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Vaasa City Orchestra

Vaasa City Orchestra, established in 1930, has 31 musicians. Tomas Djupsjöbacka has been the chief conductor of the orchestra since January 2021.

The orchestra

Vaasa City Orchestra


Regular orchestral concerts in Vaasa date back to 1930, when an Orchestra Society was founded in the town. In 1974, the orchestra became part of the City of Vaasa.

Vaasa City Orchestra comprises 31 musicians. Tomas Djupsjöbacka has been the chief conductor of the orchestra since January 2021. Orchestra’s composer-in-residence is Markus Fagerudd. The orchestra works and performs in the historical Vaasa City Hall, in the center of Vaasa.

In addition to traditional symphonic concerts, the orchestra does concerts with other musical directions, for schools etc. The orchestra frequently collaborates with other neighboring orchestras.

Vaasa City Orchestra appears at various festivals during summertime such as Ilmajoki Music Festival, Korsholm Music Festival and Lohtaja Church Music Festival.

The orchestra also collaborates in a yearly opera production with Vaasa Opera Foundation and Vaasa City Theatre.

Since 1999, every third year, Vaasa City Orchestra has organized the International Jorma Panula Conducting Competition together with Viljo and Maire Vuorio Foundation. Vaasa City Orchestra operates also as the orchestra for annual Jorma Panula conductor course.


Chief Conductor Tomas Djupsjöbacka

Tomas Djupsjöbacka has been Chief Conductor of the Vaasa City Orchestra since January 1st, 2021.

Known for his versatility, his strengths include his extensive contacts in Finland and internationally, and his ability to understand the needs and wishes of his musicians. Once in Vaasa, Djupsjöbacka hopes to awake the imagination of the city’s residents through the power of classical music.

Tomas Djupsjöbacka’s appointment as Chief Conductor of the Vaasa City Orchestra is welcomed news for the city of Vaasa and its residents.

“One of the most important tasks the Vaasa City Orchestra is charged with is improving the wellbeing of the city’s residents. In his role as both Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Tomas will contribute significantly to achieving this goal”, explains general manager of the Vaasa City Orchestra, Mia Huhta.

Djupsjöbacka is ready and willing to meet these high expectations, and he is fully aware of the pressing need of Vaasa’s residents for some brightness and inspiration during the covid-19 pandemic. For his part, the new Chief Conductor hopes that the city will approach his appointment with sense of curiosity.

“I hope to awake the imagination of the audience through the power of classical music. I want to encourage those who live in Vaasa to experience something new and different”, he remarks.

As a musician, Djupsjöbacka is known for his versatility – evident in both his playing as a cellist and work as a conductor. He has played in the Meta4 string quartet for almost 20 years and been a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for 15 years. On top of this, he has conducted almost every orchestra in Finland. All this and more made him a perfect fit for the role as Vaasa’s new Chief Conductor.

“First and foremost we were looking for a fantastic musician – one with practical experience and a firm grasp of both the Finnish and international soundscape. It is also important for Vaasa’s Chief Conductor to be able to communicate fluently in both Finnish and Swedish”, Huhta adds.

Djupsjöbacka, a Helsinki native, was asked to replace the conductor for the 100% Beethoven concert series held in Vaasa. As it turned out, this autumn guest appearance also helped Vaasa’s General Manager decide who the orchestra wanted as its new leader.

“One of our musicians asked during a meeting if it could always be like that week. I knew then that we’d found the right person”, Huhta says with a smile.

Tomas Djupsjöbacka’s appointment as Vaasa’s new Chief Conductor is an important step in his career.

“While I will still be guesting for other orchestras, getting to be Vaasa’s Chief Conductor is an incredibly important opportunity to develop the city orchestra’s sound, the concert programme, and the long-term artistic direction”, Djupsjöbacka remarks.

Huhta praises Djupsjöbacka as a modern conductor who, thanks to his time as a chamber musician, can identify with the experiences of the orchestra’s players.

“Leading from within is an important part of any collaboration”, she observes.

Djupsjöbacka has signed a three-year contract with the Vaasa City Orchestra, with the deal also including an additional two-year option. First on his agenda when he arrives in Vaasa is planning a new programme for the orchestra in place of the operatic production postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The hope is that audiences will be able to safely enjoy all the city orchestra has to offer in the new year.


Musicians of the Vaasa City Orchestra


Maano Männi, Alternating 1st Concertmaster

Matilda Haavisto, Alternating 1st Concertmaster

Anna-Leena Merikivi, Principal


Liisa Makkonen, Principal

Leenakaisa Sandberg, Sub-principal

Marko Konttinen

Tarmo Isokangas


Nana Raitaluoto, Principal

Arttu Nummela, Sub-principal

Viktor Olaus Nygård


Vladimir Reshetko, Solo cellist

Elena Hämäläinen, Principal

Tuomas Roos


Pontus Grans, Principal

Eero Marttila, Sub-principal


Emilia Karhi, Principal

Heidi Riikonen, Sub-principal


Siri Alanko, Principal

Panu Sivonen, Sub-principal


Eneko Iriarte Velasco, Principal

Hugo Olsson, Sub-principal


Samuli Krohn, Principal


Harri Ala-Aho, Principal

Vesa Ania, Sub-principal


Ilari Pälli, Principal

Mari Pakarinen, Sub-principal


Tuomas Länne, Principal


Patrik Knif, Principal