The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (Finnish: Helsingin kaupunginorkesteri, Swedish: Helsingfors stadsorkester) is an orchestra based in Helsinki, Finland. Its primary concert venue is the Helsinki Music Centre.
In 1882, with the backing of two wealthy businessmen, Robert Kajanus founded the orchestra as the Helsinki Orchestral Society and served as its chief conductor for 50 years. It was the first permanent orchestra in the Nordic countries. In 1914 it merged with its bitter rival the Helsinki Symphony Orchestra and acquired its present name. Until 1962, it also served as the orchestra for the Finnish National Opera.
Leif Segerstam was chief conductor of the orchestra from 1995 to 2007, and is now its chief conductor emeritus. John Storgårds became principal guest conductor of the orchestra in 2003, and took up the chief conductorship of the orchestra in the autumn of 2008, with an initial contract of 4 years. His current contract with the orchestra is through 2014. In October 2013, the orchestra announced a further extension of Storgårds' contract through December 2015, at which time he is scheduled to step down from the chief conductorship of the orchestra. In In September 2014, the orchestra announced the appointment of Susanna Mälkki as its next chief conductor, effective in the autumn 2016, with an initial contract of 3 years. She is the first female conductor to be named to the post in the orchestra's history.