HKO taiteellinen johtotiimi 2023

New Artistic Leadership Team for HPO in 2023

Jukka-Pekka Saraste to join as Chief Conductor, Pekka Kuusisto as Principal Guest Conductor and Anna Clyne as Composer-in-Residence

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra is renewing its artistic leadership model. The orchestra will have a three-member Artistic Leadership Team, which will comprise Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Principal Guest Conductor and Artistic Co-director Pekka Kuusisto and Composer-in-Residence Anna Clyne. The term of the new Artistic Leadership Team will begin at the end of current Chief Conductor Susanna Mälkki’s term in summer 2023.

The contracts for Saraste and Kuusisto are for three years. The Chief Conductor will conduct the HPO eight weeks a year and the Principal Guest Conductor four weeks a year. The Composer-in-Residence will change annually, and in addition to performing orchestral pieces as commissioned, they will participate in the work of the artistic leadership team and plan the programme for one concert per season.

According to Aleksi Malmberg, General Manager of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the new artistic leadership model reflects today’s society and the importance of bringing unique voices together. “This is an inspiring next step for the 140 years old HPO. We can be thankful for having such a strong base, from which we can explore new exciting paths with these wonderful artists – together with our 102 musicians and the whole team in service of music and the people of Helsinki. Now if ever, the value of unity, creativity and collaboration is being highlighted,” says Malmberg.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste has a long history with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, since his debut concert with the orchestra in 1983, and he has worked together for years with upcoming Principal Guest Conductor and Artistic Co-director Pekka Kuusisto on concert stages in Finland and around the world. As members of the HPO’s new Artistic Leadership Team, the two will be working together more closely than ever.

“Symphonic music has always been a very important part of the Finnish identity, and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra has an incredible history of providing a platform for composers since the early works of Sibelius. I am very excited to continue building the identity and importance of the orchestra together with the Artistic Leadership Team,” says upcoming Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Jukka-Pekka Saraste.

The voice of composers on the Artistic Leadership Team will be represented during her 2023-24 term by Anna Clyne, who is known for her collaborative projects with other representatives of the arts. 

“This will be my first time in Finland and I very much look forward to exploring the musical landscape and to sharing my orchestral music along with other orchestral music by exciting living composers who are expanding the orchestral sound world in innovative ways. As part of my residency I am writing two new concerti, and I will also curate a week of orchestral concerts for which we will join forces with some of the city's arts institutions and a diverse -range of guest artists from Helsinki and further afield”, says Anna Clyne.

Pekka Kuusisto is a familiar guest with the HPO, both as a violin soloist and a conductor. According to Kuusisto, he will strive to be as openminded as possible regarding the roles, performance aspects and programme of the orchestra. 

“I am interested in highlighting the wide range of talents that can be found in the orchestra. A symphony orchestra is one of the finest organisations that humans are capable of, and together with the HPO, Anna and Jukka-Pekka, we can certainly expect some great  initiatives. The HPO has been flying high under Susanna Mälkki, as are our colleagues, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Finnish National Opera, so I believe that now is the right time to consider Helsinki as the most interesting orchestra city in Northern Europe,” says Pekka Kuusisto.

Read more about Anna Clyne.
Read more about Pekka Kuusisto.
Read more about Jukka-Pekka Saraste.