Helsinki Philharmonic Names New Chief Conductor

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: © Felix Broede)

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra has announced conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste as its Chief Conductor starting in September 2023 for the next three-year period.

Saraste will support the orchestra’s aspirations of becoming a cultural cornerstone for the citizens of Helsinki, aligning music with community and identity.

In addition to Chief Conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Pekka Kuusisto will assume the role of Principal Guest conductor and Anna Clyne will be designated Composer-in-Residence for the upcoming season.

In a statement, Saraste said, “Music plays an immensely significant role in Finnish culture, and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra stands as a vital component of our identity. As I step into the role of Chief Conductor, my aim is to champion the orchestra’s ambitions to be an orchestra for the people of Helsinki. The collaborative brainstorming with the artistic leadership team and orchestra members has been profound. We are determined to convey that the experience of music, when shared as a communal activity, stands as one of the most beautiful offerings an orchestra can present to its listeners.”

Saraste succeeds Susanna Mälkki, whose term as the chief conductor of the HPO ends after spring 2023. He was previously the chief conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He has previously worked with the Paris Orchestra, the London Philharmonia Orchestra, the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, the Berlin German Symphony Orchestra DSO, and the South Korean Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.