St. Michel Strings
Autumn 2012 is the beginning of a new era in the life of St Michel Strings, since the orchestra, after several years, has appointed a Music Director. Returning to his country of origin after serving as assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, a prominent young conductor Sasha Mäkilä takes the lead of this Mikkeli-based string ensemble.
The local music association founded an orchestra in Mikkeli, at the time a town of a few thousand inhabitants, in 1903. Right from the beginning, it was more ambitious than a mere amateur orchestra and employed a conductor as well as a leader on a monthly salary to train the players in addition to rehearsing for concerts. When the orchestra passed from the association to the town of Mikkeli in 1990, it had twelve professional string players.
Over the past years the orchestra has concentrated especially on repertoire for string orchestra and made a name for itself both for its choice of works and for its readiness to collaborate with young composers. In order to diversify its concert offering, it engages in numerous other partnerships as well. Joint concerts with other orchestras have become a regular occurrence. Travelling is no problem for a small ensemble of string players which can handle a full concert even without a conductor.
During 2012 St Michel Strings will publish a recording (Alba) containing music by, among others, Turina, Puccini, Rautavaara, and Madetoja with Grammy Award-winning conductor and composer José Serebrier.