Since the beginning of the 21th century, Jyväskylä Sinfonia has filled its concert halls year after year and the seats are almost 100 % sold. Orchestra’s chief conductor Ville Matvejeff began his period in the beginning of 2014 and will continue until the year 2022. Matvejeff is one of the most interesting Finnish musical talents. Successful as a composer, conductor, pianist, and singer, he has established himself as an exceptionally wide-ranging musician.
The orchestra has 38 full-time musicians and the orchestra’s activities reached in 2018 more than 40 000 people. Jyväskylä Sinfonia organizes each year over 100 music events ranging from classical symphony concerts to chamber music concerts, open-minded entertaining evenings, and audience development events.
Jyväskylä Sinfonia was founded in 1955, with Ahti Karjalainen as its first conductor. The orchestra was municipalized for the first time in 1965 and its history has seen various stages, among them phases also as a private organization in addition to the communal unit. During the years, the orchestra has been conducted by Jukka Hapuoja, Onni Kelo, Jorma Svanström, Kyösti Haatanen, William Boughton, Ari Rasilainen, Markus Lehtinen, and Patrick Gallois.
Jyväskylä Sinfonia performs mainly on Wednesdays in Jyväskylä City Theatre; church concerts are usually held in Taulumäki Church. Yearly chamber concerts are held in various places, such as Jyväskylä City Hall and Kuokkala Church. Biennally, Jyväskylä Sinfonia plays in the opera production of Jyväskylä Opera; the latest co-production was highly popular Carmen (2017).
The orchestra performs actively also outside its hometown. Recently, summer festival concerts have been played in Turku Music Festival together with top tenor Jonas Kaufmann and maestro Jochen Rieder and in Kangasniemi Music Festival under the baton of Mikko Franck. Jyväskylä Sinfonia accompanies the competitors of the international Jorma Panula Conducting Competition every third year. Also tours abroad belong to the orchestra’s activities; in the 21th century, the orchestra has toured in Spain, France, Norway, and Japan.
Jyväskylä Sinfonia has published nearly 40 recordings and has released music for some of the largest classical music publishing companies, such as Naxos, Ondine, Warner, Finlandia Records, and Fazer Records. The most successful cd in the orchestra’s history is the recording together with the luminous opera star Karita Mattila; the cd that includes music by Lasse Mårtenson has sold over 80.000 pieces after the publication in 1998.
In 2015 was released the complete recording of Aulis Sallinen’s chamber music with Ralf Gothóni, Arto Noras and Meta4 string quartet as the soloists. Romer’s Gap cd is made with Olli Virtaperko (b. 1973) and it contains three concertos: one for amplified cello with Perttu Kivilaakso, one for knifonium with Jonte Knif, and one for baritone saxophone with Joonatan Rautiola. Pekka Kostiainen’s Requiem from year 2017 is recorded together with St Michel Strings. Three albums with baritone Waltteri Torikka have been a huge success and the latest Christmas album (2018) was the most sold recording in Finland for several weeks.
Versatile audience development projects and contacting the audience actively have a high importance in Jyväskylä Sinfonia’s life. Pupil concerts and instrumental workshops reach thousands of school children yearly and bring classical music and symphony orchestra’s activities familiar to schools.
The orchestra visits regularly retirement homes, hospitals, and organizes open general rehearsals for seniors and other groups, whereas the audience has a great opportunity to meet the performers in the artist meetings just before the concert. By these methods, Jyväskylä Sinfonia strives for meetings its listeners better and ever more versatile.