Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra announces 2019-2020 season

The common thread in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2019-2020 programme is music from and inspired by Italy, from the Baroque period to the present.

The Italian-themed programme features composers such as Ottorino Respighi, Gioachino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, Alfredo Casella, Luigi Nono, Francesco Filidei and Francesca Verunelli. In addition, the programme includes premieres of new pieces by Kaija Saariaho, Lotta Wennäkoski, Kimmo Hakola and Veli Kujala. Double bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding and flutist Claire Chase will also interpret a new composition by Felipe Lara commissioned jointly by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, which will receive its world premiere in Helsinki.

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted in the upcoming season by the likes of Gianandrea Noseda, Jane Glover, Antonello Manacorda, Donato Renzetti and Simone Young, while guest soloists include pianists Elisabeth Leonskaja, Alexander Toradze, Nelson Freire and Angela Hewitt, mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and violist Antoine Tamestit. Several of the orchestra’s guest artists will also play a double role at the Helsinki Music Centre: composer-conductors include Thomas Adès, Péter Eötvös and Olli Mustonen, while Thomas Zehetmair and Guy Braunstein are both orchestra leaders and soloists.

The opening concert of the autumn season will transport the audience from the madrigal melodies of Gesualdo via Stravinsky and Sibelius to a symphony composed by Luciano Berio for eight solo voices and orchestra. The voices will be provided by the EXAUDI vocal ensemble from the UK, and the concert will be conducted by the orchestra’s chief conductor Susanna Mälkki. More of Berio’s vocal music can be heard a couple of weeks later, when mezzo-soprano Nora Gubisch interprets a song series inspired by folk music and conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste.

Highlights of the spring season include a rare performance of Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique together with its sequel, Lélio, ou Le retour à la vie. This will be the first time that the two pieces, which the composer intended as a pair, are performed together in Finland. The concert will be conducted by Klaus Mäkelä. The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra’s collaboration this season with conductor Mäkelä begins already the previous autumn, however, when he conducts a programme of Russian music featuring Chinese-born bass-baritone Shenyang.

On Finnish Music Day at the beginning of December, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra will tour its hometown with concerts at Vuotalo and Kännelmäki Church. These concerts will be performed without a conductor, showcasing the chamber music dimensions of the orchestra. The traditional Epiphany film concert at the beginning of January will feature music from Aki Kaurismäki’s silent film Juha, which was released in 1999, with new arrangements for symphony orchestra by Anssi Tikanmäki.

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra’s next international tour will take place in October when it visits Belgium together with the Tero Saarinen Company. The concerts in Brussels and Bruges together with an event day at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in the Belgian capital will be part of the official cultural programme of Finland’s EU Presidency. While the orchestra is on tour, its programme at the Helsinki Music Centre will feature a concert by the Finnish Baroque Orchestra with concert leader and solo violinist Georg Kallweit.

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra’s popular HKO Screen online broadcasts will continue in the coming season. The concerts can be watched on the orchestra’s website. The HKO Screen series will comprise 16 streamed concerts during the 2019-2020 season.


Tickets from Ticketmaster:, t. 0600 10 800 (1.98 €/min + lnc)
Season tickets for autumn 2019 can be purchased from 7 May to 31 July and single tickets as of 8 August 2019.
Season tickets for spring 2020 can be purchased from 5 November to 2 December and single tickets as of 10 December 2019.