An orchestra is told all its concerts will be televised

An orchestra is told all its concerts will be televised


norman lebrecht

August 05, 2020

Restricted to 400 ticket holders in its concert hall, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra has persuaded the national broadcaster YLE to run all of its concerts live on television.

Why couldn’t the BBC think of that?

Press release below.

The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra begins its autumn season on 4 September under somewhat exceptional circumstances. Audiences are now permitted in the hall again, but to ensure sufficient distancing, only around 400 tickets will be sold.
In order to serve other would-be listeners, the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) is broadcasting FRSO concerts live on its Areena and Radio 1 channels and will be showing them on Yle Teema throughout the autumn season.

The concert repertoire has been modified to ensure the safety of the musicians on the platform. The concerts beginning at 8 pm will have no interval and will last about one hour.

“The orchestra is keen to get back on the Helsinki Music Centre platform,” says Chief Conductor Hannu Lintu. “Being face to face with a live audience is of primary importance to us. Modifying the repertoire to suit the prevailing conditions has been not only challenging but extremely interesting. The musician friends from abroad who were originally booked to visit us have all been incredibly understanding and flexible. It’s a great honour to have them with us.”

Karita Mattila, Elim Chan and Kent Nagano among the stars of the autumn concerts
The FRSO is keeping a close watch on the official directions concerning the Covid-19 pandemic and is prepared to adjust its concert repertoire accordingly. For this reason, it is first announcing the programmes only for the September and October concerts.

The theme of the opening concert on 4 September is the inspiring and diverse effect of cultural history on orchestral music. Hannu Lintu will conduct FOG, a new orchestral work by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella suite, and Britten’s Nocturno with Tuomas Katajala (tenor) as the soloist.

Karita Mattila will sing Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder on 9 & 10 September, and Elim Chan – one of the most exciting new-generation conductors – will conduct works by Anna Clyne and Kaija Saariaho on 23 September….

conductor Hannu Lintu



  • alan says:

    another day, another bash at the BBC

    • Gustavo says:

      But not bashing at Finn for a change.

    • Wurtfangler says:

      A perfectly justified bash at the BBC. They relegate classical music to the furthest reaches of the schedules and consider titbits presented on tv by clothes horses sufficient. The BRSO is on TV pretty much weekly in Bavaria. The BBC have great orchestras yet seemed ashamed to show them off.

  • Bostin'Symph says:

    It’s not the season to bash the BBC while they’re broadcasting Proms on BBC Four and acknowledging the Beethoven anniversary. However, their usual coverage of classical music is pretty meagre compared with most national broadcasters. And having marginalised the art form, when they do programmes for a wider audience, they’re frequently bending over backwards to say how not elitist classical music is: a message that seems to imply the opposite the more it is deemed necessary to deliver it.

    Of course, Radio 3 is, in my opinion, magnificent. Perhaps the Beeb feels that’s enough, but I feel they should be trying harder to engender a new generation audience as well as New Generation Artists.

    I note from next week’s Radio Times that Sky Arts channel is going to be freely available from September. Sadly it no longer broadcasts so much classical music and opera as it used to, presumably because it’s deemed less commercial. But it’s something, I guess.

  • Bostin'Symph says:

    (Further to my earlier post) Haven’t the free streams been a silver lining to the Covid crisis? Glyndebourne’s fabulous Hockney Rake’s Progress is currently available on YouTube, and some of the Met’s opera offerings have been magnificent.

    I wonder whether the classical music and opera worlds could do themselves a favour by making their wares a little more freely available for the sake of attracting the audiences of the future. OperaVision plays its part on YouTube, of course, and the Frankfurt Symphony Orchestra are regular posters, amongst others. The BBC’s output on YouTube seems largely to be boot-legged material. Surely they have the facilities to add material. BBC iPlayer has some archived material, but it’s very limited.

    • fflambeau says:

      I heartily endorse the words of Bostin’Symph that online streaming has been a “silver lining” in the crisis.

      I applaud innovative artists like Daniel Hope and even the Met for going online (free). Great stuff. Keep this important work archived and free please. Note that the Met learned that they could get lots of $$ from donors who have loved this and watched online. This from people who might otherwise not have seen or given.

  • MacroV says:

    Great. I hope they’ll stream on the orchestra’s website, too. It’s a wonderful orchestra that generally does compelling programming.

  • fflambeau says:

    This is a good model for orchestras world-wide. Thank you Finland and hats off to Hannu Lintu.