Petri Sakari is one of the most distinguised Finnish conductors of his generation and an active promoter of music of Nordic composers.
From 1983 onwards Petri Sakari began to undertake professional engagements with various Finnish symphony orchestras, beginning with the Vaasa City Orchestra; this was followed by regular engagements with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra.
Following successful appearances outside Finland Sakari was appointed chief conductor and music director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in 1988. With this orchestra he made highly acclaimed recordings of Scandinavian music for Chandos label and complete symphonies by Sibelius for Naxos label. From 1993 Sakari continued as the orchestra’s principal guest conductor. From 1996 to 1998 he worked again as the music director. Sakari’s relationship with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra has remained intense throughout the years. In 2011 he conducted the opening concert of the new Reykjavik Concert Hall Harpa.
Other positions that Petri Sakari has held include Lohja City orchestra, chief conductor 1993–1999; Swedish Chamber Orchestra, principal guest conductor 1995–1997; Gävle Symphony Orchestra, music director 2000–2004; Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, music director and chief conductor 2007–2011. With the Turku orchestra Sakari has recorded for labels like Sony Classics and Alba.
As a guest Sakari has conducted major Scandinavian orchestras like the Swedish and Danish Radio Symphony Orchestras. In Europe orchestras include Bonn Beethovenhalle, Stuttgart, Saarbrücken, Wien, Basel, Netherlands Radio Symphony orchestra, Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic et al. Sakari’s debut in Musikverein in Vienna got excellent press reviews, when he took over a concert with the RSO Wien at short notice in 2000. This led to several engagements both in Musikverein and Wiener Konzerthaus. He has also conducted in Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Tokyo and Singapore as well as opera and ballet performances at the Finnish National Opera, Stockholm Royal Opera, Gothenburg Opera, Malmö Opera, Icelandic Opera and St. Gallen Stadtheater.
The Finnish conductor was born in Helsinki and started his musical studies as a violinist, later embarking on a conducting career. He studied first in his home town, then at the Tampere Conservatory; he graduated in conducting at the Sibelius Academy in 1981 under Jorma Panula, and later also as a violinist.