Release number four became Ondine's first major success
The roots of Ondine date back to 1985 when founder Reijo Kiilunen released the very first Ondine album under the auspices of the renowned Finnish Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. The label's initial mission was to produce one live album at the Festival each season. The fourth album, however, featured Einojuhani Rautavaara's opera Thomas
), raising major international attention and opening the ground for overseas distribution. Kiilunen, who was running the Festival's concert agency and had begun the recording activity part-time, soon decided to devote himself fully to the development of this new business, producing and editing the first 50 releases himself.
The Helsinki-based company has been expanding steadily ever since. In 2009, Ondine joined the international Naxos group as an independent unit within the organization. Throughout 25 years, Ondine has released 500 carefully selected CDs, Hybrid SACDs and DVDs.The label's discs enjoy wide international distribution and are also available for digital download or streaming from several online outlets.
Conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy and producer Seppo Siirala at a recording session in Berlin in 1998
Over the years, Ondine has established itself as one of the most respected labels in classical music, and its products have received numerous prizes at the Cannes (MIDEM) Classical Awards, the Gramophone Awards, the BBC Music Magazine Awards and the Classical Internet Awards. In a larger context, Ondine's history of success has played a part in the strong development of Finland's cultural visibility internationally, which has gone hand in hand with the economic and technological rise of the country since the mid-1990s. The label of origin "Made in Finland" is today widely recognized as a guaranty of exceptional quality and reliability and Ondine is proud to have shared in the forging of this reputation.