“It’s official: if you want to be guaranteed an infallible musical adrenalin boost in London, you can always be sure to find it with Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo and his BBC Symphony Orchestra. And it’s not just a question of splashy excitement: Oramo is a rigorous rehearser. Detlev Glanert’s fiendish new tone poem Megaris would not have been half as vivid or pleasurable without extraordinary preparation. As for Nielsen and Sibelius, there is no conductor in the world I’d rather hear today in their music than Oramo.” (David Nice, Artsdesk, March 2017)


“The platform camaraderie and red-hot applause at the end of Friday’s BBC Symphony Orchestra concert would have been impossible under some of the orchestra’s past chief conductors. Not so with its current boss, Sakari Oramo. After the blistering performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 10 the crowd roared and Oramo beamed like the sun.” (Geoff Brown, The Times, February 2017)


“Oramo crafted expertly the shifting textures, folding them over each other with subtle sensuousness, and the BBCSO was in superb form creating lush sounds with fine wind solos, wonderfully involved percussion and sonorous strings.” (Mark Thomas, Bachtrack, August 2016)


“Mahler’s Fifth Symphony took possession immediately, fixing our ears to the spot with its kaleidoscopic colours and jostling moods. Electricity surged in sequences of rage and jubilation, though Oramo’s smiling skill and rapport with his players shone even more in the scherzo’s quieter twists and the adagietto’s gently throbbing love song.” (Geoff Brown, The Times, August 2016)


“Sakari Oramo, principal conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, has been growing in artistic stature from season to season, and though he wears his maestro-ship modestly, his elegant, authoritative and collegial style proved its worth at once in the shaping of the Tchaikovsky overture. (…) Oramo handled gear changes and smoothed out slight ensemble insecurities with unflappable assurance.” (Jessica Duchen, Artsdesk, July 2016)


“The BBCSO under the baton of Sakari Oramo captured all [Tchaikovsky’s FantasyOverture “Romeo and Juliet”] romance and violent passions with exquisite verve.” (Patrick Mulkern, Radio Times, July 2016)


“Oramo has been a galvanising force with this orchestra since his arrival as chief conductor exactly three years ago, and his players were on characterful form, the woodwinds sounding plaintive in imitation of a Russian church choir at the start, the strings gutsy and vibrant as the tempo picked up. The love theme was taken more slowly than usual, yet Oramo ensured it always had a sense of direction.” (Erica Jeal, Guardian, July 2016)


“Oramo led a colourful but brisk and disciplined reading [Bartok Second Violin Concerto] from the orchestra, and all deserve credit for the riveting climax to the first movement, and for the elegant but never sentimental textures of the second. Suitably raucous brass energised the finale, the violin miraculously shining through the orchestral textures, even in the loudest tuttis. An impressive performance all round, demonstrating yet another outstanding facet of Ibragimova’s art.” (Gavin Dixon, Artsdesk, May 2016)


“His reading [Elgar Second Symphony] goes on maturing and deepening, without losing any of the ferocious energy of the outer movements. What seemed new here was the beauty of the pianissimos, the way in which Oramo had persuaded the strings to fine down their sound almost to vanishing point, and which gave added intensity to the slow movement and to the lyrical interlude that precedes the symphony’s final affirmation.” (Andrew Clements, Guardian, April 2016)


“Debussy in his own guise opened the concert in a masterly exposition by Oramo of the Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, in which every note, from the rapt opening flutes solo (…) was astutely positioned.” (George Hall, Guardian, February 2016)


“Incisively led by the guest concertmaster Friederike Starkloff and perceptively moulded by Oramo, this was a very silvery, very silky Night, but its transfiguration was given full shimmering richness.” (Neil Fisher, The Times, October 2015)


“To Mahler’s potentially unwieldy, hugely ambitious vision of the great chain of being, Oramo brought vitality, wisdom and overarching cohesion.” (Peter Reed, classicalsource, September 2015)


“The BBC Symphony Orchestra sounded incisive and crisp on First Night, the influence of Sakari Oramo, also a violinist, as music director already audible in the strings…” (Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, July 2015)


“Not only is Sakari Oramo utterly at home and in control in these two brilliant, at times startlingly variegated works, he draws them closer together than I would have previously thought possible…If you’ve the least interest in Nielsen, make space for this in your collection.” ***** (Stephen Johnson, BBC Music Magazine, July 2015)


