Finnish Baroque Orchestra
A new era in Finnish music began in 1989 with the foundation of the Sixth Floor Orchestra, an ensemble specializing in ancient music that was not satisfied with just bringing to life the baroque and classical styles but aimed to do so with the most authentic instruments and with respect based on research. Named after the rehearsal facilities of the Sibelius Academy, the orchestra can be said – without exaggeration – to have wiped away the dust from ingrained notions of baroque music, both artistically and in scientific terms, and to have drawn the attention of contemporary audiences to music that has hitherto been confined to the bottom shelves of archives and the minds of experts.
The ensemble, which has been known as the Finnish Baroque Orchestra (FiBO) since 2009, has – despite its name – expanded its activities from baroque music to the classical and early romantic periods as well as contemporary works. For example, at its own concert series in the Finnish House of Nobility and at Finnish music festivals, FiBo presents works for period instruments that it has commissioned from composers of today. The players still use so-called period instruments, as in today’s concert of music by Sibelius. The orchestra’s work has not gone unnoticed by prizegiving committees: the Finnish Broadcasting Company’s Record of the Year awards in 2001 and 2013 and the ‘Vuoden musiikkiteko’ award in 2000 testify to the widespread acclaim of the Finnish Baroque Orchestra at all levels.
Tomas Djupsjöbacka, conductor
The conductor Tomas Djupsjöbacka (b. 1978) first came to the forefront of musical life in Finland as a cellist. He came second in the Turku Cello Competition in 1998, and for years has been invited to appear as a soloist all over Finland. Since 2001 he has been a member of Meta4, Finland’s most successful string quartet internationally, and since 2006 he has played in the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Nowadays Djupsjöbacka also appears as a conductor. He was already interested in conducting orchestras as a teenager. He listened to recordings while reading scores and thought how marvellous it would be to conduct the same music in front of a real orchestra. When he finally decided to try a new career, he didn’t tell anyone about it. Unbeknown to his colleagues he attended courses with Atso Almila and Jorma Panula, after which he was convinced that he should broaden his activities as a musician. Djupsjöbacka graduated from the Sibelius Academy’s conducting class in 2017.
After making his début as a guest conductor with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra at his graduation concert in the autumn of 2016, he has conducted numerous Finnish orchestras including the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Avanti!, the Lohja City Orchestra, the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra and the Jyväskylä Sinfonia. He was appointed the first principal guest conductor in the history of the Lapland Chamber Orchestra in the spring of 2019, and he took up the post of principal conductor of the Vaasa City Orchestra a year ago. Djupsjöbacka and Finnish Baroque Orchstra visited last at the Sibelius Festival in 2020.