The Finnish conductor Petri Sakari was born in Helsinki in 1958 and started his musical studies as a violinist, later embarking on a conducting career at the age of fourteen. He studied first in his home town at the Tampere Conservatory and graduated in conducting at the Sibelius Academy in 1981 under Jorma Panula, and later also as a violinist. He undertook further study at the Aspen Music Festival in the United States and attended seminars with Franco Ferrara in Siena and with Rafael Kubelik in Lucerne. He is a frequent guest conductor with leading Finnish orchestras such as the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and other leading Scandinavian orchestras, and also conducts opera and ballet, notably the Finnish National Opera and the Gothenburg Opera. Outside Scandinavia he has conducted in England, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Romania, the United States and Mexico. From 1988 to 1993 he was Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, continuing as Principal Guest Conductor and returning as Chief Conductor from 1996 to 1998. In 2000 he was appointed Chief Conductor of the Gävle Symphony Orchestra in Sweden. Petri Sakari has conducted the Iceland Symphony Orchestra on several foreign tours and has recorded with the orchestra the complete symphonies of Leevi Madetoja, symphonies and orchestral works by Sibelius, and works by Uuno Klami, Hugo Alfvén, Edvard Grieg and Icelandic composers, notably Jón Leifs.