“Oramo seems to understand the structure and layout of No.6 as no other. This is surely the performance of this symphony that we have all been waiting for. To say that Sakari Oramo really has the measure of Nielsen is an understatement. These performances are superb, topping off what is surely the finest cycle yet recorded. The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra are absolutely top form and they receive another very fine BIS recording that highlights all the textures that Oramo extracts form the orchestra.” (Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer, June 2015)


“No conductor nails each symphony’s distinct character with such skill and humanity [as Oramo…his] bounding energy in the opening Allegro collerico is arresting, allied with a winning flexibility of tempo. Nielsen’s quirky shifts between duple and triple time are seamlessly handled.” (Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk, May 2015)


“Mr. Oramo…draws rich, textured playing from the BBC Symphony Orchestra, [and] Mr. Perianes gives a spacious, fresh and personal account of this timeless piece…A beguiling recording.” (Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, May 2015)


“Oramo is a master of cohesion… Nielsen’s control and purpose in his seeming anarchy are absolute, and so were Oramo’s: the perfect pairing.” (David Nice, The Arts Desk, May 2015)


“Oramo is a persuasive, passionate and attentive advocate for Nielsen.” (Anna Picard, The Times, May 2015)


“Sakari Oramo’s cycle of Nielsen symphonies for the BIS label draws to a triumphant, blistering close with “The Four Temperaments” and “Sinfonia Semplice”…Oramo is totally in control, letting the panic of the first movement of the sixth take hold with alarming speed but also giving the orchestra space to breathe, as in the broad first movement of “The Four Temperaments”, allowing its rich, full-bodied sound to overwhelm us.” (Stephen Pritchard, The Guardian, May 2015)


“Peerless in this music ([Nielsen]), Oramo…steered an exhilarating performance towards blazing affirmation.” ***** (John Allison, The Telegraph, April 2015)


“…What struck me about the performance was how Oramo brought out the subtle detail in the orchestration and how he revealed the work’s dark underbelly from the outset… It was clear from the outset that Sakari Oramo had the full measure of [Nielsen’s Symphony no. 5]. The first movement was ideally paced…Oramo certainly coaxed a fine virtuoso performance from the BBCSO…A very fine account of one of the greatest symphonies in the repertoire…the evening was rounded off by a very fine performance of Ravel’s Bolero…A fitting end then, to a fabulous five star evening.” (Chris Garlick, Bachtrack, April 2015)


“The BBC Symphony’s Nielsen cycle with its chief conductor Sakari Oramo has turned out to be one of the highlights of the current London season. Oramo has programmed each of the symphonies very thoughtfully, juxtaposing them with music composed elsewhere in Europe at more or less the same time. There is something totally assured about Oramo’s Nielsen and the immaculate, intensely characterful way in which the BBCSO play it…the warmth that he brought to the closing pages, when the music at last settles into the tonality it has been seeking all along, was wonderfully convincing. La Valse was insidiously effective, too, with Oramo carefully teasing out the melodic tendrils that burrow their way through Ravel’s textures, and he brought the same incisive clarity to the Prokofiev concerto, too.” (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, April 2015)


“Sakari Oramo is one of [Nielsen’s] most celebrated conductors…When the music and the music-making are as good as this, there is little to say, except to issue a handsome recommendation…the mighty ‘Inextinguishable’ Symphony…is unleashed with powerful thrust, until unease and tension-filled/strange eddies of current appear;…Oramo is so completely identified with the Symphony’s beguiling escapes, raging intensities and deep eloquences that one rarely has a doubt, and the battle of the two timpanists in the finale is thrilling, leading to something indomitable…this release with this coupling, is an absolute winner.” (Colin Anderson, Classical Source, March 2015)


“It’s a joy to find so much intelligent care and attention expended on Nielsen’s First Symphony…the critic who described [it] as ‘a child playing with dynamite’ got the lively paradox at the heart of this music just right. And so too does Sakari Oramo. You can feel the exuberance, the intellectual control, and also the sense of danger…But there’s also a tender, affectionate streak in this symphony, which Oramo and his orchestra bring out well while resisting the temptation to indulge. I’ve rarely heard the Andante more winningly phrased, but there’s nothing cosmetic about its charm.” (Stephen Johnson, BBC Music Magazine, March 2015)


