Kymi Sinfonietta was established on January 1st, 1999, when the city orchestras of Kotka and Kouvola were merged. Currently, the orchestra consists of 33 musicians. The orchestra operates as a limited company, Kymenlaakson Orkesteri Oy, which is owned by the cities of Kotka (2/3) and Kouvola (1/3). This model involving two owner-cities is unique in Finland. A versatile, widely acclaimed repertoire and high-class artistic activity with Finnish and international artists have gained the orchestra a solid reputation.
The first artistic director of Kymi Sinfonietta was Mr. Juha Nikkola. Between 2004-2006, the principal guest conductor was Dmitri Slobodeniouk. From the beginning of 2007 to the summer of 2014, the artistic director was Japanese conductor Yasuo Shinozaki. The Estonian conductor Olari Elts has been the artistic advisor of Kymi Sinfonietta since 2018.
Kymi Sinfonietta’s concerts are regularly held in Kotka, and two thirds of the concerts are also performed in Kouvola. The orchestra also visits other cities in Finland and abroad. The repertoire is wide, ranging from chamber music to symphonies, from baroque to modern music – always ready for new kinds of musical adventures.
In addition to their normal operations in Kotka and Kouvola, Kymi Sinfonietta also tours other locations in Finland and abroad. The orchestra has made successful visits to St. Petersburg in 2003, 2012, and 2013, Heerlen in the Netherlands in 2007, in China in 2008, London in 2010, in Riga as a guest of the Latvian National Choir in 2011, and in Tallinn together with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra in 2015. A visit to Tallinn is scheduled for the fall of 2022, again as a joint concert with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. Other long-term collaborators include the Latvian National Choir and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
Kymi Sinfonietta has also received international attention in being the performing orchestra of the international Uuno Klami Composing Competition in the years of 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019. The final concerts of the competition have been broadcast on the radio to European countries by the European Broadcasting Union. The competition is unique by nature: it is the only frequently arranged international orchestra composition competition in Finland. It also ranks among the most popular and acclaimed composition competitions worldwide. In the fourth and most recent competition in 2019, a phenomenal 284 composers from 38 different countries took part in the competition. Kymi Sinfonietta is also the orchestra of the national Uuno Klami Composition Competition for young composers.