Legal name: Jorma Juhani Panula
Jorma Panula (born 10 August 1930 in Kauhajoki) is a Finnish conductor, composer, and teacher of conducting.
Panula studied church music and conducting at the Sibelius Academy. His teachers have been: Leo Funtek, Dean Dixon, Albert Wolff and Franco Ferrara. Apart from conducting, he has composed a wide variety of music. His operas Jaakko Ilkka and the River Opera established a genre entitled "performance opera" for its fusion of music, visual art and the art of daily life. Panula's other compositions include musicals, church music, a violin concerto, jazz capriccio and numerous pieces of vocal music.
Panula was the artistic director and chief conductor of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra from 1963 to 1965, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra from 1965 to 1972 and the Aarhus Symphony from 1973 to 1976. He has also conducted his own opera Jaakko Ilkka at the Finnish National Opera.
Panula has served as Professor of Conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki from 1973 to 1994 and at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. As a pedagogue, Panula has been a teacher and mentor to many Finnish conductors of successive generations, such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Mikko Franck, Sakari Oramo, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, and Osmo Vänskä. Other conducting students have included Ari Rasilainen, John Storgårds, Hannu Lintu, Eeva Ollikainen, Susanna Mälkki, Tuomas Ollila (Hannikainen), Pietari Inkinen, Olari Elts, Stefan Solyom, Rolf Gupta, Jani Telaranta, Maria Badstue, Tuomas Rousi, Jan Söderblom, Kari Tikka, Atso Almila, Markus Lehtinen, Jukka Iisakkila, Juha Nikkola, Petri Sakari, Dmitri Slobodeniouk, Tibor Bogányi, Sasha Mäkilä, Esa Heikkilä. He has since taught conducting courses all over the world, such as in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Moscow, New York, Tanglewood, Aspen, Ottawa and Sydney. He has limited his podium appearances greatly during the past ten years. Panula was listed as one of the "60 most powerful people in music" featured in the November 2000 issue of BBC Music Magazine. Panula was awarded the Rolf Schock Prize in 1997.
In March 2014, Panula caused controversy in a Finnish television interview with remarks that denigrated the ability of women to conduct particular composers, and that women were suited to conducting music that was "feminine enough" (tarpeeksi feminiinistä). Other conductors, such as Salonen, responded critically in turn to Panula's remarks.