Paavo Berglund

Finnish conductor Paavo Berglund, known for his association with the music of Jean Sibelius, his ruthless rehearsing and dedication to perfection, was born in Helsinki on 14 April 1929. He studied the violin using an instrument made by his grandfather.

At twenty, he joined the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra's string section and, scoffing at the antics of various second rate podium stick wavers, founded his own chamber orchestra, beginning his own conducting career. He co-founded the Helsinki Chamber Orchestra and worked with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, first as assistant conductor, then chief conductor, from 1956 until 1972. He was then music director of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, and also worked as principal conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra from 1972 until 1979.

Berglund also worked with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Danish Orchestra, the Scottish National Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the St Petersburg Philharmonic, the Russian National Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra.

His achievements include three complete recordings of the Sibelius symphonies, the first recording of the Kullervo Symphony, and a new performing edition of Sibelius' Symphony No 7.

Paavo Berglund retired from conducting in 2007, and, following a long illness, died in Helsinki on 25 January 2012, aged eighty two.

A selection of articles about Paavo Berglund

Spotlight. Absolute Brilliance - Gerald Fenech recommends Warner Classics' forty-two disc set of recordings by Paavo Berglund. '... a precious treasure-trove packed with musical diamonds that took twenty-seven years to complete.'