Sakari Oramo was appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in September 1998, and was subsequently appointed Music Director in September 1999, a position he held until 2008. Over the course of the ten years with the CBSO, touring in the UK and overseas, Oramo’s reputation as a conductor grew and he quickly established himself as a major international artist. Birmingham audiences received him warmly and, in summer 2004, he received honorary doctorates from the University of Birmingham and the University of Central England (now Birmingham City University), in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the musical life of the city.
Born in 1965 in Helsinki, Oramo has exceptionally wide-ranging musical tastes and his programmes were always adventurous, often reflecting his Finnish origins and his love of 20th-century British music.
Sakari Oramo is now Chief Conductor of both the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and he is also Principal Conductor of the West Coast Kokkola Opera and the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra. He also conducts concerts with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra where, after a decade as their Chief Conductor, he has now served as their Honorary Conductor since 2012.
An accomplished violinist, Oramo was originally concertmaster of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and was appointed its Associate Principal Conductor after stepping in to conduct the orchestra at very short notice in 1993. He gives several performances a year as a violinist, and in 2014 he made his debut in the BBC Proms Chamber Music series, where he played Prokofiev’s Sonata for two violins with Janine Jansen.