HPO AUTUMN SEASON PROMISES MUSIC, SONG AND CELEBRATIONS AT THE HELSINKI MUSIC CENTRE
This autumn, 130 years will have passed since conductor-composer Robert Kajanus, then 25 years old, formed an orchestra – the present-day Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra – that was to continue playing for longer than any other professional symphony orchestra in the Nordic countries. During its autumn anniversary season the HPO will give 31 concerts at the Helsinki Music Centre and before the start of the season, in August, make guest appearances at three international festivals in Central Europe. At home in Finland, 26 will be symphony concerts, three chamber-music evenings and two family concerts.
In the course of the anniversary autumn, John Storgårds will conduct all four symphonies by Brahms. Principal Guest Conductor Olari Elts will open the season on September 5 with pianists Juho Pohjonen and Irina Zahharenkova in the first performance in Finland of Toru Takemitsu’s Quotation of Dream, a concerto for two pianos and orchestra. Also to receive their first performance in Finland will be the orchestral Eclipse by French composer Eric Tanguy on October 26 and the Lithuanian Saga by Rodion Shchedrin on October 31. Symphony No. 8 by Per Nørgård, an HPO commission, is to be premiered on September 19.
The HPO’s Artist in Residence for the opening Music Centre season 2011/2012 has been Soile Isokoski. Following her in this capacity during the season to come will be composer-conductor Olli Mustonen. During the autumn Mustonen will give a piano recital on October 23 and conduct symphony concerts on October 31 and November 1. One of the items on the programme for these concerts will be his first symphony, Tuuri. The chamber-music concert on Finnish Music Day, December 8, will also be in his hands, together with small ensembles of HPO musicians.
The eagerly-awaited VIP on October 3 & 4 is Sir Neville Marriner, bringing our Helsinki audiences a varied menu of British music. Piano music is well represented in the programme for the autumn. The brilliant French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is the HPO’s soloist on December 12 & 13. One of the tributes to Kaija Saariaho on her 60th birthday is a concert conducted by Susanna Mälkki on October 12 that will include Saariaho’s orchestral Orion. Over the autumn, three of the HPO’s own section leaders will be singled out as soloists: Torsten Tiebout (viola) on September 11, Pasi Pirinen (trumpet) on September 28 and Mika Paajanen (French horn) on October 3 & 4.
Vocal works also feature strongly on the programme for the autumn season: mezzo-soprano Virpi Räisänen will be presenting an interesting Phèdre programme on November 28 & 29. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 Ode to Joy with which the anniversary season ends will mark the debut of the Music Centre Choir coached by Tapani Länsiö with the HPO. Emeritus Chief Conductor Leif Segerstam will conduct, with Pia Freund (soprano), Tuija Knihtilä (mezzo-soprano), Jorma Silvasti (tenor) and Mika Kares (bass) as the soloists.