St. Michel Strings, based in the city of Mikkeli, is a professional string ensemble of 12 full time musicians. St. Michel Strings dates back to 1903, when a small town of only a few thousand residents had a local music association that founded an orchestra. The ensemble had far higher aspirations than its amateur status. It eventually became a fulltime professional ensemble, and in 1990 became one of the cultural organizations publicly funded by the city of Mikkeli.
St. Michel Strings has enjoyed renaissance since the appointment of Music Director Sasha Mäkilä in the fall of 2012. Mäkilä returned to his home country after serving as Assistant Conductor of the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra and Orchestre National de France.
St. Michel Strings has won acclaim for its innovative programming of works for strings and has also become known for its eagerness to collaborate with young composers from Finland and abroad. In order to diversify its concert offerings, St. Michel Strings engages in numerous other partnerships as well, regularly performing joint concerts with other ensembles. The chamber configuration of the ensemble allows for easy mobility while still providing a full and authentic concert experience, sometimes even without a conductor.
Among its recent accomplishments, St. Michel Strings participated in the prestigious Great Mountains Music Festival in South Korea in summer 2013, and its recording Adagio, conducted by Grammy Award-winning conductor and composer José Serebrier, got Latin Grammy Award nomination. Recently St. Michel Strings has collaborated with soloists such as violinists Clara-Jumi Kang and Zia Hyunsu Shin, cellist Jian Wang and pianist Olli Mustonen. Celebration of the 150th anniversary of Jean Sibelius included St. Michel String’s tour in South Korea and China in March 2015 with Sibelius’ music.