The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the oldest professional symphony orchestra in the Nordic countries, was founded as the Helsinki Orchestral Society by the young Robert Kajanus, its first Chief Conductor, in 1882. Well known today for its tradition of performing Sibelius, it also premiered many of his major works, often with the composer himself conducting. The orchestra undertook its first foreign tour to the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1900, and since then it has visited most European countries, in addition to visiting the USA and Japan, both on four occasions.
The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Ondine have maintained a long-standing exclusive partnership with, among others, an edition of the complete Sibelius symphonies under the direction of Leif Segerstam (ODE 1075-2Q). The new Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra from autumn 2008 will be violinist and conductor John Storgårds, who has been the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor since 2003.