From 2010 to 2019, he served as chief conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra, and was music director and chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra from 2006 to 2013.
His earlier positions include principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, artistic advisor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, plus principal conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, where he is now conductor laureate.
The founder of the Finnish Chamber Orchestra, where he serves as the artistic advisor, Saraste is also a founding member of the LEAD! Foundation mentorship program for emerging conductors and soloists.
His many accolades include the Pro Finlandia Prize, Sibelius Medal, the Finnish State Prize for Music, plus honorary doctorates from York University, Toronto, and Sibelius Academy. In 2023 he was awarded Finaldn’s Commander of the Order of the Lion.
“Symphonic music has always been a very important part of the Finnish identity, and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra has an incredible history of providing a platform for composers since the early works of Sibelius,” said Saraste. “I am very excited to continue building the identity and importance of the orchestra together with the Artistic Leadership Team.”
“This is an inspiring next step for the 140-year-old HPO,” added HPO general manager, Aleksi Malmberg. “We can be thankful for having such a strong base, from which we can explore new exciting paths with these wonderful artists — together with our 102 musicians and the whole team in service of music and the people of Helsinki. Now if ever, the value of unity, creativity and collaboration is being highlighted.”