Artistic Board

Principal artistic responsibility in the Tapiola Sinfonietta rests not with a chief conductor but with the Artistic Board, which is in charge of repertoire planning and artistic improvement. The Artistic Board also selects the guest conductors and soloists. This administrative model is used by a handful of chamber orchestras around the world but remains a rarity. The Tapiola Sinfonietta adopted this model in 2001.

The Artistic Board consists of the General Manager and two musicians elected by orchestra members. In the 2020/21 season, they are I Concertmaster Janne Nisonen and Principal Flute Hanna Juutilainen.
The Board picks out concert programmes, guest conductors and guest soloists and puts them into a proposal submitted to the Repertoire Committee.

Artists in Association

The Tapiola Sinfonietta engages in close collaboration with its Artists in Association and with an annually appointed Artist in Residence.
In the 2021/22 season, conductor Ryan Bancroft and guitarist and guitarist-composer Marzi Nyman continue in their roles as Artists in Association. Our Artist in Residence for the season is composer Sebastian Fagerlund.
The orchestra has been appointing Artists in Association since 2006.
Chief conductors and artistic partners of Tapiola Sinfonietta since 1987 were:

Chief conductors:
1987-1988 Jorma Panula
1987-1990 Juhani Lamminmäki
1990-1992 Osmo Vänskä
1993-2006 Jean-Jacques Kantorow
1999-2001 Tuomas Ollila

Artistic partners
2001-2002 John Storgårds
2003-2009 Olli Mustonen
2006-2013 Pekka Kuusisto
2006-2012 Stefan Asbury
2010-2019 Mario Venzago
2011-2014 Santtu-Matias Rouvali
2013- Marzi Nyman
2014-2019 Alexander Melnikov
2018-2021 Klaus Mäkelä

Klaus Mäkelä, condutor and cellist

Klaus Mäkelä, a conductor and cellist creating a meteoric international career, became an Artist in Association with the Tapiola Sinfonietta in autumn 2018. He is also the Principal Guest Conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the artistic director of the Turku Music Festival and Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.
In autumn 2018, the Tapiola Sinfonietta launched a Beethoven series designed and conducted by Mäkelä, featuring all of Beethoven’s symphonies.
In recent years, Klaus Mäkelä has made débuts with a number of prominent orchestras, including the Minnesota Orchestra, the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Kammerakademie Potsdam, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, the Bern, Malmö and Bergen Symphony Orchestras and Sinfonia Lahti.
Mäkelä has appeared as a cellist with a number of Finnish symphony orchestras and has performed chamber music at the major Finnish music festivals. In 2014, he won 2nd prize and the ‘audience favourite’ prize at the Turku XII Cello Competition.

“The Tapiola Sinfonietta allows the music to live and breathe. They give it all they’ve got at every concert, whether playing a piece for the first time or for the thousandth time.”


Marzi Nyman, guitarist, composer and singer

Marzi Nyman – a Finnish guitarist, composer and singer – does not, perhaps, represent the conventional image of an Artist in Association to a classical chamber orchestra. But his mastery as a guitarist, singer, composer and arranger, and his light-music networks have been put to good use in producing concerts, especially those for the young.  Nyman’s roles as Artist in Association with the Tapiola Sinfonietta includes appearing as soloist in his own Concerto for electric guitar and in a concert of music by Frank Zappa. In October 2020 Tapiola Sinfonietta will be premiering Nyman´s new work for the orchestra, “Lost Key”, music for children.

“I feel deeply passionate about chamber and orchestral music,” he says. “When the Sinfonietta players invited me to be their partner, I had to pinch myself. My feelings had been reciprocated! The partnership is absolutely one of the biggest honours I have received. The contact with the players is extremely important to me, and I dream of even closer dialogue with them. I also hope that we may, at our concerts, hear a real “band” of which I am privileged to be a member. My feeling is this: ‘The playground is open: Come on in!’

Photo: Aki-Pekka Sinikoski

Tuuli Takala - Artist in Residence

Soprano singer Tuuli Takala has been appointed Artist in Residence of the Tapiola Sinfonietta for the 2020/21 season. During this season, she will be appearing as a soloist and a chamber musician with the orchestra.

Tuuli Takala is one of the most successful Finnish opera singers of her generation, both at home and abroad. She has been engaged at the famous Semperoper in Dresden since 2015, and she also regularly appears at prominent venues in Finland and elsewhere.

Takala made her professional début as the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute at the Finnish National Opera in 2013. In addition to several acclaimed opera roles, she has enjoyed success in numerous national and international competitions, including 1st prize in the Timo Mustakallio Competition and the Kangasniemi Singing Competition, both in Finland, in 2013. In autumn 2018, she received the Curt Taucher Prize of the Semperoper Foundation.

Photo: Jouni Harala

Honorary Conductor

French conductor and violinist Jean-Jacques Kantorow was given the title of Honorary Conductor of the Tapiola Sinfonietta in 2011. He was the orchestra’s Artistic Director from 1993 to 1999 and its regular conductor from 2000 to 2006. His tenure was of crucial importance to the shaping of the sound of the Tapiola Sinfonietta. He also conducted the orchestra in a substantial number of recordings: of the 60 items in the discography, about one third were conducted by Kantorow.
About one third of the more than 70 albums in the discography of the Tapiola Sinfonietta were recorded under Jean-Jacques Kantorow. The most recent of these, a recording of Piano Concertos nos. 3 to 5 by Saint-Saëns with Alexandre Kantorow as soloist, has received several international prizes and accolades.
Apart from his conducting career, Kantorow is also a successful concert violinist and has won prizes in several international competitions.

Jean-Jacques Kantorow