Founded in 1972, Lapland Chamber Orchestra is the most northerly professional orchestra in Finland and indeed in the entire EU. Conductor John Storgårds has been the orchestra’s Artistic Director since autumn 1996. Based in Rovaniemi, the orchestra is a regional orchestra that regularly tours the Province of Lapland and the Barents region besides also performing elsewhere in Finland.
The orchestra is much in demand at festivals and has to date appeared for instance at the Tampere Biennale,Time of Music festival in Viitasaari, the Nordic Music Days, the Festival of North Norway, the Korsholma Music Festival and the LuostoClassic event. In 2012, the orchestra appeared in the premiere performance of the opera Viisi naista kappelissa (Five Women in a Chapel) by Uljas Pulkkis. In 2013, the orchestra visited the international Festival Culturel de Musique Symphonique in Algeria, and in August 2014 the orchestra made highly successful appearances at the Carintischer Sommer festival in Austria and at the BBC Proms in London. The orchestra has also toured Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Scotland, Hungary and Germany.
The Lapland Chamber Orchestra specialises in giving first performances in Finland of works by international composers from all eras and has also given the world premieres of works by several significant contemporary composers from all eras and has also given the world premieres of works by several significant contemporary composers (including Kalevi Aho, Aulis Sallinen, Pehr Henrik Nordgren, Bent Sorensen and Dave Maric). The orchestra has collaborated with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and worked with numerous distinquished quest performers such as Soile Isokoski, Håkan Hardenberger, Christian Teztlaff, Nicholas Daniel, Nicholas Kraemer, Piers Adams, Colin Currie and Sabine Mayer.
The orchestra has been awarded merit prizes by TV1 of the Finnih Broadcasting Company (1998) and the Arts Council of Lapland (2000). TV1 also awarded its Vuoden Valopilkku Prize 2003 to the Luosto Symphony by Kalevi Aho; the work was premiered by Lapland Chamber Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra on Luosto Fell.
The Finnish Broadcasting Company selected Rituals by Kalevi Aho as Disc of the Year 2009. The orchestra’s recording of the Chamber Symphonies of Vagn Holmboe has been received with critical acclaim around the world and was a nominee for the Gramophone Award 2013. The orchestra’s recording of Kalevi Aho’s concertos for theremin and horn received the distinguished German ECHO Klassik award in the category of recordings of concertos of the 20th and 21th centuries in 2015.