Okko Kamu

~ Person


Okko Tapani Kamu (born 7 March 1946, Helsinki, Finland) is a Finnish orchestral conductor and violinist.

Kamu was born into a family of musicians. His father played double bass in the Helsinki Philharmonic. He began violin studies at age two and entered the Sibelius Academy at age six. He formed his own string quartet, the Suhonen, in 1964 where he played first violin. At age 20, he was appointed first solo violinist at the Finnish National Opera, and held this post until 1968. He then began to conduct, initially with the Finnish National Opera orchestra. Primarily self-taught, he became principal guest conductor of the Royal Swedish Opera in 1969, the same year as he won the first Herbert von Karajan Conducting Competition in Berlin. From 1971 to 1977, Kamu was principal conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Outside of Finland, Kamu was principal conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic from 1975 to 1979. He has also held leadership positions with the Stockholm Sinfonietta. He has been chief guest conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Copenhagen Philharmonic, the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra. He is currently principal guest conductor of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Kamu was awarded the Order of the Lion of Finland medal in 1999 by then president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari.

Kamu was chief conductor of the Finnish National Opera from 1996 to 2000. He has been a noted conductor of the operas of Aulis Sallinen in the opera house where he conducted the premieres of The Red Line, King Lear and The Palace, and on record. In April 2009, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Kamu as its next chief conductor, as of the autumn of 2011. Kamu's initial contract was through the spring of 2014. In November 2012, the orchestra announced the extension of Kamu's contract through the end of July 2016, at which time he is scheduled to conclude his tenure in Lahti.

Kamu has recorded more than 100 discs for various labels, such as Finlandia and Musica Sveciae. For Naxos Records, he has recorded Franz Berwald's four symphonies and his piano concerto; Aulis Sallinen's Complete Music for String Orchestra; flute concertos by Penderecki, Takemitsu and Sallinen. Kamu's two discs of Berwald for Naxos both received the rare Diapason d'Or award.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1970 Symphonie Nr. 2 D-dur (In D Major · En Ré Majeur) Op. 43 Jean Sibelius; Berliner Philharmoniker, Okko Kamu 2
1978 Violinkonzerte Bruch, Mendelssohn; Young Uck Kim, Bamberger Symphoniker, Okko Kamu 2
1980 Symphony Nr. 2 (1961) / Symphony Nr. 4 (1971) Joonas Kokkonen; Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leif Segerstam, Okko Kamu 1
1985 Symphony no. 4 / Cello Concerto / Shadows Aulis Sallinen; Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Okko Kamu, Arto Noras 1
1986 Symphony in C minor / Overture "In Autumn" Edvard Grieg; Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu 1
1988 Violin Concerto / Karelia Suite / Finlandia Jean Sibelius; Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Okko Kamu, Miriam Fried 2
1990 The Alfred Schnittke Edition, Volume 8: Symphony no. 4 / Requiem Alfred Schnittke; Uppsala Akademiska Kammarkör, Stockholm Sinfonietta, Okko Kamu, Stefan Parkman 1
1990 Symphonies nos. 1 & 3 Sibelius; Helsinki Radio Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu 2
1992 Sunrise Serenade / Symphony no. 2 / Symphony no. 6 "From a New Zealand Diary" Aulis Sallinen; Gert Mortensen, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu 1
1993 The Music for Piano and Orchestra / Prelude, Chorale and Fugue César Franck; Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu, Kerstin Åberg 1
1994 Piano Concerto / Soirées Musicales / Matinées Musicales Benjamin Britten; Ralf Gothóni, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu 1
1995 Swedish Orchestral Favourites Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu 2
1995 Songs of Life and Death / The Iron Age Suite Aulis Sallinen; Jorma Hynninen, Opera Festival Chorus, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Okko Kamu 2
1996 Symphonies no. 1 "Sinfonie sériuse" / no. 2 "Sinfonie capricieuse" Franz Berwald; Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu 1
2001 Complete Works for Violin and Orchestra Sibelius; Miriam Fried, Jaakko Kuusisto, Leonidas Kavakos, Helsinki Philharmonic, Okko Kamu 2
2002 Nielsen: Symphony no. 1 / Sibelius: Symphony no. 7 Carl Nielsen, Jean Sibelius; Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, Okko Kamu 1
2015 The Symphonies Sibelius; Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu 1
Levitation Eötvös, Nielsen, Sallinen; Kojo, Sundqvist, Aalto, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Lintu, Kamu 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1995 Moonchild’s Dream Michala Petri, English Chamber Orchestra, Okko Kamu 1
2000 Finlandia / Valse Triste / Karelia Suite Jean Sibelius; Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan, Okko Kamu 1
2000 Symphony No. 2 / Finlandia / Valse triste / The Swan of Tuonela Jean Sibelius; Berlin Philharmonic, Okko Kamu, Herbert von Karajan 2
2003 Complete Symphonies Sibelius; Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan, Okko Kamu 1
2011 The Tempest overture & suites / The Bard / Tapiola Sibelius; Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu 1

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