Famous Conductors from Finland

List of notable or famous conductors from Finland, with bios and photos, including the top conductors born in Finland and even some popular conductors who immigrated to Finland. If you're trying to find out the names of famous Finnish conductors then this list is the perfect resource for you. These conductors are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known conductor from Finland is included when available.

Everything from Toivo Kuula to Olli Mustonen is included on this list.

This historic conductors from Finland list can help answer the questions "Who are some Finnish conductors of note?" and "Who are the most famous conductors from Finland?" These prominent conductors of Finland may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected Finnish conductors.

Use this list of renowned Finnish conductors to discover some new conductors that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}

  • Erkki Korhonen (born 1956 in Hämeenlinna) is a Finnish pianist, conductor and former director of the Finnish National Opera.
    • Age: 67
    • Birthplace: Finland
  • Esa-Pekka Salonen (pronunciation : [ˈesɑˌpekːɑ ˈsɑlonen]; born 30 June 1958) is a Finnish orchestral conductor and composer. He is principal conductor and artistic advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, conductor laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and music director-designate of the San Francisco Symphony.
    • Age: 65
    • Birthplace: Finland, Helsinki
  • Georg Malmstén
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    Georg Malmstén (27 June 1902 – 25 May 1981) was a Finnish singer, musician, composer, orchestra conductor and actor. He was one of the most prolific entertainers in Finland of his time, producing over 800 records in numerous genres. In late 1930s, owning a record company, he made about half of his releases under the pseudonym Matti Reima. He was the oldest of three children of a Swedish-speaking family, with Russian ancestry through his mother, Eugenie Petroff, and brother of singer and bandleader Eugen Malmstén.
    • Age: Dec. at 78 (1902-1981)
    • Birthplace: Finland, Helsinki
  • Georg Schnéevoigt
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain

    Georg Schnéevoigt

    Georg Lennart Schnéevoigt (8 November 1872 – 28 November 1947) was a Finnish conductor and cellist, born in Vyborg, Grand Duchy of Finland, which is now in Russia. Schnéevoigt began his career as a cellist performing throughout Europe in the 1890s. He was principal cellist of the Helsinki Philharmonic from 1896 to 1902. After this, he conducted many orchestras including the Kaim Orchestra (now the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra), Riga Philharmonic Orchestra which he founded, Oslo Philharmonic (1919–1921), the Stockholm Concert Society (later the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra), the Sydney Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. From 1930 until his death in 1947, Schnéevoigt was chief conductor of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra. Schnéevoigt was a close friend of composer Jean Sibelius and often performed Sibelius's orchestral music. He conducted the first performance in Finland of Luonnotar in January 1914. He discovered the manuscripts of Sibelius's tone poems "Lemminkäinen and the Maidens" and "Lemminkäinen in Tuonela" (from the Lemminkäinen Suite), which had been thought lost, and gave their first performance since 1894. He also made the first recording of Sibelius's Symphony No. 6. In Europe young Schneevoigt was considered at best a genius. But by an accounting of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Schnéevoigt's conducting style was characterised as "flaccid," "paunchy," "phlegmatic," and "plodding," with "little or no sense of direction so far as discipline was concerned." This notwithstanding, his passion for the music of Sibelius was such that he cried when conducting his works.Vesa Sirén has pointed out that the accounting by Los Angeles Philharmonic is not in accordance with the contemporary critique of Schnéevoigt's conducting. Sirén says that the critiques published in the papers of Los Angeles during 1927-1929 were mainly positive and especially Schnéevoigt's Mahler interpretations were applauded. A reason for Schnéevoigt's apparent loss of reputation, as Sirén reckons, may be that he was succeeded by two legendary conductors – Artur Rodziński and Otto Klemperer – and so his achievements were forgotten.Schnéevoigt died in Malmö, Sweden in 1947 at age 75.
    • Age: Dec. at 75 (1872-1947)
    • Birthplace: Vyborg, Russia
  • John Storgårds

    John Gunnar Rafael Storgårds (born 20 October 1963 in Helsinki) is a Finnish violinist and conductor. Storgårds studied violin with Esther Raitio and Jouko Ignatius at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and continued his violin studies with Chaim Taub in Israel. He was a founding member of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra. After experience leading orchestras from the front desk of the violin section, his interest in conducting increased after an invitation to conduct the Helsinki University Symphony Orchestra. He subsequently returned to the Sibelius Academy from 1993-1997 to study conducting with Jorma Panula and Eri Klas. In 1996, Storgårds became Artistic Director of the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland. With the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, he became Principal Guest Conductor in 2003 and subsequently Chief Conductor in autumn 2008, for an initial contract of 4 years. His Helsinki contract has since been extended to 2014. In October 2013, the orchestra further extended his contract through December 2015. Storgårds concluded his Helsinki tenure in December 2015. From 2006 to 2009, Storgårds was Chief Conductor of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. Storgårds has held the Artistic Directorships of many summer festivals, most recently of the Korsholm Music Festival between 2004–2006, and Avanti's! Summer Sounds Festival. Outside of Finland, in March 2011, Storgårds was appointed principal guest conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, effective January 2012, succeeding Vassily Sinaisky. In January 2015, Storgårds was named the new principal guest conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO), only the second conductor ever to hold the title, effective with the 2015-2016 season with an initial contract of 3 seasons.Storgårds received the Finnish State Prize for Music in 2002. He has made a number of international recordings for Ondine, Sony, BIS, and Da Capo Records, including recordings of music by Andrzej Panufnik, John Corigliano, and Per Nørgård. His recording of Pēteris Vasks' Violin Concerto Distant Light and Second Symphony won the Cannes Classical Disc of the Year Award in 2004. In 2014, his recording with the BBC Philharmonic of the complete symphonies of Jean Sibelius was released, including his second recording of three fragments of the Eighth Symphony. Storgårds, his wife and their two sons live in Rovaniemi.
    • Age: 59
    • Birthplace: Finland
  • Jorma Juhani Panula (born 10 August 1930, Kauhajoki) is a Finnish conductor, composer, and teacher of conducting. He has mentored many notable Finnish conductors, such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Mikko Franck, Sakari Oramo, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, and Osmo Vänskä.
    • Age: 93
    • Birthplace: Kauhajoki, Finland