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Ed Partyka extends with UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra

UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra has extended Ed Partyka’s Chief Conductor & Artistic Director contract. The three-year contract now runs until the end of 2024 and also includes a further option for a one-year extension to 2025. Partyka took over as Chief Conductor & Artistic Director of UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra in 2019 and his handprint has been featured especially in the 2020 and 2021 programming.

Commenting the extension, Partyka says: 
– It has been a great pleasure to work with UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra over the past two years, and I very much look forward to our collaboration in the future. In addition to our artistic goals, we will be putting more focus on gender balance and diversity in the next few years. We will also be putting additional resources and effort into audience outreach & development, and our digitalisation strategy will continue to grow and evolve. Our goal is to make the music of UMO more accessible to all citizens of Helsinki. Helsinkians and the City of Helsinki should be proud of this world class jazz orchestra! 

Partyka is responsible for the orchestra’s artistic direction and the seasonal concert programming in collaboration with General Manager Eeva Pirkkala and the artistic team. Partyka plans and conducts 10–15 concert weeks annually. The position also includes composing, arranging and orchestrating music customized specifically for the orchestra. 

Eeva Pirkkala, the General Manager of UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, comments: 
– Ed Partyka has artistically embraced the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra and earned the trust and appreciation of the entire organization with his professional skills. The orchestra’s instrumental repertoire and diversity have been diversified, and more young talents and international guests have been seen at UMO than before. Partyka has the ability to create a high artistic profile, he has a clear vision to the future without forgetting the jazz tradition, and he does this all with the audience perspective in his mind. In the future, our challenges are related to reaching Helsinki’s diversifying population. We want to be an interesting musical option for audiences of different ages, genders and language, cultural, religious and minority groups. 

Edward (Ed) A. Partyka, 54, is a composer, arranger and conductor whose instrument is trombone. Partyka, an American who has lived in Central Europe for over 30 years, works also as the musical director of the Zurich Jazz Orchestra in Switzerland. He is 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. Partyka has collaborated with several influential European big bands, such as the hr-Bigband and the NDR Bigband in Germany. He also conducts his own orchestra, the Ed Partyka Jazz Orchestra EPJO.

UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra is the only professional orchestra in Finland specialised in jazz and new rhythm-oriented music. The big band of 16 musicians plays about 100 concerts every year in Finland and abroad. The orchestra plays a diverse range of modern music that is on the pulse of the times. The programme consists from jazz to soul and classical music, mixing old and new in surprising way, from children to senior citizens.

Photo: Olli Nurmi