Know your orchestra 19.5.2022: Leaders of the Orchestra

The Italian term maestro di cappella refers to the ”chief musician” of the chapel or court. In today’s symphony orchestras, there are actually many chiefs: section leaders, solo players, and concertmasters, all of whom are paid members of the orchestra. And then there’s the chief conductor – the one whom we usually see and name The Leader of the orchestra. But who really is responsible of what?

Different orchestras in different countries have different ways of electing their leaders, but as a general rule, while the section leaders and the concertmasters are insiders – members of the orchestra – the conductor is an outsider. A visiting conductor is a visiting artist, responsible for the one week they are around, but the chief conductor is sort of a resident artist with a chief executive contract: do your job well and you get an extension!

A group of people with a common purpose requires leadership.

There is a lot of competition amongst musicians of all professional levels. But no matter how high you get, if you work in or with an orchestra, you have to be able to work with others and co-operate. And a group of people with a common purpose requires leadership. The leaders of an orchestra have different responsibilities, and possibilities to influence theirs’ and others’ work, depending on the part they play – even quite literally.

How does a chief conductor see the roles of the leaders inside the orchestra? How does a concertmaster see the roles of other section leaders – or that of the conductor? How have these roles changed during the years – and are they still evolving as times are changing?

These are some of the questions we discuss with the chief conductor of Radio Symphony Orchestra, Nicholas Collon, and the concertmaster – or the 1st leader – of Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Jan Söderblom. Welcome to follow the discussion in Helsinki Music Centre (Musiikkitalo) Paavo Hall, on Thursday May 19th at 16:30–18:00! The discussion is hosted by Ville Komppa.

Entrance is free of charge, free tickets are available at Music Centre ticket office starting on Monday 16.5. at 9:00. You can also reclaim the tickets from the Ticketmaster online for a service fee (1,5 €). The online availability is restricted to max. 2 tickets / client.

Tunne orkesterisi (Know your orchestra) series is a part of Helsinki Music Centre’s audience development program KUULE!

Tunne orkesterisi -luentosarja on osa Musiikkitalon KUULE!-yleisötyöohjelmaa. 

Musiikkitalo (Helsinki Music Centre) rehearsal hall Paavo, Mannerheimintie 13 a (bottom floor)


For more information: 

Uniarts Helsinki Open Campus
Hanna Paananen
Tel. +358 50 4568145

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