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.


Anna-Maria Helsing has gained an outstanding reputation with leading Scandinavian orchestras and opera houses with her special affinity for the sound and style of modernism and contemporary music. From 2010 to 2013 she was Chief Conductor of the Oulu Symphony – the first-ever female conductor at the head of a Finnish symphony orchestra. Since 2020 she has been Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra and Artistic Director of the high-profile chamber music festival Rusk in Jakobstad, Finland.

Helsing has conducted all the major Scandinavian orchestras. She made her operatic debut at the Finnish National Opera with ’Adriana Mater’ by Kaija Saariaho and has led a number of world premieres, most recently ’Lisbeta’ by Karólína Eiriksdottir at Åland Opera, ’Momo and the Time Thieves’ by Svitlana Azarova at the Royal Danish Opera, and ’Magnus-Maria’ by Karólína Eiríksdóttir on tour in Scandinavia. Upcoming highlights are her debuts with the Royal Philharmonic, Musikkollegium Winterthur and revisits with the Finnish Radio Symphony, Iceland Symphony, Lahti Symphony, Turku Philharmonic, Odense Symphony, Kuopio Symphony, Västeras Sinfonietta and Sinfonia Nord Iceland.

After her studies in the class of Leif Segerstam, Anna-Maria Helsing was chosen to take part in the International Conductors’ Academy of the Allianz Cultural Foundation under Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel. In 1999 she won the First Prize in the International Competition for 20th Century Music for Young Artists in Warsaw. Anna-Maria Helsing received violin diplomas from the Jakobstad Conservatory. She has also attended conducting masterclasses with Jorma Panula, Vladimir Jurowski and John Carewe.