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Jukka-Pekka Saraste, who was born in 1956 in Heinola, Finland, studied violin and began his career as a violinist with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In the mid-1980s, he changed his career path and took classes in conducting with the legendary teacher Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. In 1983, together with Esa-Pekka Salonen, he cofounded the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble dedicated above all to promoting contemporary music. In 1987 he was named chief conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, a position he held until 2002. At the same time, he served between 1994 and 2002 as music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Between 2002 and 2005, Saraste was closely associated with the BBC Symphony Orchestra as its principal guest conductor, and he has been music director of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra since 2006. He will assume the position of principal conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester in Cologne in the 2010-11 season. Jukka-Pekka Saraste Konzerte has conducted many renowned orchestras and ensembles, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, the Orchestra National de France, the London Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, the Filarmonica de la Scala in Milan, and the Dresden Staatskapelle. Among his numerous recordings, his complete Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen cycles are especially prized. Since 2008 Jukka-Pekka Saraste has served as artistic director of the Sibelius Festival in Lahti. He received the Finnish State Prize for Music in 2000 and is also the recipient of Finland’s Sibelius Medal and Norway’s Sibelius Prize.