“Oramo has his Royal Stockholm Philharmonic wind players relax into its almost Baroque-like ornateness, and when the tune ‘turns’ in the violins, it does so with effortless charm…The rolling Andante of the First has such generosity of spirit, the scherzo a rustic gaucheness, and with the finale’s striding open-air quality we seem to be leaving off where the opening movement of the Third will take off. The ‘Espansavia’ heart of the piece is the second movement….and is a departure in every sense – it’s a rarefied air that Oramo breathes.” (Edward Seckerson, Gramophone, March 2015)


“The new Sakari Oramo recording has a second-movement masterstroke: soprano Komsi is placed at a more distant recording perspective than baritone Karl-Magnus Fredriksson, opening up a new world of poetic possibilities…Other recordings have toyed with this effect, but none is this effective.” (David Patrick Stearns, Gramophone, March 2015)


“This was a thrillingly affirmative performance. Oramo powered through the teeming opening section; melodic fragments emerged raw-edged and brazen from within the melee. It seemed artless, and it was meant to: everything was about impulse and propulsion, and any noticeable lingering would have lessened the sense of the elemental.” (Erica Jeal, The Guardian, February 2015)


“If ever there was perfection in a second half, as well as a showcase of an orchestra’s and conductor’s versatility of style, this was it. With the opening eruption of Nielsen’s Fourth we were on terra infirma, made whole only by the life-force of the great theme which drives the symphony to an ultimate victory much more compact and persuasive than the comparable ends of Beethoven’s Fifth and Mahler’s Third…Oramo crowned the work, the evening and his glorious Nielsen cycle so far with the most thrilling peroration in any symphony. Except, that is, the Fifth, so you’d better book tickets for the next fabulous instalment now.” (David Nice, The Arts Desk, February 2015)


“These performances by Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra are exceptional for their stunning power and spacious feeling…This package on BIS follows Oramo’s 2014 release of the Symphony No. 4, ”The Inextinguishable,” and the Symphony No. 5…and the extraordinary quality of these recordings gives high hopes for the conclusion of the series.” (All Music, Blair Sanderson, February 2015)


“Orchestral concert of the year? It would need to be outstanding to better this one…Sakari Oramo and the BBC Symphony Orchestra were on blazing form all evening…” (Martin Kettle, The Guardian, December 2014)


“Under Oramo’s delicate direction, gauzy violins, mossy woodwind, the girlish tones of the BBC Symphony Chorus’s sopranos and altos and the dark glamour of the baritone soloist Igor Golovatenko’s voice combined alluringly. In Nielsen’s parade of choleric, phlegmatic, melancholy and sanguine types, the different groups of instruments were deftly balanced.” (Anna Picard, The Times, December 2014)


“Concert of the year? It’s impossible to think of a more interesting musical event over the last 12 months than the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s final Barbican programme for 2014. No other British orchestra has recently offered anything as stimulating as this ambitious concert, which in many places showed the BBCSO to be playing at an exhilarating new level with its chief conductor, Sakari Oramo”. (John Allison, The Telegraph, December 2014)


“No-one could have drawn playing of more snappy, garish energy for the opening Allegro collerico, with its accents, jabs and dissonances way beyond anything else that was being written in 1902, than Oramo.” (David Nice, The Arts Desk, December 2014)


“Oramo has secured a vibrant, electric orchestral sound that underpins everything, making even the slow introduction seem exuberant underneath its finely judged nobilmente breadth…Oramo keeps the undulating romantic theme at the centre nicely understated, and maintains a fine balance of tenderness and swagger until the rambunctious final pages.” (Erica Jeal, BBC Music Magazine, November 2014)


“En Saga, a tone poem by Jean Sibelius, was the musical highlight of the evening. Oramo’s reading of the piece was subtle, profound and mesmerizing.” (Renée Reitsma,, October 2014)


“Oramo’s instincts and insights secured a rightness of approach, a sense of journeying, and featured not only a focused gathering of resources but also wonderfully sensitive solo string-playing…” (Colin Anderson, Classical Source, October 2014)


“Oramo’s commendably trim and purposeful conception is clearly the result of painstaking preparation and he certainly knows his way round the score; scarcely a fleck of detail escapes his eagle eye…” (Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone, October 2014)


“In this expansive, yet crisply controlled performance, Oramo had the orchestra sounding glorious.” (Erica Jeal, The Guardian, October 2014.


