The British conductor Rumon Gamba will start his three-year term in January 2022. Conductor, composer and violinist Jaakko Kuusisto has been appointed as Artistic Partner of the orchestra.

Rumon Gamba, 48, has been appointed as the new Chief Conductor of Oulu Symphony Orchestra. He succeeds Johannes Gustavsson, whose term with the orchestra expires this spring. Gamba’s contract period will exceptionally start from the beginning of the calendar year, in January 2022, and cover three years with an option of one additional year.

Boasting a wide-ranging career as guest conductor and chief conductor of several European orchestras, the British Rumon Gamba has acquired particular experience in conducting Nordic orchestras. He has been chief conductor of NorrlandsOperan in Umeå, Sweden, and of the Danish Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

Gamba has received two Grammy Award nominations for his recordings on Chandos, with whom he has an exclusive contract. The first nomination was for a recording of film music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold with the BBC Philharmonic, and the second one came for a CD featuring orchestral works by Vincent d’Indy, made with Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

Gamba has previously guest conducted Oulu Symphony Orchestra on three occasions. “I’m really delighted to be the next Chief Conductor of Oulu Symphony Orchestra,” Gamba says. “My previous visits here have been very fruitful and happy. After weeks like these one always hopes to return, so it was a pleasant surprise that something bigger happened.”

Gamba says that he can sense the orchestra’s spontaneity, creativity and openness that have inspired his collaboration with the musicians ever since their very first rehearsal together. He intends to expand the repertoire of Oulu Symphony Orchestra to cover an even wider spectrum of music. Parallel with his artistic planning duties, Gamba will conduct the orchestra for a minimum of eight weeks each year.

“I am keen to look into areas of repertoire that the orchestra has not played in the past years. I have an extremely broad taste and hope to create some interesting programmes so the orchestra, audience and I can take some fascinating journeys together. I have for example recorded film music from many well-known composers of concert music. This is no doubt a source for music that works well, or even better, without the moving image. The greatest composers are very versatile, and so are the best orchestras and also the audiences, I believe. I want to see a situation in which no-one has the heart to skip even one concert.”

The General Manager of Oulu Symphony Orchestra Maija Kuusisto looks forward to a very promising future. “During Johannes Gustavsson’s term our orchestra took a major leap forward, and we now have a good starting point for setting shared goals with Rumon Gamba. Strong experience, innovative artistic planning and an extensive network of relations within and beyond Finland will be key in the coming years,” she notes.

Maija Kuusisto applauds the positive ambience among the musicians and their readiness to develop further and get excited about new things. “These qualities allow us to achieve something significant together,” she says.

Linkage to Finnish music life

The Oulu-based conductor, composer and violinist Jaakko Kuusisto has been appointed Artistic Partner of Oulu Symphony Orchestra. He brings a pervasive connection to the Finnish music scene and conducts the orchestra 4–6 weeks a year. He is well-known for his versatile career. Kuusisto concluded his term as Artistic Director of Oulu Music Festival this year. The main guest director of Oulu Symphony Orchestra in 2005–2009, he has directed the orchestra on a regular basis since then. He currently acts as Chief Conductor of Kuopio Symphony Orchestra under a contract that extends to summer 2023. “I started to collaborate with Oulu Symphony Orchestra more than 15 years ago. Our teamwork has become very intense over the years, so I’m very happy about this appointment. Together we have produced countless concerts, and I feel that our relationship continues to be fresh and inspiring. I also eagerly look forward to engaging in a dialogue with Rumon Gamba.”