So far, the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra (Keski-Pohjanmaan Kamariorkesteri; Mellersta Österbottens Kammerorkester; = OCO) has premiered around eighty new works. The players treat many of these pieces as normal repertoire, just as others would regard the music of Tchaikovsky or Dvorák.
Although contemporary music forms the core of the orchestra’s repertoire, this does not mean that older music is somehow secondary. The OCO is equally at home with Baroque and Classical works such as the orchestral suites of Bach, the concerti grossi of Handel and the orchestral works of Mozart. In fact, in the early 1980’s the orchestra was the first ensemble in Finland to apply what is now known as the ‘authentic’ approach in performance.
Juha Kangas and the OCO received the Creation prize of the Finnish Copyright Agency (Teosto) in 1995 for their professional creative work that has significantly promoted Finnish music. In 1998 they received the Madetoja Award of the Finnish Composers’ Society. Juha Kangas received the Finnish Government Music Award in 1992 and in 1998 the Grand Music Award of the Latvian Ministry of Culture.
Many internationally merited soloists have appeared with the OCO, e.g. Gidon Kremer, Murray Perahia, Oleg Kagan, Grigory Sokolov, Alexei Lubimov, Monica Groop and Edith Mathis. The OCO has toured regularly abroad to places such as Japan, Germany the Nordic countries and the Baltic. In 1998 they visited Austria and Luxembourg for the first time. The OCO has made a dozen excellent recordings and signed an exclusive recording contract with Finlandia Records starting in 1996.