Tapiola Sinfonietta

The Tapiola Sinfonietta  ‒ the orchestra of the City of Espoo – is a high-quality chamber orchestra whose guest performers include leading Finnish and foreign conductors and soloists. For more than 30 years, the orchestra has maintained a core repertoire of the Viennese Classics, but the ensemble is also eager to perform contemporary works and children’s music and participate in multi-genre productions. The orchestra tours regularly in Finland and abroad. Its home base is Tapiola Hall at the Espoo Cultural Centre, which is also where most of its 70 discs have been recorded.

Photo: Olli Häkämies

Music with partners

In the season 2021/22 the Artists in Association are conductor Ryan Bancroft and guitarist-composer Marzi Nyman. The Artist in Residence 2021/22 is composer Sebastian Fagerlund. 

In the early days of the orchestra, it had artistic directors such as Jorma Panula and Osmo Vänskä and guest conductors including Paavo Berglund, Hannu Lintu, Leif Segerstam, Masaaki Suzuki and Olari Elts. The artistic directorship of Honorary Conductor Jean-Jacques Kantorow (1993–2006) was in a decisive importance to the shaping of the orchestra’s current sound.

Among the Artists in Association have been pianists Olli Mustonen and Alexander Melnikov, violinist Pekka Kuusisto and conductors Mario Venzago, Santtu-Matias Rouvali and Klaus Mäkelä.

Wait, where´s the conductor?

Because the Tapiola Sinfonietta is relatively small, with 43 members, and because many of its members have known each other for a long time, the ensemble often performs without a conductor. Performed with the leader taking leadership responsibility within the ranks, as it were, such concerts highlight the personal skills of each musician and the essential chamber music nature of musical performance. Not all works can be performed without a conductor, however, so each such programme is carefully considered with regard to rhythm, texture and orchestration. The Tapiola Sinfonietta has developed conductor-less performing into an important format alongside other types of performance.

Music moves us

Being the orchestra of the City of Espoo, the Tapiola Sinfonietta also gives children’s concerts and performs for senior citizens. Each year, the orchestra gives several ‘KULPS’ concerts for schoolchildren in 1st and 8th grades, and members of the orchestra visit dozens of old people’s homes in Espoo to give performances. The orchestra also performs at many official functions of the City of Espoo.