Oramo was born in Helsinki, and started his career as a violinist and concertmaster of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 1989, he enrolled in Jorma Panula's conducting class at the Sibelius Academy. In 1993, just one year after completing the course, he stood in for a sick conductor with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. This success led to his appointment as Co-Principal Conductor. Oramo has also worked with Finland's Avanti! ensemble. From 2003 to 2012, Oramo was sole Principal Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Oramo became principal guest conductor of the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra in 1995, and one of its principal conductors in 2009. In 2013, he is scheduled to become the orchestra's artistic director.
In September 1996, Oramo was named Principal Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), having conducted the CBSO in two concerts prior to that appointment. He then assumed the post as Music Director and Artistic Advisor in 1998. His work in Birmingham included the Floof! festival of contemporary music. He also championed the music of John Foulds in concerts and recordings with the CBSO. He was at the forefront of the Edward Elgar sesquicentenary celebrations in 2007, and was awarded the Elgar Medal in 2008 for his efforts in advancing Elgar's music. In 2008, Oramo stepped down as the CBSO's Music Director and became the orchestra's Principal Guest Conductor for the 2008–2009 season.
In April 2007, Oramo was one of eight conductors of British orchestras to endorse the 10-year classical music outreach manifesto, "Building on Excellence: Orchestras for the 21st Century", to increase the presence of classical music in the UK, including giving free entry to all British schoolchildren to a classical music concert. In addition to his conducting and recording work, Oramo has also published newspaper articles on music.
In September 2008, Oramo became Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. His initial contract in Stockholm was for three years. With the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, he has recorded symphonies of Robert Schumann. In 2011, Oramo's contract with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic was extended through 2015.
In October 2011, Oramo made his first guest conducting appearance with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (BBC SO), his first guest-conducting engagement with any London orchestra. On the basis of this concert, in February 2012, Oramo was named the 13th Chief Conductor of the BBC SO, effective with the 2013 Proms season. His initial contract is for 3 years, with a pending subsequent option for an additional 2 years. Oramo held the title of Chief Conductor Designate for the 2012–2013 season.
Oramo is married to the Finnish soprano Anu Komsi, and they have two sons, Taavi and Leevi. In May 2009, Oramo was awarded an honorary OBE for services to music in Birmingham. Oramo and Komsi, together with Annika Mylläri and Robert McLoud, founded West Coast Kokkola Opera in 2004. Oramo currently serves as its vice chairman and principal conductor.
- William Oliphant (11 May 2009). "Honorary OBE for CBSO's Oramo". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- Andrew Clements (25 October 2000). "Avanti!/Oramo". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
- "Sakari Oramo's Term as Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra to end in 2012" (Press release). Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. 3 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
- "Sakari Oramo is to become BBC Symphony Orchestra's next chief conductor". Helsingin Sanomat – International Edition. 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- Tom Service (13 August 1999). "This man isn't rattled". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
- Tom Service (31 May 2003). "Floof!". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
- Peter Culshaw (26 April 2006). "Visionary genius of the spirit world". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
- Sakari Oramo (28 April 2006). "The forgotten man". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
- Terry Grimley (23 February 2006). "Who will pick up Oramo's baton?". The Birmingham Post. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
- Charlotte Higgins (26 April 2007). "Orchestras urge free concerts for children". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
- Sakari Oramo (25 July 2007). "Stand up for the maestro". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
- Andrew Clements (2010-07-15). "Schumann: Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 – Royal Stockholm PO/Oramo (Sony Classical)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
- Vivien Schweitzer (2006-03-31). "Sakari Oramo to Succeed Alan Gilbert at Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
- Andrew Clements (2011-10-31). "BBCSO/Oramo – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- "BBC Symphony Orchestra announces new Chief Conductor" (Press release). BBC. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- Alex Needham (2012-02-23). "Sakari Oramo to become BBC Symphony Orchestra chief conductor". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- Jenny Leonardz (10 September 2008). "Musiklek på blodigt allvar". Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
- Sakari Oramo biography at Harrison Parrott Agency
- Royal Stockholm Philharmonic / Konserthus Swedish-language page on Sakari Oramo
- Sakari Oramo biography at Hyperion Records
- Sakari Oramo biography at Ondine Records
- Sakari Oramo biography at Warner Classics
- Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra Finnish-language page on Oramo
- Tom Service, "Conductor Sakari Oramo: the Finn's First Night at the Proms". The Guardian, 10 July 2013
|Principal Conductor, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
|Principal Conductor, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra