The Kymi Sinfonietta established on January 1, 1999 consists of musicians from the Kotka and Kouvola City Orchestras combined at the end of 1998. Now an orchestra of Sinfonietta strength, it has 32 regular players. It is maintained by a company, Kymenlaakson Orkesteri Oy, owned by the cities of Kotka and Kouvola. The broad, highly-acclaimed repertoire and first-rate concerts, performed with a burning passion for music in partnership with superb Finnish and other artists have won the Kymi Sinfonietta a devoted following.
The orchestra’s first Artistic Director was Juha Nikkola and its Principal Guest Conductor 2004–2006 was Dmitri Slobodeniouk. The artistic direction was in the hands of conductor Yasuo Shinozaki from the beginning of 2007 to summer 2014. The Kymi Sinfonietta appointed conductor Olari Elts as its Artistic Advisor as of January 1, 2018.
The Kymi Sinfonietta gives most of its concerts at the Kotka Concert Hall on Wednesdays and the Kouvola City Hall or Kuusankoski Hall on Thursdays. It has won recognition both in Finland and abroad, as when it toured to St. Petersburg in 2003, 2012 and 2013, Heerlen in the Netherlands in 2007, China in 2008, London (Cadogan Hall) in 2010 and Riga in March 2011 at the invitation of the State Choir Latvija.
The Kymi Sinfonietta has also won international acclaim as the performer of the works reaching the finals of the International Uuno Klami Composition Competition in 2004, 2009 and 2014. The orchestra’s first disc, Klami Rhapsodie, of music by Uuno Klami, Eero Kesti and Toivo Kuula was released in 2002 on the Alba label. This was followed in 2004 by the opera The Journey by Jukka Linkola to a text by Toivo Pekkanen, and KymiScenes, of music by Uuno Klami in December 2007. Its latest recording project is a children’s storybook (Hilla ja Liisi) accompanied by a CD released jointly with Alba Records and the Teos independent publishing house.
Olari Elts’s (b. 1971) passion for distinctive programming rich with invention has earned him much praise on the international music scene. He appears with such orchestras as the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Wiener Symphoniker, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orquesta Sinfonica do Porto Casa da Musica, Seattle Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Soloists with whom he collaborates include Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Gautier and Renaud Capuçon, Brett Dean, Isabelle Faust, Alban Gerhardt, Martin Grubinger, Martin Helmchen, Stephen Hough, Felix Kleiser, Kari Kriikku, Sally Matthews, Karita Mattila, Maxim Rysanov, Baiba Skride, Lara St. John, Simon Trpčeski and Antoine Tamastit.
The 2017/18 season sees Elts return to the Finnish Radio Symphony, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, RTÉ Dublin Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, Slovenia Philharmonic of Llubljana, Robert-Schumann Philharmonie Chemnitz and his debut with the Seoul Philharmonic. Crossing genres, Elts tours to the Konzerthaus Berlin with a theatre-concert production that combines Mendelssohn and Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Tallinn-based theatre company NO99. For Leonard Bernstein’s 100th anniversary, Elts conducts the film On the Waterfront with live orchestral accompaniment of the soundtrack both with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg and on a return to the Orquesta Sinfonica do Porto Casa da Musica.
This season sees the continuation of a recording project of works by Estonian composer Heino Eller including Eller’s Violin Concerto with Baiba Skride and the Estonian National Philharmonic.
Elts’s discography for Ondine includes a disc of Erkki-Sven Tüür works with the Tapiola Sinfonietta including the Viola Concerto with Lawrence Power, and a release of Tüür’s Symphony No. 5 for electric guitar, orchestra, big band and the Accordion Concerto Prophecy. His 2016 recording of Brahms’ arrangements (Detlev, Berio) with the Helsinki Philharmonic won high acclaim.
In the opera field, Elts led a new production of Eugene Onegin for Arctic Opera on tour in Norway in 2015 and titles such as Britten’s Albert Herring and Puccini’s Il Trittico at the Estonian National Opera, as well as Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Idomeneo with both the Latvian and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestras. At the Opéra de Rennes, he conducted Berlioz’s La Damnation du Faust.
Olari Elts is Artistic Advisor of the Kymi Sinfonietta and Principal Guest Conductor of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic from 2011 to 2014, Principal Guest of the Orchestre de Bretagne from 2006 to 2011, Principal Guest Conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra from 2007 to 2010 and Principal Conductor of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra from 2001 to 2006. Born in Tallinn in 1971, Elts is the founder of the NYYD Ensemble specialising in contemporary music.