The joint tour of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the City Library is a resounding success

The ‘Orchestra at Your Library’ tour organised jointly by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Helsinki City Library reached a total of 1,712 listeners between September and October. The tour consisted of lunch-time chamber music concerts at thirty-five local libraries and mobile libraries in Helsinki. 

This was the first collaboration of this scope between the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Helsinki City Library. The tour made top-tier chamber music concerts available to Helsinki residents on a wide scale. A total of twenty orchestra musicians performed at the libraries in ensembles of one to four instruments. Over the course of the autumn, eleven different concert programmes were performed at the libraries. The tour was enthusiastically praised by the audiences and musicians alike.

Anu and Esko Soininen, who both enjoy a diverse range of music, attended roughly fifteen library concerts. They found it particularly exciting to be able to experience the concerts at arm’s reach. The couple also enjoyed the stories told by the musicians after the shows. The found it extremely exciting to hear and learn about new instruments. They were especially delighted by the harp. The Soininen couple thought that the library was an excellent concert venue, since the space itself provides a wonderful backdrop to the music. It is easy to concentrate on the musical performance at the library and, as an added bonus, libraries are open to all and easily accessible. 

“The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra should absolutely organise these kinds of library concerts in the future. There are surely a lot of people who do not travel to the city centre for concerts but can get to their local libraries very easily. Moreover, some people may not like to go to concerts in the evening. It was wonderful that the concerts were held during the day when there is light outside. We hope that these types of events will be organised even after the emergency conditions,” Anu and Esko say.

The performers, too, found the library concerts to be extremely rewarding. 

“We played five library concerts as a violin duo throughout Helsinki. In these challenging times, it was a wonderful and refreshing change to go directly to the audience. The interactions were rich, and we had many interesting discussions about our period instruments, the music and life in general, among other topics. Since we are living in a time of face masks, you tend to look people in the eye more intently than usual, which made the encounters somehow more special and intense. Thanks to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the libraries,” says Principal Second Violin Teija Kivinen.

The orchestra and libraries intend to continue their collaboration in the future. Upcoming library concerts will be announced on the orchestra’s website and at once the details are solidified.

Photo: Jeroen Sebrechts