HUOM – History’s Unheard Orchestral Music
The field of art and music is constantly re-evaluating its heritage. Whose histories and voices should be heard in concerts, what kind of music should be played and what does it have to say? What kind of stories are conveyed through music and what has been left unheard?
These themes are in the heart of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra’s new project: HUOM – History’s Unheard Orchestral Music. The planning for the project is based on the projects “Music Researchers in Society” and “Daughters of Tones” by the societal and action-oriented music research association Suoni ry, the University of Helsinki and the University of the Arts Helsinki. In collaboration with an extensive network of partners, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra will search for and perform orchestral works that have been overlooked in the music history of our nation.
In this project, the most noteworthy and interesting music will be prepared for eventual performance by the orchestra. The focus at the beginning of the project will be on female composers, as the historical picture of their work needs to be acutely reappraised. A significant portion of their work has remained unknown to most. An even more prolific picture of our music history enriches our musical heritage and creates a sustainable future.
The network behind the HUOM project covers a wide range of artistic, research, communication and music notation expertise. The HUOM network includes universities, archives and libraries, research and music organisations, and music publishers. Finnish music actors are invited to participate extensively in the project.
The artistic work includes reading days during which the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra will play through the rewritten notes of historical orchestra pieces that have never been performed before or at least 70 years have passed since their last performance. The works will be preliminarily recorded for internal use, and the most interesting works will then be rehearsed for inclusion in the orchestra’s repertoire.
The rewritten scores of the orchestral pieces will be made available by the project’s partners, and the music publishing company Fennica Gehrman will dedicate a special series to the selected pieces. The score to be published is Siri Brander's Elegie (1894), which was performed by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in early March for the first time since its premiere. Fennica Gehrman will donate part of the proceeds from sales of the works to help cover the project's future research and notation costs.
The project’s music history research work sheds light on previously overlooked orchestral music and its composers. The research will also be applied to work related to orchestras, concert programmes and public outreach.
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
University of Helsinki, Art Research & Musicology
National Library of Finland
“Music Researchers in Society” research project
Uniarts Sibelius Academy
Uniarts History Forum
Savo Music Society
Finnish Literature Society
Finnish Musical Heritage Society
Association of Finnish Symphony Orchestras
“Daughters of Music” research project
Research collaboration in the HUOM project
From scrap paper to legible notation
The many steps of copying sheet music
Bringing long-forgotten orchestra music back to life
The role of the symphony orchestra within the HUOM project
Photos for media use