Opus X is one of the leading Finnish early music ensembles and has made concert appearances and recordings of groundbreaking importance in the Finnish early music scene.

Opus X was founded in 1995 at the initiative of violinist Petri Tapio Mattson; Mattson became the ensemble's artistic director. Initially the repertoire consisted entirely of chamber music, which the ensemble has performed in wide variety from Italian Early Baroque to quartets of Haydn and Mozart.

Since 1998 Opus X has also performed as an orchestra. The turning point was the recording of J.S.Bach's cantatas with baritone Elja Puukko in 1999; this was the first orchestral recording of Baroque music on period instruments produced in Finland, and was received with enthusiasm by the Finnish press. Since then Opus X has performed such major works as the St John and St Matthew Passions and the Mass in B minor by J.S.Bach, The Messiah and Water Music by G.F.Handel and Requiem by W.A.Mozart.

In 2001 Opus X was invited as the first Finnish Baroque orchestra to perform at an internationally significant festival abroad: the orchestra appeared in two sold-out concerts at the Schleswig-Holstein Music festival under Petri Tapio Mattson's direction.

Opus X has made more recordings than any othe Finnish early music group. In 2004 was published the ensemble's recording of Georg Muffat's Armonico tributo sonatas on the Finnish Alba label, again under Mattson's direction, and in 2005 on the Italian label La Bottega Discantica a recording of J.S.Bach's concertos for two keyboard instruments, with Markku Mäkinen and Fabio Ciofini as soloists.

In 2004 began the co-operation with Hungarian-born early keyboards specialist Miklós Spányi in recording the complete keyboard concertos by C.P.E.Bach for the esteemed Swedish label BIS. The Volumes 14-17 of the series, recorded by Spányi and Opus X between 2004 and 2008, have received acclaim in the music press worldwide. The recordings have significantly boosted the ensemble's international profile, and among other things the ensemble toured Belgium and the Netherlands in early 2008 with Miklós Spányi. Spányi worked as the ensemble's artistic director from 2006 to 2008.

In early 2009 Petri Tapio Mattson was re-appointed as the artistic director and the ensemble launched a new vision of a modern early music group. With a slightly altered line-up, the focus of the reinvigorated Opus X is again on chamber music and, specifically, Baroque music.

Opus X is an ensemble whose main priorities are quality (rather than quantity) and projects of national and international interest. The goal is that the ensemble's concerts and recordings offer something special, whether it is repertoire seldom or never heard before, or a fresh take on a mainstream classic. A key part of realizing this is the employment of the very best forces within the Finnish early music performance and co-operating with top-class guest soloists.

(Photo Hekki Tuuli 2009)

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