Orchestra

 

Kuva: Jaakko Paarvala

Finnish Baroque Orchestra (FiBO)

New commissions for period instruments, fresh interpretations of old repertoire, courageous and innovative working methods, unique concepts that engage a diverse audience - FiBO offers all this while being an influential force in the Nordic cultural scene.

Artistic partners and performance arenas

During its almost thirty years long history, FiBO has performed with several outstanding artists. Among the partners of recent times are, for example, the singers Yeree Suh, Topi Lehtipuu, Gabriel Suovanen, Anu Komsi, Monica Groop, Sandrine Piau, Karina Gauvin and Tuuli Lindeberg. Although the orchestra often performs without a conductor, it has collaborated with many prominent chief conductors of Finnish orchestras, e.g. Hannu Lintu, John Storgårds, Tuomas Hannikainen and Juha Kangas. The orchestra has also been led by its concertmasters, like violinists Antti Tikkanen, Amandine Beyer, Sergey Malov, Peter Spissky, François Fernandez, Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch and Georg Kallweit, who have all performed as soloists in the orchestra, too. Violinist Ilya Gringolts, harpist Margret Köll, chalumeau player Asko Heiskanen and fortepianists Alexei Lubimov and Tuija Hakkila have also acted as soloists in the orchestra. The cooperation with the Meta4 quartet is especially valued by the orchestra. The quartet has, for example, functioned as the orchestra’s principal players when symphonic music has been performed without conductor.

The Finnish Baroque Orchestra regularly gives its Residency Series concerts in the festive setting of the House of Nobility in Helsinki. The Orchestra has performed at all major Finnish festivals, like Helsinki Festival, Kuhmo Chamber Music and Turku Music Festival, as well as in notable halls around Finland. Yearly, the orchestra carries out some one hundred projects including concerts and educational projects, as well as international touring.

Artistic planning

The orchestra is being developed by an artistic design group, chosen by the instrumentalists themselves. In 2017, the group consists of violinist Antti Tikkanen, harpsichord player Petteri Pitko and administrator and violist Laura Kajander. The colourful and diverse ideas rising from the orchestra have a good breeding ground in the communal atmosphere, which is one of the characteristics of the orchestra and the recipe for its success.  

The repertoire

FiBO’s concert programmes comprise both traditional Baroque concerts and fresh combinations of beloved Baroque pieces. The orchestra also plays Classic and early Romantic music, combined with music commissioned by the orchestra and newly written music. An example of this innovative thinking is the composition Mora (2012) by Jukka Tiensuu, the first Finnish piece written for a large Baroque orchestra, which FiBO has ordered, premiered and recorded.

A versatile concept innovator

FiBO Collegium is the orchestra’s educational team that coordinates various happenings, the contact to the audience, concerts for children, schools and institutions, and the greatly popular senior orchestra. The grandest projects result in Concerto Grosso performances, where several hundreds of professionals and youth gather to play together. Dancers, circus artists and even Olympic athletes have participated in the spectacles – and this is only in waiting for a Viking themed Nordic collaboration!

FiBO Players perform in a chamber sized ensemble that plays the instrumentalists’ favourite music. FiBO Singers, again, is a recently established vocal ensemble consisting of skilled ensemble singers and professional solo singers, and in some concerts they get to be both.

Recordings of the orchestra’s own productions are called the FiBO Records. The first album was recorded in January 2017, and it includes beloved Baroque pieces like the Brandenburg Concertos by Bach, concerts by Vivaldi, starring the orchestra’s own soloists, and Jukka Tiensuu’s Mora with Topi Lehtipuu.

FiBO has also given performances in more unusual venues, for example in a subway car, as home concert ensembles or as the orchestra for a relaxing lie-down concert. New listeners are reached through novel projects and commitments.

A forerunner

All through its history, FiBO has been a forerunner in many aspects in Finland. Starting as The Sixth Floor Orchestra, it played an important part in the emergence of the Baroque movement, and later on, the excellent playing and ingenious concepts have raised attention. Awards like the Musical Act of the Year and the Record of the Year, the fact that concepts created by FiBO have been reused by others, and increasing governmental economic support are signs of the strong appreciation that the orchestra is enjoying.

The orchestra’s unique programmes and skilful playing have received high praise from audiences and press alike: ”Das Finnish Baroque Orchestra begeisterte im Linzer Brucknerhaus” (OÖ Nachrichten / Wruss 14.3.2015)

The entire audience seemed to smile happily when the entire orchestra began to sing Purcell’s chorus ‘No Stars Again Shall Hurt You’. Helsingin Sanomat / Vesa Sirén 9.6.2016

The interaction between singers and the musicians during the Advent concert left nothing to be desired; it is easy to agree with the superlatives that were heard from the audience after the sold-out oratorio: such a wonderfully heavenly concert is experienced very, very rarely. Östra Nyland / Egil Green 28.11.2016