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Ed Partyka is UMO’s new Artistic Director & Chief Conductor, Guillermo Klein an Artistic Partner

American composer, trombonist/tubist, composer/arranger and conductor Edward (Ed) A. Partyka has been named as artistic director and chief conductor of UMO Jazz Orchestra.

Partyka, 51, who currently resides in Austria, has lived in Europe for almost 30 years now, during which he has collaborated with influential European big bands, such as HR Big Band and NDR Big band in Germany. He has also appeared in the capacity of guest conductor, planner and arranger for the Vienna Art Orchestra and the Zürich Jazz Orchestra. He has worked with Bob Brookmeyer, Carla Bley and Robben Ford and he leads is own group Ed Partyka Jazz Orchestra. He is currently professor for Jazz Theory & Composition and department chairman of the Jazz Institute at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria and teaches composition at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Lucerne, Switzerland. Ed Partyka is known as a first-class band leader and orchestra developer.

Partyka’s contract spans years 2010–2021, with an option for year 2022. His work will start in spring 2019, and he will plan and lead 10 concert weeks yearly. Partyka’s addition to UMO can be seen in the program from spring 2020 onward. His efforts will be supported by an Artistic Partner and an artistic team.

Partyka’s responsibilities as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor will include creating UMO Jazz Orchestra’s seasonal concert program, as well as orchestrating, composing and arranging music customized specifically for the orchestra. He will function as musical foreman for the orchestra, as well as band leader during performances and rehearsals. He will also be expected to clarify UMO’s artistic direction and identity, as well as strengthen ties with professional big bands in Europe.

–  One of the main factors in the appointment of Partyka, was his experience in creating programs of high artistic standard with similar organizations in Central Europe. Partyka has shown an understanding of the financing and the role played by a public organization such as UMO. He has excellent connections to both the European and American jazz fields, due to his previous work, explains UMO foundation’s chairman Mr. Toni Paussu.

– I look forward to working with one of the world’s leading jazz orchestras. I will do all I can to help continue the established tradition of excellence and to help the orchestra grow musically in the future with new impulses and ideas. In addition to supporting and leading the Finnish jazz scene I hope to open up new lines of communication and cooperation to include other European countries and other leading European large ensembles. Of course, the American roots of jazz cannot be forgotten, but the diversity of jazz styles in the 21st century should be celebrated and fostered, something the UMO Jazz Orchestra – soon to be named UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra – will certainly continue under my leadership, commentates Partyka.

Composer, pianist and band leader Guillermo Klein, 49, has been named as Artistic Partner 2020–2021. The 49-year-old Klein, born in Buenos Aires and educated in the United States, resides in New York these days and is a global jazz personality with a diverse musical background, which encompasses classical music, rock and Latin music. Klein has collaborated with many influential orchestras, such as HR Big Band and Metropole Orchestra. He also heads his own group Los Guachos with whom he tours and has been playing regularly at the Village Vanguard in New York for fifteen years.

As artistic partner Klein will plan and lead four concerts per year, starting from the spring season 2020. He will create content of high artistic standard for the program, invite guests from his own network, and take part in the artistic team. One of Klein’s specific tasks is to add a Latin element to UMO’s programming.

–  Guillermo Klein’s way of composing music and being in touch with the heart of new musical influences made a big impression. His musical skills and good connections in international jazz scene will be a welcome addition in planning UMOs artistic gestalt, says Paussu.

– I am looking forward to bring UMO great projects, different and adventurous, unique, deep and fun. Having a great rapport with the band allows me to dream this way. Being such an outstanding group of musicians and a great human group as well, I am confident we’ll offer the Helsinki and Finnish community something worth of experiencing. I have not worked with Ed Partyka before, but I am confident it will provide a great expertise and a good balance in our collaboration, Guillermo Klein says.