KauniainenHMO
HMO performing in the New Pavillion in Kauniainen

You may remember the concert last summer I wrote about, where 60 enthusiastic musicians from Helsinki region joined me in a free concert in the Rock Church in Helsinki. Then we had the project name of SMO and we did not know whether this project will be a one-off or there will be more concerts. Well, now I am happy to announce that we have a new name for our group, Helsinki Metropolitan Orchestra, we have registered a non-profit to support it, and we played two well attended concerts around New Year with 70 players onstage, one in Kauniainen and the second one in Helsinki.

For the program we decided to repeat the Rachmaninoff 2nd piano concerto which my friend Alina played last summer, and following the wishes of our musicians we played Sibelius symphony No. 5 in the second half. Even though our group is a mix of professionals, music students and amateurs (much like Benjamin Zander's Boston Philharmonic), our pace of rehearsing is professional, and we aim to play on a professional level. The rehearsal process was quite exciting, but everything came together marvelously for the concerts. Especially the second concert in my former place of study, the Helsinki Conservatory, left everyone happy both in the orchestra and in the audience (and the party afterwards was great!).

HelsinkiHMO
With HMO and Alina Sorjonen after Rachmaninoff's 2nd piano concerto

There are many exciting plans in the future for this group - I am going to teach an international conducting masterclass with them in February, then we are going to play some opera in May, in the summer we make another series of summer concerts, and there are even plans to record and to tour. Since the group started so organically we are still in the beginning stages of figuring out all the tasks and responsibilities needed to make these projects happen. Luckily we have managed to gather a board for our non-profit, and with Alina taking the huge responsibility of being the general manager, or "intendant" of the orchestra, and me in the much easier role of Artistic Director we are now on a steady way to success. I will keep you posted about the coming plans for the Helsinki Metropolitan Orchestra, so check back soon!