Sirpo, Boris

Active 1932
Active 1966

Biographical notes:

Conductor Boris Sirpo taught in Portland colleges, founded and conducted several musical ensembles, and organized music events.

Sirpo received a distinguished musical education in his native Finland and in conservatories throughout Europe. He founded the conservatory of music in Viipuri, Finland and conducted the Viipuri and Helskinki symphony orchestras. He immigrated to America in 1940 to escape the Russian invasion of Finland. With his student and foster son, the Finnish violinist Heimo Haitto, he toured the United States, performing concerts for Finnish relief. Sirpo and his wife Greta settled in Portland in 1943, where he directed the Marylhurst College String Department. In 1945, Sirpo began a twenty-one year career at Lewis and Clark College. The following year, he established the Portland Chamber Orchestra.

Early in his tenure in the Pacific Northwest, Sirpo adopted Hood River, Oregon as a musical home, developing symphony, chamber, and youth orchestras, as well as a summer music festival.

In 1953, Sirpo gathered together a group of accomplished young female string players to form the Portland Little Chamber Orchestra, a touring ensemble of musical ambassadors who performed in Europe in 1955 and 1957. In his retirement, he resumed conducting and teaching in Hood River, and also founded the Portland Civic Orchestra. Throughout his musical career, he taught violin and composed a number of works.

From the description of Boris Sirpo papers [manuscript], 1932-1966. (Oregon Historical Society Research Library). WorldCat record id: 720072545


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  • Conductors (Music)
  • Women musicians--History
  • Chamber orchestra--History
  • Concert tours
  • Finnish Americans--History


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  • Portland (Or.) (as recorded)
  • Hood River (Or.) (as recorded)
  • Oregon--Portland (as recorded)
  • Europe (as recorded)
  • Oregon (as recorded)