Helsinki Music Centre. Photo: Pertti Nisonen
Helsinki Music Centre opened in 2011. It is a world-class music hall with excellent acoustics, slated to further strengthen the robust music scene of the capital city. The centre is home to two major symphony orchestras, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Sibelius Academy music university.
Robust musical scene
Finland is internationally known for classical music. The country has produced a high number of top-class conductors, instrumental soloists, opera singers and composers. Helsinki is equally dynamic as a classical music scene.
Finland has also built an international reputation in popular music, with many bands reaping success across the world. Helsinki has an active band culture, which creates a flow of new performers and music. Jazz is also strong in Helsinki.
The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the first professional symphony orchestra founded in the Nordic countries, has more than 100 regular members and gives 70-80 concerts in Helsinki each year which attract a total audience of over 100,000. The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra is another leading Finnish symphony orchestra with a full repertoire in Helsinki. Both orchestras are based at the Helsinki Music Centre.
The Finnish National Opera is an opera and ballet company of high international standard. It includes the only professional opera and ballet companies in Finland, a professional choir and a large orchestra. The Finnish National Opera gives about 300 performances in a year.
Sibelius Academy, is the largest music university in Europe. Based at the Helsinki Music Centre, the academy makes an important contribution to Helsinki’s music offering.
The Avanti! Chamber Orchestra is an ensemble that varies in size from a string quartet to a symphony orchestra. The orchestra specializes in all styles with a heavier focus on contemporary music.
The Finnish Chamber Orchestra is an ensemble made up of concertmasters and principals from leading Finnish orchestras such as the Helsinki Philharmonic and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as freelance artists.
The Helsinki Baroque Orchestra focuses on early music in fresh presentations using period instruments.
The UMO Jazz Orchestra is a big band specializing in jazz and new rhythm-oriented music.
Live popular music can be heard throughout the week in Helsinki. The city’s restaurants and clubs host both Finnish artists and guest performers from abroad.
Savoy Theatre of the City of Helsinki Cultural Office runs a lively programme of world and popular music throughout the year.
Music is at the heart of major cultural festivals in Helsinki each year or the sole focus of the festival.
Helsinki Festival, Finland’s largest annual arts festival, features extensive line-ups of classical and world music.
Flow Festival is an annual music festival that takes place at the historic former Suvilahti power plant site in August. The programme includes indie-rock, soul, jazz, folk music and contemporary club sounds by both rising and established artists.
The annual Tuska Open Air Metal Festival, Finland’s largest “metal meeting”, is another summer festival at Suvilahti.
World Village Festival (site in Finnish) is an annual ethnic festival with music and other multi-cultural experiences which takes place in late May in the city centre.
“Kirkko Soikoon” (site in Finnish) is a church music festival that takes place in Helsinki churches each spring.
Musica Nova Helsinki is Finland’s largest contemporary classical music festival organized once in two years.
A large number of music festivals are organized in the vicinity of Helsinki, most of them in the summer season. They focus on classical and church music, blues, jazz and popular music.
Finland Festivals lists festivals throughout the country by type of festival.
Detailed information on music in Finland – classical, popular, jazz and other – is provided by the Finnish Music Information Centre and the Finnish Musicians’ Union.