Principal Conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Sibelius Festival since autumn 2011, Okko Kamu began his musical career as leader of the Suhonen Quartet and violinist in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. He began his conducting career at the Finnish National Opera, where he previously served as leader of the orchestra. In 1969 he started to appear as a guest conductor at the Royal Opera in Stockholm, and in the same year he won first prize in the International Herbert von Karajan Conducting Competition in Berlin which launched his international career.
Known for his versatility as a musician, Okko Kamu has conducted almost all of the world's foremost orchestras. Principal Guest Conductor of Singapore Symphony orchestra since 1995, he has been Principal Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish National Opera, Stockholm Sinfonietta, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra as well as Principal Guest Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra and Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra. As an opera conductor he has performed at such venues as the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Covent Garden in London and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Since 2006 he has been Artistic Director of the "Music!Ruovesi" chamber music festival, appearing as violinist with various instrumental ensembles.
Okko Kamu's international recording career began when he recorded three Sibelius symphonies for Deutsche Grammophon, as part of a cycle shared with Herbert von Karajan. Since then he has made more than one hundred recordings for such companies as DGG, EMI, BIS, Ondinen and Naxos. His most recently released recordings include Sibelius's Tempest Overture and Suites, The Bard and Tapiola with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra (BIS), the Shostakovich piano concertos with Andrei Korobeinikov and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra (Mirare), and Richard Strauss songs and opera arias with Soile Isokoski and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (Ondine). In the coming years he will also record all seven Sibelius symphonies for BIS.
Okko Kamu became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1994. In 2011 he was awarded the Finnish Cultural Foundation Prize and the honorary title of Professor by the President of Finland.