Avanti! Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1983 at the initiative of conductors
Esa-Pekka Salonen and Jukka-Pekka Saraste and flautist Olli Pohjola to satisfy
a need for high-quality ensemble work by enthusiastic and highly skilled
musicians. It was also recognized that without such an ensemble, a great deal
of contemporary music and other rare repertoire would remain unperformed.
Avanti! has responded admirably to the challenge that it set itself, and many
new musical ideas in Finland have been channelled through it. It is an ensemble
that varies in size from a solo player to a symphony orchestra. It specializes
in no particular genre; rather, it is proud to be a specialist in all styles
with a strong sense of responsibility for the music of today.
Besides the winter season’s concert series in Helsinki, the orchestra has held
a music festival of its own every summer in Porvoo since 1986. For the earliest
festivals, various ideas were pooled; there are still traces of the original
unfettered vision in the unexpected twists in the repertoire. Since the late
1990s, the festival has invited a different artistic director each year. Cellist
Anssi Karttunen, the first, has been followed by Sakari Oramo, Jukka-Pekka
Saraste, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kari Kriikku, John Storgårds, Magnus Lindberg,
Jouni Kaipainen, Hannu Lintu, Kaija Saariaho, Oliver Knussen, Kirmo Lintinen,
Seppo Kimanen, and Pekka Kuusisto.
Avanti! is constantly on the move and has become one of the most active
ambassadors of Finnish music abroad. International engagements take the
orchestra regularly around the world.
Clarinettist Kari Kriikku has been the artistic director of Avanti! since 1998.
Visit avantimusic.fi for more information.