Accessible Orchestras pilot brings virtual concerts to senior centre in Helsinki

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, Kardemummo Oy and Roihuvuori Senior Centre are implementing a pilot in spring 2021 in which virtual concert contents will be provided digitally to residents of the senior centre.

In the pilot trial, residents of the Roihuvuori Senior Centre will be able to enjoy concert experiences with the help of the HILDA content service. The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra will offer seniors selected music contents with added participatory elements that support group activities. The virtual concert contents will be available to three group homes offering 24-hour care from April to May.

Seppo Soinila, Professor of Neurology and Specialist Physician, is involved in the planning and evaluation of the pilot. Soinila has studied the possibilities of music as a rehabilitation method for neurological diseases.

Music contents made accessible through collaboration

The pilot is part of the Accessible Orchestras project coordinated by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in collaboration with the Association of Finnish Symphony Orchestras. In the project, five Finnish orchestras are developing their accessible activities for the elderly during 2020-21. This is a joint project with British actors and orchestras.

“In Finland, we have effective cross-administrative collaboration between the culture and the social and healthcare sectors within municipalities, as well as many new technological innovations. Together, these elements enable the development of this type of pilot and the wider accessibility of cultural services,” says Annika Kukkonen, Producer of Education at the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. 

“The elderly are an important target group for the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, and they have traditionally been reached through concerts in nursing homes and hospitals. It is great that, with digital contents, we can now be more closely involved in the daily lives of these people and caregiving. Supporting care work through digital opportunities could not be more topical than in this challenging corona period, during which older people in particular have had to live in isolation,” says Valtteri Pokela, Producer at the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra. 

Kardemummo Oy, which is providing the technical implementation for the pilot, is a Helsinki-based technology company that develops digital services designed to maintain the functional capacity of the elderly. The HILDA content service, which has been referred to as the Netflix of nursing homes, helps caregivers organise activities for residents that activate and maintain a wide range of functional abilities. The service, which is accessed via television, aims to improve the quality of life of the elderly and facilitate the work of caregivers. 

“Working together with orchestras is something new and inspiring for us. We are happy to be able to offer high-quality music experiences together for those who would not otherwise have access to concert halls,” says Maaria Keskitalo, Content and Communications Manager at Kardemummo Oy.

UMO Helsinki participates in new international jazz residency program

Jazz Finland, Sibelius Academy Jazz Music Department at Uniarts Helsinki, UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra and the Finnish Musicians’ Union are launching a new international jazz residency program in Helsinki. The Jazz Finland Residency is a top-level, invitation-only residency for jazz musicians, composers and conductors. Organised and coordinated by Jazz Finland, the program invites two international guest artists each year to Finland for a residency which can last anywhere from one to two months. The residency program is designed for top jazz names and promising up-and-coming musicians.

Drummer and composer John Hollenbeck from the US has been invited to visit Helsinki in August 2020 as the inaugural Artist-in-Residence. Hollenbeck is best known from his ensemble Claudia Quintet and from his collaborations with Bob Brookmeyer. Hollenbeck is a recipient of numerous industry awards as well as five GRAMMY Award nominations, among others. In 2005-2016, Hollenbeck was Professor of jazz drumming and improvisation at the Jazz Institute Berlin and in 2015, he joined the teaching faculty at the Shulich School of Music at the McGill University in Montreal. The 2021 spring season Artist-in-Residence is Linda May Han Oh, who will visit Finland already in April 2020 with her ensemble. Oh, who was born in Malaysia, grew up in Western Australia and is now based in New York, is best known for her long-time collaboration with Pat Metheny.  

I think John Hollenbeck is the perfect choice to launch our Jazz Residency Finland program. He is a brilliant drummer-composer and a hugely versatile musician with an open-minded outlook. I’m particularly happy that he will be able to participate in the professional development camp offered for the Sibelius Academy Jazz Department teaching staff every three years. John is one of the three top international names invited to lead ensembles made out of Sibelius Academy’s jazz teachers. During the three-day-camp, John will get to know some 20 Finnish musicians at the top of their field. My sincere hope is that these encounters will inspire new future collaborations. In addition to the camp, he will give private lessons to our composition students and alumni. -Jussi Kannaste, Head of the Sibelius Academy Jazz Department  

The UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra is excited to be part of this groundbreaking residency project, and we are very much looking forward to collaborating with other leading Finnish cultural and educational institutions such as Jazz Finland and the Sibelius Academy. Our goal is to develop a vibrant musical dialogue between the outstanding international guest artists of the residency program and the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra. This project will enrich the cultural diversity of the Finnish jazz scene and also help create new international networks and connections for Finnish jazz musicians abroad.
-Ed Partyka, Artistic Director, UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra

The Jazz Finland Residency will help create and strengthen networks between international and Finnish jazz professionals, as well as providing opportunities for new creative collaborations and ideas. The residency co-organisers believe that extended artist visits help develop the Finnish jazz scene in a diverse way through advancing international concert activities, strengthening international ties and increasing the access to top level masterclass teaching in Finland. The aim is to establish the residency program as an ongoing and permanent collaboration model, which will enable top international jazz artists to teach and give concerts in Finland.  

The leading idea behind the residency program is to facilitate extensive networking with Finnish jazz professionals, in addition to supporting the participants’ own artistic work. The residency includes giving masterclasses at the Sibelius Academy Jazz Department, as well as performing with the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra. The residency concept also enables local professional jazz musicians to initiate collaborations with the Artist-in-Residence.

Further residency partners include Music Finland, Finnish Jazz Musicians’ Association and the Helsinki International Artist Programme (HIAP).

Read more about the Jazz Finland Residency at

UMO is recruiting Lead Trombonist (Temporary Position)

In addition to versatile musical duties, your main role is to lead the trombone section. You will be responsible for its performance and you will represent it in many ways. Among others, you will recruit possible substitutes for concerts and rehearsals in case of absences.

Register as a candidate by sending an email to You will receive more detailed information about the application process and assignments for a pre-selection audio tape. The due date for delivering the assignments and your CV is 31 March 2019. After the pre-selection stage, successful applicants will be invited for an audition. The auditions will be held on 3 May 2019 at UMO’s rehearsal hall in Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki, with the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Ed Partyka acting as the head of the selection board.

Salary: 2604,54 € / month. In addition, you will be compensated for appearing on recordings, and for expenses related to your attire and instrument according to UMO’s collective agreement. The position is temporary, for 1 Sep 2019 – 31 Dec 2022, Ed Partyka’s term in office as UMO’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. The role has a 6-month probation period.

For further information contact Mr Valtteri Pokela,

Photo credit: Maarit Kytöharju

UMO Jazz Orchestra is a professional Finnish big band, performing new jazz and related music across the board. Annually, UMO plays live in approximately one hundred concerts and other events. Since its formation in 1975, the orchestra has released more than 50 albums and collaborated regularly with not only Finnish household names but also international superstars of jazz. UMO’s repertory reaches from jazz and soul to classical music and beyond, always bringing together old and new in an innovative way.