Eric Fougstedt entered the service of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) in 1938 and was the founder and Conductor of the Soloist Choir, predecessor of the Radio Choir. In 1944 he took over as Conductor of the Radio Orchestra, and was promoted to Chief Conductor in 1950. At the Sibelius Academy he taught music theory and choral conducting. He was also a composer and gave three concerts of his works in Helsinki. He studied at the Helsinki Conservatoire, mainly as a pupil of Erik Furuhjelm, and made study trips to Salzburg, Florence, Berlin and the United States. A member of the Swedish Royal Music Academy, he was awarded the honorary title of Professor in 1960. Nils-Eric Fougstedt was born in Turku in 1910 and died in Helsinki in 1961.
Georg Schnéevoigt 1947
Georg Schnéevoigt was invited to accept the post of Conductor of the Radio Orchestra but died before he was able to take it up. He studied the cello at the orchestra school run by the Philharmonic Society, and in Leipzig, Brussels, Dresden and Vienna. Performing to great critical acclaim in various parts of Europe in the 1890s, he was principal cellist of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra 1896-1902. He was Conductor of the National Opera in Riga, the Kaim Orchestra in Munich, the Kiev Orchestra, the Stockholm Concert Society, the Oslo Philharmonic Society, the Berlin Philharmonic, and in Düsseldorf, Los Angeles and Malmö. A member of the Swedish Royal Music Academy as of 1917, he was awarded the honorary title of Professor in 1919. Georg Schnéevoigt was born in Vyborg in 1872 and died in Malmö in 1947.
Simon Parmet 1948-53
Simon Parmet was Conductor of the Radio Orchestra 1948-53. He had already made his debut as a composer and pianist on embarking on his studies at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire, continuing at the Helsinki Music Institute (Erik Furuhjelm, Erkki Melartin) and at the Berlin Conservatoire. He conducted opera in Kiel, Hagen/Westphalia and at the Finnish Opera and held guest conducting engagements all over Europe, in Israel and the United States, where the Bogulavsky College of Music in Chicago granted him an honorary doctorate. He was one of the founders of the Jewish Song Society in Helsinki and the Akateeminen Laulu Choir. Simon Parmet was born in Helsinki in 1897 and died there in 1969.
George de Godzinsky 1953-80
Polish-born George de Godzinsky was Conductor of the FRSO from 1953, when he was appointed Head of Light Music at the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) and Conductor of the Radio Light Orchestra. He studied at the Helsinki Conservatoire, was a light and dance orchestra musician and répétiteur at the Finnish Opera. Later, he made guest appearances as a theatre, ballet, operetta and opera conductor in Helsinki, Lahti, and abroad, mainly in Sweden. His guest assignments took him to Scandinavia and Western Europe (the Eurovision Song Contest), and he was pianist to Feodor Chaliapin on an extensive tour of the Far East. de Godzinsky arranged music for and conducted the Harmony Sisters vocal ensemble and others and was a prolific composer of song-plays, operettas, film music, light vocal and other music for orchestra and solo instrument. He was awarded an honorary Professorship for his services to music. George de Godzinsky was born in St. Petersburg in 1914 and died in Helsinki in 1994.
Paavo Berglund 1955-62, Chief Conductor 1962-71
Paavo Berglund was a violinist in the Radio Orchestra 1949-57, its Conductor 1955-62 and Chief Conductor of the FRSO 1962-71. He studied at the Sibelius Academy before continuing his conducting studies in Vienna. In 1952 he made his debut as an orchestral conductor in Helsinki and founded the Helsinki Chamber Orchestra. He has been Chief Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and still holds the post in the Royal Danish Orchestra. Meanwhile he has also appeared with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras and was awarded the State Prize for Music in 1972. Paavo Berglund was born in Helsinki in 1929.
Okko Kamu 1970-71, Chief Conductor 1971-77
Okko Kamu was Conductor of the FRSO 1970-71 and Chief Conductor 1971-77. He studied the violin at the Sibelius Academy but is more or less self-taught as a conductor. I violin in the Suhonen, Finlandia and other quartets, he has also been a member of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Finnish National Opera Orchestra. His sensational victory in the Karajan Competition in 1969 brought him the post of Guest Conductor of the Royal Opera Stockholm and other prestigious orchestras. Okko Kamu was born in Helsinki in 1946.
Kari Tikka 1972-76
Kari Tikka was Associate Conductor of the FRSO 1972-76, having studied at the Sibelius Academy: oboe, orchestral conducting with Jorma Panula and composition with Einojuhani Rautavaara. He has been oboist in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor of, among others, the Tampere Theatre, the Finnish National Opera and the Stockholm Royal Theatre. Kari Tikka was born at Siilinjärvi in 1946.
Leif Segerstam, Chief Conductor 1977-87, Principal Guest Conductor 1987-95
Leif Segerstam has been both Chief Conductor and Principal Guest Conductor of the FRSO. He studied at the Sibelius Academy: piano, violin and (with Nils-Eric Fougstedt and others) theoretical subjects and took a diploma in both the violin and conducting (Jussi Jalas). Winning the Maj Lind competition for pianists in 1962, he gave his debut concert as a violinist the following year. He also studied at the Juilliard School in New York. Leif Segerstam has been engaged as a conductor at the Finnish National Opera, the Royal Theatre in Stockholm, the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra and many others and is an extremely prolific composer. Leif Segerstam was born in Vaasa in 1944.
Jukka-Pekka Saraste 1985-87, Chief Conductor 1987-2001, The Conductor of Honour
Jukka-Pekka Saraste was Chief Conductor of the FRSO for 14 years from 1987 to 2001. Before that he had been an associate to Chief Conductor Leif Segerstam and even before that co-principal of the II violins from 1979. During his term as Chief Conductor he gave the FRSO an increasingly international orientation. He was Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra 1994-2001, has been Artistic Director of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, was a founder member of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Adviser to the Finnish Chamber Orchestra. He was awarded the State Prize for Music in 2000. Jukka-Pekka Saraste was born in Heinola in 1956.
Sakari Oramo 1994-2003, Chief Conductor from 2003-2012, The Conductor of Honour
Sakari Oramo was Chief Conductor of the FRSO 2003-2012. He was co-leader of the FRSO from 1991, studied conducting under Jorma Panula and obtained his conducting diploma in 1992. In January 1993 he replaced an ailing conductor at an FRSO concert at very short notice and was an unprecedented success. As a result, he was offered a contract as a conductor as of autumn 1994. Today Sakari Oramo is Chief Conductor of both the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He is also Principal Conductor of the West Coast Kokkola Opera and the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, and between 1998 and 2008 he was Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Sakari Oramo was born in Helsinki in 1965.
Hannu Lintu took over as Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in August 2013.