What to play in a brand new hall

What to play in a brand new hall


norman lebrecht

April 06, 2011

The Helsinki Music Centre opens in September and, by the accounts reaching me, it’s going to sound pretty good. First night features two orchestras and three conductors – but then Finland exports almost as many maestros as cellphones, so the surplus is hardly surprising.

What is remarkable, though – and I bring this to you from Fimic, source of all Finnish music news – is that over the next couple of months Finnish orchestras will be giving premieres of new fewer than 13 works by Finnish composers.
Let me parse that for you. Finland has a population of 5.4 million, perhaps a quarter the size of New York’s. In one season, Finnish orchestras are introducing 13 works by living composers. In one decade New York orchestras introduced…. oh, finish that yourselves.
When the new hall opens, it will be with a living art form.


  • Marie Lamb says:

    Perhaps it should be “‘Finnish’ that yourselves,” said this unrepuntant sinner! 😉 Seriously, this sounds wonderful, both the new hall and the new music being programmed. And I see that Fimic not only has a “contemporary and classical” page, but also has a page full of premieres of Finnish music taking place all over the world. Looks like they’re doing something right. In Cole Porter’s song “Let’s Do It,” there is a line, “Not to mention the Finns,” but I am glad that you did!

  • Ville O Komppa says:

    And then the local press here actually wondered why there isn’t a commission or premier for the opening night… The answer was: because the opening night premiers the hall itself (and its acoustics, which, fingers crossed, hopefully are anything near promised…)

  • Emil Archambault says:

    The Montreal Symphony Orchestra will open its new hall on September 7th with three generations of Quebec composers…including a premiere:
    VIVIER, Jesus erbarme dich, for chorus
    TREMBLAY, Envol : Alléluia for solo flute
    BILODEAU, Premiere, OSM commission
    BEETHOVEN, Symphony No. 9
    There are maybe not 13 premieres in a season, but there have been a few this year, including a 22-minute cello concerto by Quebec composer Denys Bouliane, under Maestro Kent Nagano.