“Sakari Oramo’s pacing, his completely persuasive understanding of the shape let the story unfold wonderfully. He seemed to have the whole orchestra breathing with the soloist…It…shows how well the BBCSO responds to its new principal conductor.” (Sebastian Scotney, Arts Desk, September 2014)


“Oramo really gets under the skin of this music, and the audience showered him with warm appreciation. I can feel National Treasure status beckoning already.” – (Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, August 2014)


“This can be a difficult work to bring off [Oedipus Rex], but Oramo scored strongly thanks to the scale on which he imagined the music, and not least the high-quality choral singing of the men’s voices of the BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Chorus…It was the power unleashed by Oramo, with his BBC forces, that revealed Stravinsky’s opera in its full, monumental glory.” (Richard Fairman, Financial Times, August 2014)


“Sakari Oramo’s account with the BBC Symphony Orchestra…came as a breath of fresh air. The introduction was full of suspense and foreboding, unfolding at a tempo that simply sounded ‘right’…This was a real Beethoven performance.” (Seen and Heard International, August 2014)


“A violinist himself, Oramo has always obtained a wonderfully refined string tone from the orchestras he conducts, and the hushed playing of the Royal Stockholm Phiharmonic…is strikingly effective.” (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, July 2014)


”The BBC Symphony Orchestra’s chief conductor controls musical operations with forensic exactness, but also flair. This was certainly so in an uplifting account of Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Oramo’s feeling for British music leapt into play. So did fresh winds from his native Finland…This was a supremely unified, organic reading.” (Geoff Brown, The Times, May 2014)


“Oramo cunningly shaped the drama of the immense last movement, so that the first arrival at the home key was triumphant, but left room for an even bigger splendour later. And he relished Mahler’s intimate moments too, shaping the delicate Trio of the Scherzo with tender grace.”
(Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, November 2013)


“There’s no intrinsic reason why love of Elgar’s music should be confined to this country, and his greatest scores seem at last to be taking root abroad, as this splendid disc testifies. The Stockholm players seize the Second Symphony’s fabulous orchestral opportunities with relish and subtlety, and their Finnish conductor has an understanding at once individual and profound of its rich ambiguities. Sakari Oramo catches the sadness at the core of the first movement’s opening bravura and draws out beautifully its mysterious middle section. The wonderful Larghetto is a joy, the scherzo suitably wild and scary, and the performance ends in the right resigned, wistful glow.” (David Cairns, The Sunday Times, August 2013)


”[Oramo’s] grip on the scores was no less firm than his control of his orchestral forces, tempered by a flexibility and precision born of keen musical insight. That much was clear from the gripping performance of Carl Nielsen’s Fifth Symphony with which Oramo concluded the program. The music ebbs and flows with eruptive surges of energy followed by pages of uneasy release, all of which Oramo laid out with sweeping authority. If there were more Nielsen advocates as committed as he, Nielsen’s music would be smack in the center of the standard symphonic repertory.” (John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, April 2013)


”Sakari Oramo, at the helm of the NDR Sinfonieorchester, pulled out all of the stops enticing a sparkling and effervescent brilliance from the strings and moulding the low brass to sound like a Wagnerian dragon crawling through the undergrowth.” (Hamburger Abendblatt, March 2013)


“Sakari Oramo demonstrates very impressive credentials as a Bruckner conductor… There is never a hint of stodginess to this performance, a result no doubt of Oramo’s imaginative ear for orchestral sonority and his insistence on creating the maximum dynamic variety.” (BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012)


”The Sibelius symphony that ended the programme was the Third, presented by Oramo in brisk, bold paragraphs that worked to a wonderfully definitive climax” (The Guardian, October 2011)


“This first concert in the orchestra’s Sibelius symphony cycle marked Oramo’s first appearance with a London orchestra. Many others should follow…Strings deserve the top prize for subtleties of tone and attack, but each instrumental section excelled — something only possible when a conductor and the BBC players click…Oramo and the orchestra also fitted like hand and glove in Arnold Bax’s Tintagel” (The Times, October 2011)


“The performance of the Third Symphony which followed sounded new-minted, as if Oramo had re-thought every bar. The middle movement is often rendered as an innocuous serenade, but here the music unfolded with meditative slowness, as if it were discovering its own richness….The whole thing revealed Oramo’s masterly hand” (The Telegraph, October 2011)


“The Finnish conductor held the Sibelian sea swell and magical orchestral perspectives perfectly in balance with the film-fanfare-ish yet impeccably crafted themes. Nothing too brash or noisy here; one only wished that Bax had decided to end with the time-suspending hushed calm that was the most impressive feature of Oramo’s layered interpretation” (The Arts Desk, October 2011)