Kymi Sinfonietta was established on January 1st, 1999, when the city orchestras of Kotka and Kouvola were merged. Currently, the orchestra consists of 33 musicians. The orchestra operates as a limited company, Kymenlaakson Orkesteri Oy, which is owned by the cities of Kotka (2/3) and Kouvola (1/3). This model involving two owner-cities is unique in Finland. A versatile, widely acclaimed repertoire and high-class artistic activity with Finnish and international artists have gained the orchestra a solid reputation.
The first artistic director of Kymi Sinfonietta was Mr. Juha Nikkola. Between 2004-2006, the principal guest conductor was Dmitri Slobodeniouk. From the beginning of 2007 to the summer of 2014, the artistic director was Japanese conductor Yasuo Shinozaki. The Estonian conductor Olari Elts has been the artistic advisor of Kymi Sinfonietta since 2018 until the end of 2022.
Kymi Sinfonietta’s concerts are regularly held in Kotka, and two thirds of the concerts are also performed in Kouvola. The orchestra also visits other cities in Finland and abroad. The repertoire is wide, ranging from chamber music to symphonies, from baroque to modern music – always ready for new kinds of musical adventures.
In addition to their normal operations in Kotka and Kouvola, Kymi Sinfonietta also tours other locations in Finland and abroad. The orchestra has made successful visits to St. Petersburg in 2003, 2012, and 2013, Heerlen in the Netherlands in 2007, in China in 2008, London in 2010, in Riga as a guest of the Latvian National Choir in 2011, and in Tallinn together with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra in 2015. Kymi Sinfonietta had a joint concert with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra in Tallinn in autumn 2022.
Kymi Sinfonietta has also received international attention in being the performing orchestra of the International Uuno Klami Composing Competition in the years of 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019. The final concerts of the competition have been broadcast on the radio to European countries by the European Broadcasting Union. Kymi Sinfonietta is also the orchestra of the national Uuno Klami Composition Competition for young composers.
Born in Barcelona in 1962, Ernest Martínez Izquierdo is Honorary Conductor of the Navarre Symphony Orchestra of Pamplona and Principal Guest Conductor of the ensemble Barcelona 216. Since 2019, he has also been Guest Professor at ESMUC (the Catalonia High School of Music in Barcelona).
Following studies in Barcelona and Paris, Izquierdo began his conducting career in 1985, when he founded the Barcelona 216 ensemble specialising in contemporary music with which he has performed at the most prestigious international festivals. In 1988, he was appointed Assistant Director of the Spanish National Orchestra and in 1989 Pierre Boulez invited him to be his Assistant in the Ensemble Intercontemporain (Paris). From 1997 to 2013, he was Music Director of the Navarre Symphony Orchestra. Also, from 2002 to 2006, he was Music Director of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, and he continued to serve as Principal Guest Conductor through 2009.
Aside from his work as music director, Izquierdo has conducted the principal Spanish orchestras and ensembles. Internationally, he has worked with orchestras such as the Tokyo Symphony, Kyoto Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Trondheim Symphony (Norway), Philharmonique de Radio France, Lyon National and Warsaw Philharmonic, the Gulbenkian Orchestra (Lisbon), Sinfónica do Porto, Sinfónica Municipal de São Paulo, Zagreb Philharmonic, Orchestra Comunale di Bologna and Beethoven Academie of Antwerp, the Tonkünstler-Orchester (Wien) and ensembles including the Ensemble Contemporain of Montreal, the Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, the Trondheim Sinfonietta, Klangforum Wien and the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra in Helsinki.
In opera, outstanding productions include Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater staged by Peter Sellars (with premieres at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki and at the Santa Fe Opera, USA), Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro staged by Emilio Sagi, Orff’s Carmina Burana staged by La Fura dels Baus, and the new production of Saariaho’s L’amour de loin at Quebec Opera staged by Robert Lepage; also the world premiere of L’Ombre de Venceslao by Martin Matalon staged by Jorge Lavelli in Rennes in 2016, and further productions in Avignon, Toulouse and Marseille. In January-February 2018 he conducted a row of performances of Kaija Saariaho’s latest opera Only the Sound Remains at the Paris National Opera and staged by Peter Sellars – a production he conducted again at the Teatro Real de Madrid and at the Lincoln Centre in New York in November 2018.
Izquierdo has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Telarc, Harmonia Mundi, Col Legno, Ircam, Stradivarius and Naxos. He has been honoured with several awards, including the Ojo Crítico, a prize awarded by the Classical Division of the Spanish National Radio in 1995, the Catalan Roland Journalism Prize for Classical Music in 2000, the City of Barcelona Prize in 2001, the Latin Grammy in 2006 and the Diapason d’Or in 2012. Since 2006, he has been a member of the Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi. The State of Finland made him a Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland in 2018.