A concert for invited guests opened the Helsinki Music Centre on August 31, 2011, and a general opening took place the following day.
Between September 1, 2011 and May 2012, the Helsinki Music Centre has seen approximately 100 events per month for a total of more than 400,000 visitors.
"About 330,000 visitors have attended a concert. Approximately 20,000 visitors have participated in different tours around the centre. We have been overwhelmed by public interest for the Helsinki Music Centre," says Marja-Leena Lehtimäki, communications coordinator for the Centre.
The Helsinki Music Centre is open for both locals and tourists from morning till night. The Music Centre café, for example, is visited by an average of 300 people per day.
"Before the Centre opened, the locals had misgivings about its open-doors policy. They thought that there would be disturbances and that the doors would be closed for everyone except concertgoers. We are happy to announce that we've had no disturbances worth mentioning. Our visitors seem to be a pleasant and easy-going sort of people," says Operations Manager Antti Pylkkänen.
"Start of a New Era"
The main users of the Helsinki Music Centre, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Sibelius Academy, are happy with the first season.
During the Centre's first season (2011-2012), the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra arranged 63 concerts with a turnout of 102,000. The average occupancy rate for the concerts was 96%, and most of the concerts were sold out. All of the 18 general rehearsals of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra held before noon were also sold out.
Chief Conductor John Storgårds of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra is looking forward to the future: "As expected, the first season at the Helsinki Music Centre was a continuous celebration. It was also the start of a remarkable era and a new period of evolution. We are making forward strides, and we have deserved it."
The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra gave 48 concerts in the Concert Hall and 16 chamber music concerts in Rehearsal Hall Paavo. The total number of attendees at the FRSO concerts was approximately 83,000. Almost all FRSO concerts were also sold out.
"The first season at the Helsinki Music Centre was an enormous success. Now we can concentrate on playing in great acoustics, the audiences have embraced the building, and top international artists keep coming back. The Helsinki Music Centre has once and for all made Helsinki a European centre of music," says General Manager Tuula Sarotie of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
According to Gustav Djupsjöbacka, artistic rector of the Sibelius Academy and rector until April 16, 2012, Finland's only music university was not left untouched by the magnetism of the Helsinki Music Centre:
"The first year at the Helsinki Music Centre was an enormous boost for the public concert activities at Sibelius Academy. The attendance has doubled in comparison with previous years. Our halls and their acoustics have created opportunities for novel performances and have attracted new audiences for music. Moreover, the Sibelius Academy Library has been able to serve the public better than before."
During the first season (2011-2012), Sibelius Academy gave 383 concerts and student matinees, which were attended by approximately 43,000 listeners.
Communications Coordinator Marja-Leena Lehtimäki/Helsinki Music Centre, +358 20 707 0404
Communications Manager Marianna Kankare-Loikkanen/Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, +358 9 310 22 703,
Satu Kahila, publicity relations/Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, ´+358 9 1480 4368
Artistic Rector Gustav Djupsjöbacka/Sibelius Academy, +358 40 5957564
The Helsinki Music Centre is a concert venue and meeting place open to all. In addition to the 1,704-seat Concert Hall, intended for acoustic music, there are also five smaller halls in the Music Centre: the Black Box, Camerata, Organo, Rehearsal Hall, and Klubi Restaurant, each with different acoustics and uses.
Everyone is welcome to spend time in the foyers, café, restaurant, and the Sibelius Academy Library, even when they are not planning to attend one of the evening's concerts.
The main users of the Helsinki Music Centre are the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Sibelius Academy.