Spring season 2019

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra will keep on exploring classic and intriguing new Anglo-American music alongside classical music standard repertoire


The spring programme includes the world premiere of a new composition by German composer Enno Poppe that was commissioned by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. The opening concert of Musica nova Helsinki will also present new music and several Finnish premieres. The festival’s soloists will be the pianist sisters Katia and Marielle Labèque, who will interpret a concerto composed for them by Bryce Dessner. The concert year ends with a performance of a recently debuted violin concerto by Ondřej Adámek performed by soloist Isabelle Faust.

In April the orchestra will tour Central Europe together with Chief Conductor Susanna Mälkki and violinist Pekka Kuusisto; among the concert halls will be Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Vienna’s Konzerthaus. While the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra is on tour, the programme at the Helsinki Music Centre will feature the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, which will perform Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with conductor Aapo Häkkinen and guest soloists.

Season tickets for spring 2019 are on sale from 1 November to 3 December 2018. Tickets for individual concerts go on sale 11 December 2018. Tickets for final rehearsals go on sale on 13 December 2018.


WED 23.1.2019 19.00 / WED 6.2.2019 19.00 / WED 20.3.2019 19.00 / WED 3.4.2019 19.00 / WED 15.5.2019 19.00
Series I comprises five concerts on Wednesday evenings that present our year-long theme of Anglo-American music alongside more traditional classics of European music, such as Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 From the New World and Beethoven’s 5th, the Destiny Symphony. American music is strongly represented already in the first concert of the series, in which George Gershwin’s jazz-inspired Rumba and Samuel Barber’s Overture to the School for Scandal lead to Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto that he composed for Benny Goodman, the King of Swing. In this concert it is interpreted by the highly acclaimed Swedish clarinettist Martin Fröst.
Samuel Barber will also be featured in February, when Jonathan Roozeman will perform his seldom heard Cello Concerto together with conductor Osmo Vänskä. In the same concert you can hear Barber’s Symphony No. 1. In March we will greet the spring with Robert Schumann’s own Symphony No. 1 as conducted by Matthias Pintscher. In the final concert of the series, the legendary organ compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach, including his Toccata and Fugue as immortalised in the Disney film Fantasia, will receive grand orchestral arrangements under conductor Mario Venzago
THU 10.1.2019 19.00 / THU 24.1.2019 19.00  / THU 7.2.2019 19.00 / THU 21.3.2019 19.00 / THU 18.4.2019 19.00 / THU 16.5.2019 19.00
Series II comprises six concerts on Thursday evenings that feature a diverse line-up of soloists on a complete range of instruments. Violinists Chloë Hanslip and Elina Vähälä will perform concertos by John Adams and Béla Bartók, clarinettist Martin Fröst will interpret Aaron Copland’s concerto, and cellist Jonathan Roozeman will play Samuel Barber’s concerto. Swedish soprano Camilla Tilling will make her debut with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra with a performance of songs by Gustav Mahler and his Symphony No. 4. In the final concert of the series, French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, who made such an impact on his last visit, will perform Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Rhapsody.
Classics of American music can be heard already in the opening concert of the series, which culminates with Charles Ives’ Symphony No. 2. In January you can also hear Leonard Bernstein’s symphonic suite from the film On the Waterfront, as well as Jennifer Higdon’s energetic Loco. In the beginning of February, Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 under conductor Osmo Vänskä reminds us why it remains one of the most popular concert pieces from one decade to the next. The final concert of the series presents Arthur Honegger’s deep and moving Symphony No. 3, which he dedicated to the victims of the Second World War.
WED 9.1.2019 19.00 / FRI 1.2.2019 19.00 / FRI 15.3.2019 19.00  / THU 4.4.2019 19.00  / FRI 26.4.2019 19.00  / FRE 10.5.2019 19.00 
Series III presents some of the latest achievements in orchestral music, without forgetting established masterpieces. The range of styles stretches from Symphony No. 2 of Charles Ives, the father of American music, to Sibelius’ Symphony No. 3, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. Gems of the newest music include Lotta Wennäkoski’s Flounce, which was enthusiastically received at the Proms in London, and the latest composition by Enno Poppe from Germany, which was commissioned jointly by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
An entire evening of new music can be heard at the opening concert of the Musica nova Helsinki festival, the conductor of which is contemporary music specialist Peter Rundel. The soloists in this series are primarily pianists: the world-famous piano duo Katia and Marielle Labèque will perform Bryce Dessner’s recent Concerto for Two Pianos, Joonas Ahonen will perform George Gershwin’s Broadway-inspired Piano Concerto in F Major, and Francesco Piemontesi will interpret Unsuk Chin’s Piano Concerto. In April, Japanese violin virtuoso Akiko Suwanai will perform Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, and in May the orchestra’s regular and always welcome guest Christian Tetzlaff will tackle his personal favourite, the Violin Concerto No. 1 of Karol Szymanowski.
FRI 18.1.2019 19.00 / FRI 15.2.2019 19.00 / FRI 1.3.2019 19.00 / FRI 29.3.2019 19.00 / FRI 12.4.2019 19.00 / FRI 24.5.2019 19.00 
Series IV comprises concerts on Friday evenings throughout the spring. Fans of vocal music are treated to no less than three major works stretching from a Baroque church piece to compositions from recent decades. The opening concert of the series features a strange and unique landmark in operatic history, Morton Feldman’s hypnotic Neither, which is a 50-minute monologue based on the texts of Nobel prize-winner Samuel Beckett. This anti-opera will no doubt serve to showcase the bold and stunning singing abilities of soprano Anu Komsi. In February, the Helsinki Music Centre Choir will perform Jonathan Harvey’s Messages, while the Audi Jugendchor and the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra together with international soloists will perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion during the Easter season.
The season opens with W. A. Mozart’s Prague Symphony under conductor Dima Slobodeniouk, whose career has skyrocketed with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård in turn presents Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto together with English rarities, and John Storgårds returns to the Helsinki Music Centre with one of his favourite pieces, Shostakovich’s last symphony. Chief conductor Susanna Mälkki will lead the orchestra in two concerts in this series, presenting Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances in February and Sibelius’s En Saga and Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta in the final concert of the series. The final concert also features Isabelle Faust, one of the most renowned violinists of our age, who will perform a piece composed especially for her by Ondřej Adámek, violin concerto Follow me.