The Stockholm Chamber Orchestra started in 1981 by 22 young people who met at a chamber music course in the middle of Sweden. Founded by its present member as the New Stockholm Chamber Orchestra, the Stockholm Chamber Orchestra is one of the most enterprising and sought-after ensembles from Scandinavia, and Europe as a whole. It has an international reputation for its excellence in performances of both classical and contemporary repertoire. Esa-Pekka Salonen has been associated with the orchestra from the outset and is its Artistic Advisor; in 1993 Joseph Swensen was appointed its Principal Guest Conductor.
The orchestra performs regularly in its home city to an ever growing audience and tours extensively worldwide. The orchestra has regularly visited the major European concert halls and festivals under the batons of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christian Zacharias, Franz Welser-Möst, George Cleve, Paavo Berglund, and Joseph Swensen amongst others. The late 1980's saw their debut tours of South America and the USA. During the same period the Orchestra toured Austria and Switzerland with Franz Welser-Möst and in 1990 appeared at the Salzburg Festival under his baton. 1989 saw a tour of the French Festivals with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christian Zacharias and Barbara Hendricks. During the ensuing years Esa-Pekka Salonen amongst others conducted the Orchestra on their regular visit to major concert halls of Europe. The Orchestra has toured in the Far East including, in recent years, two major Mozart cycles in Tokyo conducted by Ole Kristian Ruud; the complete violin concerti with Raphael Oleg and then a return visit for the complete piano concerti with Imogen Cooper.
To celebrate their 20th anniversary in the 2001-2002 season, the orchestra performed a series of highly acclaimed concerts in Stockholm under the batons of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Lü Jia and Joseph Swensen. At present the Stockholm Chamber orchestra is involved in projects which culminate in the year 2009.
The orchestra has frequently recorded for Sony Classical/CBS Masterworks with Esa-Pekka Salonen, EMI Classics and BIS. Their prize-winning recordings and numerous radio and television appearances confirm its reputation as one of the most celebrated chamber orchestras in Europe.