Oslo Philharmonic
oslo philharmonic klaus mäkelä © marco borggreve

On September 27, 1919, the Orchestra of the Philharmonic Company – later to be known as the Oslo Philharmonic − took to the stage for its first public concert. The creation of an independent symphony orchestra in the city was a major event and among the prominent guests at the opening concert were King Haakon VII and Queen Maud.

The Oslo Philharmonic quickly became a powerhouse in the capital’s music scene, attracting both international stars and a large local audience. In 1921, Jean Sibelius conducted a series of concerts with his own works, and the same year, the chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, Arthur Nikisch, conducted a series of concerts with all of Beethoven’s symphonies.

In the century to follow, the Oslo Philharmonic successfully established itself as one of the major international orchestras, through tours and recordings under the leadership of eminent Chief Conductors, including Herbert Blomstedt, Mariss Jansons, André Previn, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Vasily Petrenko.

In August 2020 the orchestra launched its 101st season with new Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor, Klaus Mäkela, whose close rapport with the musicians was immediately evident at his Oslo debut two years previously. For their first project together, they recorded the complete Sibelius cycle, released on Decca Classics to international acclaim. The BBC Music Magazine named it Recording of the Month and described the album as an “electrifying triumph” and Finland’s Helsingen Sanomat wrote “The sense of alertness of the Oslo Philharmonic’s collaboration with Mäkelä is powerful. One can sense that many great moments have been born of this trust, shared and unforced.”

During the pandemic the orchestra also quickly intensified its digital commitment with the online concert series Mellomspill (Interlude). This led to a tremendous success on both Youtube and social media, and resulted in an important archive of performances with Klaus Mäkelä and guest artists, which received the Norwegian Audience Development Innovation Award for 2021.

Klaus Mäkelä’s third season as Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic features 11 contrasting programmes, with repertoire ranging from Jean Baptiste Lully and Pietro Locatelli to Alban Berg and Icelandic composer, Anna Thorvaldsdottir. Highlights of the new season include a tour to the UK, Germany, Netherlands and Austria and a return to the studio for the next recording project for Decca Classics with a focus on the symphonies of Shostakovich.

Klaus Mäkelä launches the Oslo Philharmonic 2021/22 season on 18 August with a special concert featuring Bartok Divertimento, Liszt Piano Concerto No.1 with soloist Yuja Wang …

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March 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of Sibelius’ last visit to the Norwegian capital and the occasion he conducted the Oslo Philharmonic in a historic performance of his first symphony. A century later, Sibelius’ music remains core to the orchestra’s repertoire and is the main theme of Klaus Mäkelä’s first season …

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For three weeks the Oslo Philharmonic is resuming Mellomspill – a series of short concerts which will be streamed on the orchestra’s website, facebook and youtube channel …

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The Oslo Philharmonic recently launched its 101st season with new Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor, Klaus Mäkelä, with a performance of Mahler’s First Symphony …

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The Season programme of Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra with Klaus Mäkelä.

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The Oslo Philharmonic has announced a four-year contract extension with their new Chief Conductor and Artistic Adviser, Klaus Mäkelä, ahead of the start of his first season with the orchestra, taking the partnership to a total of seven seasons to come.

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