The Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra (HSO) was founded in 1912 and is one of Sweden’s oldest orchestras. Its principal conductors have included Sten Frykberg, John Frandsen, Okko Kamu, and Andrew Manze, with whom it has recorded symphonies by Beethoven and Brahms. The HSO is undoubtedly one of the region’s key international leaders and is much sought-after for both concert tours and recording projects.
In addition to regular guest appearances on major Scandinavian stages (such as Berwaldhallen and Konserthuset in Stockholm), the HSO has had many successes at prominent European venues (such as three sold-out recent concerts at the Great Festival Hall in Salzburg and in Vienna). Future engagements include appearances in Munich and Nuremberg in 2016. The HSO’s extensive discography has also received rave response and reviews, especially its recordings of the music of Mieczyslaw Weinberg and the complete orchestral works of Lars-Erik Larsson.
Since September 2014, the HSO’s principal conductor is Swedish-born Stefan Solyom, who is currently also the General Music Director of the Deutsches Nationaltheater and Staatskapelle Weimar. Maestro Solyom has appeared on a regular basis with the HSO since 1998, when he was nineteen years old, and has a highly developed and intimate relationship with the orchestra, based on the kind of mutual familiarity and understanding that comes with years of frequent, intense collaboration. This is apparent not only in the quality of music-making at the HSO under Solyom, which is often described as electrifying, moving, and profound, but also in the complete harmony of their collective philosophical stance on the role of the symphony orchestra in a wider social context. The HSO and Solyom are constantly combining the traditional with the iconoclastic, and finding fresh and unique ways of expanding their horizons while respecting their origins.
Alongside its core activities of 31 subscription concerts per season, the HSO promotes a philosophy of inclusion, and strives as much as possible to reach all Helsingborg residents. Its efforts include early education programmes for elementary school and kindergarten age children, innovative programming, multidisciplinary presentations of orchestral music (such as in a recent collaboration with French cartoonist Grégoire Point), and the introduction of new, innovative settings that deemphasise traditional concert practices. In June 2017, the HSO will inaugurate a yearly, weekend-long outdoor festival on the grounds of a local castle, which will consist of both chamber music and orchestral concerts. It is hoped that these projects will break down barriers and create a gateway to the symphony for those who are less accustomed to symphonic music.
“The Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra … play with an intensity untempered by discretion. Must be heard.” ~ Norman Lebrecht on the Weinberg Chamber Symphonies,
“…the opening movement was played like a brutally life-affirming spring river. A grand performance!” ~ Dagens Nyheter about Beethoven’s Eroica
“What radiant power was not exuded from the outer movements. The second half of the first movement was simply electrical. The pillar-like final chords of the finale were so charged, that the audience were compelled to hold back their applause for what seemed like an eternity.” ~Helsingborgs Dagblad about Sibelius’ fifth symphony