Kaija Saariaho

Earth's Shadows

Wed 10/01/2024 19:00 - 21:30


In this evening’s concert, the organ of Musiikkitalo will be heard together with the orchestra for the first time.

Composer Kaija Saariaho donated a million euros to the Musiikkitalo Foundation in 2017 towards the construction of an organ in the concert hall. Work on what is one of the world's largest concert hall organs was completed last autumn. In this evening’s concert, the organ will be heard together with the orchestra for the first time. “The instrument plays so that it fills the hall and comes close to the audience, even on the listener’s skin,” says the evening's soloist Jan Lehtola.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste

Jukka-Pekka Saraste, now beginning his term as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, has established himself as one of the outstanding conductors of his generation. Born in Heinola, Finland, in 1956, he began his career as a violinist. Today, he is renowned as an artist of exceptional versatility and breadth. He maintains a particularly strong connection to the works of Beethoven, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Stravinsky and Sibelius and is internationally celebrated for his interpretations of Mahler. During the 2023/2024 season, together with the HPO, Saraste will delve deeper into the symphonic heritage of Sibelius, Mahler and Bruckner over several extended concert periods, as well as highlight composers and music of our own time.

As head of the Artistic Leadership Team of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Saraste emphasises the importance of music for both society and individuals.

”Music is a particularly strong part of Finnish culture, and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra itself plays a significant role in building our identities. As I begin my term as Chief Conductor, I want to engage in the orchestra’s efforts to be the orchestra of all Helsinki residents. The brainstorming between the Artistic Leadership Team and members of the orchestra has been very close. Experiencing music as part of a community is one of the greatest things an orchestra can offer its listeners.”

Jukka-Pekka Saraste’s previous positions include the principal conductorships of the WDR Symphony Orchestra in Cologne, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has also served as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. As guest conductor he appears with the major orchestras worldwide and in recent years conducted the likes of the Orchestre de Paris, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and the NHK Symphony Orchestra.

Saraste considers it important to coach and mentor musicians at the beginning of their careers. He is a founding member of the LEAD! Foundation, a mentorship programme for young conductors and soloists that has run projects in Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Bulgaria, amongst others. The LEAD! Masterclass in summer 2023 was held once again in conjunction with the annual Fiskars Summer Festival, where a multinational symphony orchestra of young musicians worked under the direction of Saraste and guest artists.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste has been awarded for his merits in the field of music with the Pro Finlandia Prize, the Finnish State Prize for Music and the Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland.



Gustav Mahler: Symphony no. 6 in A minor

At its premiere in Essen in 1906, the Symphony no. 6 in A minor (sometimes known as The Tragic) by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) appealed to many above all because of its colour and the logicality of its musical narrative. There was certainly plenty of colour to be achieved with an orchestra that included quadruple winds, 8 French horns, 6 trumpets, 2 harps, a celesta and a variety of percussion instruments. 

Though the symphony has no official programme, Mahler hinted that it tells of a hero who is finally mown down by fate. While the works of Mahler always reflect his personal experiences, thoughts and feelings, his music is not necessarily autobiographical or related to ongoing events in his personal life. On the contrary: when he composed the dramatic, tragic Symphony no. 6 in 1903-04, his life was far from gloomy. He was happily married, and well on his way to making his mark as a conductor at the Vienna Opera. 

The romantic second theme of the first movement, which introduces the hero in all his glory, is said to be a musical portrait of his wife, Alma. The three hammer blows in the last movement were, according to Mahler, to be “brief and mighty, but dull in resonance and with a non-metallic character (like the fall of an axe)”. Thus fate fells the hero “like a tree”. 

Violin 1
Jan Söderblom
Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä
Eija Hartikainen
Maiju Kauppinen
Helmi Kuusi
Elina Lehto
Ilkka Lehtonen
Jani Lehtonen
Kari Olamaa
Kalinka Pirinen
Petri Päivärinne
Satu Savioja
Elina Viitasaari
Totti Hakkarainen
Angeles Salas Salas
Johannes Põlda

Violin 2
Anna-Leena Haikola
Kamran Omarli 
Heini Eklund
Maaria Leino
Teppo Ali-Mattila
Krista Rosenberg
Terhi Ignatius
Anna-Maria Huohvanainen
Sanna Kokko
Virpi Taskila
Mathieu Garguillo
Anne Paavilainen
Pia Sundroos
Hanna Teukku

Atte Kilpeläinen
Torsten Tiebout
Petteri Poijärvi
Lotta Poijärvi
Kaarina Ikonen
Tiila Kangas
Ulla Knuuttila
Carmen Moggach
Mariette Reefman
Liisa Orava
Aida Hadzajlic
Ada Koivukangas

Lauri Kankkunen 
Tuomas Ylinen 
Basile Ausländer
Mathias Hortling
Veli-Matti Iljin
Jaakko Rajamäki
Ilmo Saaristo
Aslihan Gencgonül
Fransien Paananen
Sami Mäkelä

Ville Väätäinen 
Pauli Pappinen
Tuomo Matero
Paul Aksman
Eero Ignatius
Venla Lahti
Vilhelm Karlsson
Yordano Nunez
Elina Raijas 
Niamh Mc Kenna
Päivi Korhonen
Jenny Villanen
Hanna-Kaarina Heikinheimo

Hannu Perttilä
Jussi Jaatinen
Nils Rõõmussaar
Paula Malmivaara
Tõnis Traksman

Osmo Linkola 
Heikki Nikula
Nora Niskanen
Harri Mäki
Laure Paris

Mikko-Pekka Svala 
Noora Van Dok
Erkki Suomalainen
Pekko Aakko
Arvid Larsson

Mika Paajanen 
Ville Hiilivirta
Miska Miettunen
Jonathan Nikkinen
Sam Parkkonen
Joonas Seppelin
Seppo Parkkinen
Marian Strandenius
Pasi Tiitinen

Thomas Bugnot 
Mika Tuomisalo
Pasqual Llopis Diago
Alessandro Chiavetta
Tomas Gricius
Touko Lundell
Ilari Tuominen

Valtteri Malmivirta 
Anu Fagerström
Francisco Couto
John Kotka

Jesper Kramer-Johansen

Tomi Wikström 
Mikael Sandström 

Xavi Castelló Aràndiga
Pasi Suomalainen
Sampo Kuusisto
Alex Martin Agustin
Elmeri Uusikorpi

Minnaleena Jankko 
Katilyne Roels

Mirka Viitala


Jukka-Pekka Saraste
Jan Lehtola


    Olivier Messiaen
    Les offrandes oubliées
    Kaija Saariaho
    Earth's Shadows
    Gustav Mahler
    Symphony No. 6 "Tragic"
Series III
Jukka-Pekka Saraste
Jan Lehtola
Olivier Messiaen
Les offrandes oubliées
Kaija Saariaho
Earth's Shadows
Gustav Mahler
Symphony No. 6 "Tragic"