Residents of the Helsinki Music Centre launch an Orchestra Academy

Increased cooperation in the training of orchestra musicians, conductors and composers

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO), the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (FRSO) and the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki have launched an Orchestra Academy based at the Helsinki Music Centre. The purpose of the Orchestra Academy is to engage in long-term development of training for orchestra musicians, conductors and composers so as to better meet the needs of orchestras and to bring the training closer to practical working life.

The goal in introducing systematic collaboration between the residents at the Music Centre is to create a unique learning environment for orchestral music to cater to professionals of the future. Both the HPO and the FRSO will select orchestral instrument students at the Sibelius Academy as apprentices to be mentored by professional musicians amid the ordinary activities of the orchestras. In addition to gaining practical work experience, the students will receive coaching for instance in how to prepare for auditions.

The HPO and the FRSO will offer the services of an orchestra to conducting and composition students in alternate years. Conducting students will have the chance to work with a professional orchestra, while composition students will receive feedback on their works and practical advice on how to score for specific instruments. Also, one conducting student each year will be appointed assistant to Hannu Lintu, Chief Conductor of the FRSO and Visiting Professor of Conducting and Orchestra Education at the Sibelius Academy. Choir conducting students will have access to the Choir of the Music Centre.

Kaarlo Hildén, Dean of the Faculty of Classical Music at the Sibelius Academy, reports that one of the influences for this new venture was the Orchestra Academy run by the Berlin Philharmonic.

“What is special about our concept is that it is planned in genuine partnership between professional orchestras and the university. At the Music Centre, the HPO, the FRSO and the Sibelius Academy work together on a daily basis anyway. As future musicians learn their profession in a building that also houses the best available orchestral expertise, the result is an education concept that is quite exceptional even by international standards.”

FRSO General Manager Tuula Sarotie also declares the huge educational potential of collaboration between the residents at the Music Centre to be unique in the world.

“Everything is geared towards the continued success of Finland’s musical life, one of our few truly remarkable success stories,” Sarotie says.

“In this equation, the whole is more than the sum of its parts,” agrees HPO General Manager Gita Kadambi. “It is wonderful that the Music Centre is able to provide a forum for close long-term cooperation in a win-win concept.”

There are also plans for joint productions of works requiring large orchestras, and also for contributing to the audience outreach of the Music Centre. Moreover, the Sibelius Academy is undertaking to provide continuing education for orchestra members.

The Orchestra Academy of the Helsinki Music Centre was launched in autumn 2015. It is managed by the orchestras’ General Managers and by the Dean of the Faculty of Classical Music and the Professor of Conducting and Orchestra Education from the Sibelius Academy. The project will be evaluated on a yearly basis.


Further information:

Kaarlo Hildén, Dean of the Faculty of Classical Music, Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki, tel. +358 40 710 4312

Gita Kadambi, General Manager, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, tel. +358 40 163 8590

Tuula Sarotie, General Manager, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, tel. +358 40 844 2666