Tervetuloa Sakari! (Welcome Sakari)
BBC Symphony Orchestra sub-principal viola Phil Hall welcomes the appointment of their new chief conductor.
So, the news is finally out - after only a single concert last Autumn, the BBCSO's new chief conductor is Finn, Sakari Oramo. To some, that might seem surprising; but he has 25 years of experience and successful partnerships under his belt.
I first heard of him when I was working in the Finnish provinces in the late '80s. Sakari was then a young, gifted concert master (leader) of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He took lessons from the great conducting guru Jorma Panula (who taught just about every Finnish conductor on the circuit). A year later he was co-principal conductor of his orchestra and then came chiefdoms in Helsinki, Birmingham (which won him an OBE), Stockholm and Ostrobothnia (which has one of the finest chamber orchestras in the country). He finishes in Helsinki in May but will take up his position with us next year.
In any orchestra you are seldom going to please everyone but I can honestly say that this appointment has been universally welcomed. His rehearsals for the concert back in October were thorough but good-natured, charismatic and enjoyable and left everyone wanting to sample a lot more. He also has a penchant for English and contemporary music both of which the orchestra excels at. So, 'Hyvää Suomi!' (as they say) and let the new era begin!