Comprising 97 musicians, the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra is one of Scandinavia's foremost symphony orchestras. In 2010 the orchestra celebrated its 80th anniversary.
From August 2013 onward the Artistic Director of the orchestra is Finnish conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali, following Artistic Director Hannu Lintu. Lintu's predecessor was Chief Conductor John Storgårds. Storgårds' predecessor, the Estonian Eri Klas, is Conductor Laureate and Jouni Kaipainen acts as Composer-in-Residence.
In 1990 with the completion of Tampere Hall, a superb concert hall and congress centre, the orchestra literally moved into a brave new world. The vastly improved premises, including a concert hall with a seating capacity of 1,800, gave scope for the orchestra's further artistic development.
The winter season comprises weekly symphony concerts on Fridays and a chamber music series titled Afternoon of Fauns held on one Sunday afternoon each month. The orchestra also serves annually as an opera and ballet orchestra and performs regularly at the Tampere Biennale contemporary music festival.
Organising educational projects and various events for young people is also characteristic of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. It is the first orchestra in Finland to offer an exclusive club for young listeners.
In recent years, the orchestra has recorded mainly for the Ondine label, with conductors such as Hannu Lintu, Eri Klas, John Storgårds, Tuomas Ollila and Leif Segerstam. So far, 40 recordings have been launched onto national and international markets. The most recent of them feature music by Jukka Tiensuu, Jouni Kaipainen, Einar Englund, Peteris Vasks, John Corigliano, Alma Mahler, Leo Brouwer, Robert Schumann and Jean Sibelius.
Many of the recordings have received excellent reviews and several awards, e.g. the Cannes Classical Special Award: Disc of the Year 2004 and a total of five Cannes Classical Awards. The new classical Emma Award by IFPI Finland was presented to the recording of Jukka Tiensuu’s music in spring 2007.
The Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra has so far undertaken international concert tours to Scandinavia, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain and the United States. During the autumn season 2007 the orchestra performed a successful Sibelius anniversary concert in Dortmund and embarked on its debut tour in Great Britain visiting London, Croydon and Birmingham, with a final performance in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Founded in 1930, and maintained since 1947 by the City of Tampere, the orchestra built up its initial reputation for competence as a professional orchestra during Eero Kosonen's 37 years at the helm. Since then, the orchestra has distinguished itself through its performances of Finnish music, notably under the baton of Paavo Rautio, principal conductor from 1974 to 1987, with whom the orchestra toured in the USA in 1987. Regular recording got underway during the years 1990-1994 with Leonid Grin as artistic director. Bold and pioneering programme design was the trademark of Tuomas Hannikainen (Ollila), artistic director 1994-1998.
Tampere Hall is the largest concert and congress centre in the Nordic countries.