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Okko Kamu (b1946)

The Finnish conductor Okko Kamu was born into a family of musicians in Helsinki in 1946. He very soon took up the violin and was able to enter the Sibelius Academy at the age of six.

He formed his own string quartet, the Suhonen, in 1964 where he played first violin for a number of years and at the age of twenty he was appointed to be first solo violin at the Finnish National Opera. Okko Kamu held this post until 1968, when it at last became possible for him to conduct the opera orchestra himself.

A self-taught orchestral director, he became chief guest conductor of the Royal Swedish Opera in 1969, the same year as he won the first Herbert von Karajan conducting competition in Berlin. This latter achievement opened the doors to an international career.

Otto Kamu has conducted the leading orchestras of the world and has been musical director of Finnish and Dutch Radio, of the Helsinki and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestras and of the Stockholm Sinfonietta. He has also been chief guest conductor of the Birmingham Symphony and the Copenhagen Philharmonic.

Okko Kamu has recorded fifty discs for various labels. For Naxos, he has recorded Franz Berwald’s four symphonies and his piano concerto; Aulis Sallinen’s Complete Music for String Orchestra; flute concertos by Penderecki, Takemitsu and Sallinen and an album of Swedish orchestral favourites.

Otto Kamu’s two discs of Berwald for Naxos both received the rare Diapason d’Or award.



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