Okko Kamu (conductor)

~ Person

Legal name: Okko Tapani Kamu


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 was principal guest conductor of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra until 2017.

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. He also conducted the premieres of Sallinen's 2nd and 3rd symphonies, and has recorded others. 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 concluded 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.

In 1994, Kamu became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. He was awarded the Order of the Lion of Finland medal in 1999 by then president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari.

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1970Symphonie Nr. 2 D-Dur, op. 43Jean Sibelius; Berliner Philharmoniker, Okko Kamu2
1978ViolinkonzerteBruch, Mendelssohn; Young Uck Kim, Bamberger Symphoniker, Okko Kamu3
1980Symphony Nr. 2 (1961) / Symphony Nr. 4 (1971)Joonas Kokkonen; Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leif Segerstam, Okko Kamu1
1982Symphony in C minor / Overture "In Autumn"Edvard Grieg; The Gotheburg Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu2
1985Symphony no. 4 / Cello Concerto / ShadowsAulis Sallinen; Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Okko Kamu, Arto Noras1
1988The Winter TromboneChristian Lindberg, New Stockholm Chamber Orchestra, Okko Kamu1
1988Violin Concerto / Karelia Suite / FinlandiaJean Sibelius; Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Okko Kamu, Miriam Fried2
1990The Alfred Schnittke Edition, Volume 8: Symphony no. 4 / RequiemAlfred Schnittke; Uppsala Akademiska Kammarkör, Stockholm Sinfonietta, Okko Kamu, Stefan Parkman1
1990Symphonien Nr. 1 & 3Sibelius; Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Helsinki, Okko Kamu2
1990The Red LineAulis Sallinen; Jorma Hynninen, Taru Valjakka, Usko Viitanen, Okko Kamu1
1992Violin ConcertosTchaikovsky, Sibelius; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Okko Kamu, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Simon Rattle, Nigel Kennedy2
1992Sunrise Serenade / Symphony no. 2 / Symphony no. 6 "From a New Zealand Diary"Aulis Sallinen; Gert Mortensen, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu1
1993The Music for Piano and Orchestra / Prelude, Chorale and FugueCésar Franck; Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu, Kerstin Åberg1
1994Piano Concerto / Soirées Musicales / Matinées MusicalesBenjamin Britten; Ralf Gothóni, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu1
1994Symphonie Nr. 2 D-Dur / Karelia-SuiteJean Sibelius; Berliner Philharmoniker, Helsinki-Radio-Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu2
1995Swedish Orchestral FavouritesHelsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu2
1995Moonchild’s DreamMichala Petri, English Chamber Orchestra, Okko Kamu1
1995Songs of Life and Death / The Iron Age SuiteAulis Sallinen; Jorma Hynninen, Opera Festival Chorus, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Okko Kamu1
1995Violin ConcertoFelix Mendelssohn; Bamberger Symphoniker, Okko Kamu, Young Uck Kim1
1996Symphonies: No. 3 "Sinfonie singulière" / No. 4 in E-flat major / Piano Concerto in D majorBerwald; Niklas Sivelöv, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu1
1996Symphonies no. 1 "Sinfonie sériuse" / no. 2 "Sinfonie capricieuse"Franz Berwald; Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu1
1997Complete Works for String OrchestraAulis Sallinen; Mats Rondin, Hanna Juutilainen, Finnish Chamber Orchestra, Okko Kamu1
1997Violin Concerto / Finlandia / Karelia Suite / Valse Triste / Tapiola / Pelléas et MélisandeSibelius; Berglund, Kamu, Helasvuo1
2001Complete Works for Violin and OrchestraSibelius; Miriam Fried, Jaakko Kuusisto, Leonidas Kavakos, Helsinki Philharmonic, Okko Kamu2
2002Nielsen: Symphony no. 1 / Sibelius: Symphony no. 7Carl Nielsen, Jean Sibelius; Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, Okko Kamu2
2006The King Goes Forth to FranceAulis Sallinen; Tommi Hakala, Jyrki Korhonen, Riikka Rantanen, Lilli Paasikivi, Mari Palo, Laura Nykänen, Jyrki Anttila, Herman Wallén, Santeri Kinnunen, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Okko Kamu1
2008Clarinet concertosBernhard Crusell; Martin Fröst, Göteborgs Symfoniker, Okko Kamu1
2012Concerto pour piano, trompette et orchestre à cordes no. 1, op. 35 / Concerto pour piano et orchestre no. 2, op. 102 / Vingt-quatre Préludes, op. 34Dmitri Chostakovitch; Andrei Korobeinikov, Mikhail Gaiduk, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu2
2015The SymphoniesSibelius; Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu2
2016Bassoon ConcertosFagerlund, Aho; Bram van Sambeek, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Dima Slobodeniouk, Okko Kamu1
LevitationEötvös, Nielsen, Sallinen; Kojo, Sundqvist, Aalto, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Lintu, Kamu1
Stenhammar: Piano Concerto no. 2 / Aulin: Violin Concerto no. 3Stenhammar, Aulin; Greta Eriksson, Christian Bergqvist, Radiosymfonikerna, Svetlanov, Kamu1

Album + Compilation

1996Symphony no. 1 / Violin ConcertoSibelius; Okko Kamu, Shlomo Mintz, Berlin Philharmonic, James Levine1
2000Finlandia / Valse Triste / Karelia SuiteJean Sibelius; Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan, Okko Kamu1
2000Symphony No. 2 / Finlandia / Valse triste / The Swan of TuonelaJean Sibelius; Berlin Philharmonic, Okko Kamu, Herbert von Karajan2
2003Complete SymphoniesSibelius; Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan, Okko Kamu1
2011The Tempest: Overture & Suites / The Bard / TapiolaSibelius; Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu1

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