The 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 25 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 more than 60 discs have been recorded.
The Tapiola Sinfonietta regularly performs with Finnish and foreign guest conductors. 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. Each conductor brings an individual contribution to challenge and inspire the orchestra members to surpass themselves. The artistic directorship of Honorary Conductor Jean-Jacques Kantorow (1993–2006) was of decisive importance to the shaping of the orchestra’s current sound.
Because the Tapiola Sinfonietta is relatively small, with 41 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.
The Tapiola Sinfonietta regularly appears at several Finnish festivals and tours abroad, most recently in China and central Europe. 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 2nd and 7th 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.