Haphazard conductor policy


The situation with regard to the HPO’s conductor was somewhat confused after Schnéevoigt, from 1940 onwards. The vacancy for the post was announced in 1940 and Tauno Hannikainen was selected. He was, however, in the United States at the time and announced that he could not take up the post until summer 1941. The political situation was nevertheless very tense just then, and mobilisation was in force in Finland. Returning to Finland was not, accordingly, a very realistic option for Hannikainen. The orchestra therefore had to make do with the help of guest conductors. For spring 1942 it temporarily hired Armas Järnefelt, who deputised again for a while in 1943. Järnefelt was replaced as deputy by Martti Similä in 1944.

The orchestra had already been criticised for its haphazard conductor policy, which, it was felt, was affecting the quality of the orchestra’s work. Similä handled his temporary post well and the Music Committee finally had to reach some kind of solution over Hannikainen. It decided to dismiss him unless he took up the post by 1st January 1946 at the latest. This is what happened, and applications were invited for the post. Martti Similä was appointed for a fixed five-year term.

Source: Einari Marvia & Matti Vainio – Helsingin kaupunginorkesteri 1882–1982