The composing contest got 76 participants from 24 countries

The judges are Nikki Iles, Eero Koivistoinen and Ed Partyka 

The Helsinki International Big Band Composing Contest, organized every other year by UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra and the Finnish Big Band Association, received a record number of compositions again this year. 

This time, all European or Europe-based composers without age limit were able to participate in the competition. By the deadline in the beginning of May, 76 participants from 24 European countries entered the competition. 58 of the competitors are from outside Finland. The age range of composers is wide; the youngest participant is 17 and the oldest 74. 

The finalists will be announced after two anonymous pre-qualification rounds on Friday August 25, 2023. A maximum of 10 compositions will be performed live by UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra in the final concert at Malmitalo, Helsinki, on Thursday October 5, 2023, conducted by Antti Rissanen. Tickets for the final concert are already for sale at

The jury of the competition includes the artistic director and chief conductor Ed Partyka (head of jury), British pianist, composer and conductor Nikki Iles, Finnish saxophonist, and composer, conductor Eero Koivistoinen. (Edited 29.5.: Jim McNeely will not after all be a jury member)  

Link to the competition rules

Information about the final concert

Photo: Valtteri Pokela. The photo is not related to this year’s contest.

New joint album from UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra and Nina Mya is now out  

The jazz singer Nina Mya and UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra have released their joint album Searching My Soul on April 21, 2023 (in digital format only). The album is part of the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra’s Great Voices series, dedicated to stellar vocalists from Finland and abroad.

The Great Voices has featured numerous concerts since 2020, and this album is the first recording released in the series. Nina Mya’s rich and dark voice is very unique in the Nordic region and is perfectly suited to open the album series. 

The album consists mainly of Nina Mya’s own compositions with new big band arrangements written by UMO’s chief conductor and artistic director Ed Partyka, who also conducted the album.

The album release concert will be held at G Livelab in Helsinki on Monday 8.5.2023. The concert tickets are already for sale, buy here.

The album has been released in digital format only and is available e.g. on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, Tidal and Deezer. A music video for the single has also been released on YouTube. The album is released by UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra and distributed by Sony Music Entertainment Finland.

­­– The album has a strong theme of relationships, self-development and finding the inner self. The name Searching My Soul refers to my own way of studying and analysing my selfhood and listening to my inner voice. I do it mainly through the theme of relationships, which can be heard also at this album. I feel that I have always lived against the “this is how you should live” norm. I haven’t been silent and stayed still when that was expected of me, says Nina Mya.

– My compositions get an interesting and fresh angle in Partyka’s new arrangements, and do the songs justice in a completely new way. These big band arrangements give my music a certain richness, with layers and body around it, Nina Mya continues.

Nina Mya is a rewarded Finnish jazz singer, composer and vocal teacher. She has published four albums as a band leader: Flying Solo (2012), Our Time (2014), Closure (2016) and Just Another Lonely Soul (2021). She has performed all around the world in big arenas, festivals and clubs. Besides of her own band she has performed and recorded also as a featuring artist with many big names in the music industry. Nina Mya has a dark, technically impressive voice and she is a soulful and strong interpreter who combines jazz, soul and gospel influences in a unique way.

Photo: Teemu Mattsson 

Cover design: Luova toimisto Pilke 

Henriika Steidel-Luoto appointed as the substitute of general manager of the UMO Foundation

Henriika Steidel-Luoto (b. 1991) has been appointed as the substitute of general manager of the UMO Foundation, which runs the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra.

Henriika Steidel-Luoto is a versatile professional of music and culture with extensive experience in various roles as a producer, music pedagogue, composer and musician. She has worked as producer of Sointi Jazz Orchestra and Jyväskylä Big Band, as well as artistic director and producer of Wine Garden Festival. She has years of experience in big bands also as a trombonist and vocalist. Through her work as a producer and musician, Steidel-Luoto has good networks across genre boundaries both in Finland and internationally. Her passion is big band music and its development.

– The UMO foundation gets a competent and inspiring substitute of general manager from Henriika Steidel-Luoto. I believe that under her leadership, the orchestra will perform memorable concerts with wonderful soloists both at festivals and in concert halls. I’m looking forward to our cooperation, comments Tuomas Finne, chairman of the UMO foundation.

– It’s great to work together with Finland’s foremost jazz orchestra. I have admired UMO’s activities over the years in the role of trombonist and producer. I believe that this spring I will bring a whit of young female energy to the orchestra. I thank the board of the UMO Foundation for this great trust, says Henriika Steidel-Luoto.

Photo: Teemu Mattsson

Max Zenger appointed as the 2nd alto saxophonist of the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra  

Saxophonist and woodwind specialist Max Zenger (b. 1988) has been appointed as the new 2nd alto saxophonist of the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra.

Zenger, who graduated from the Sibelius Academy in 2018, is a respected jazz musician and composer who has risen to the top of the Finnish jazz scene in recent years. He leads his own bands, such as Maxxxtet and Max Zenger Globus, with which he won the first place in the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) jazz ensemble competition in 2018. In 2017, Zenger was awarded Pori Jazz Festival’s Talent of the Year prize and was chosen as Artist of the Year for Turku Jazz Festival in 2018. He is a founding member of the record label Flame Jazz Records. 

Later this year, Zenger will release his tenth album with his own compositions. In addition, he has played on dozens of other artists’ and on several UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra’s records.

Zenger first performed with UMO in 2016. Since then, he has regularly worked with the big band as a freelancer, has also done longer substitutes in the saxophone section and has been a soloist in UMO’s concert series.

Zenger will assume his new permanent duties in the autumn season 2023, but he can be seen in the orchestra’s sax section several times before that. His repertoire of instruments in the front row of UMO is impressive: in addition to his main instrument alto saxophone and the most usual instruments of the saxophone, clarinet, and flute family, he plays e.g. contrabass clarinet and bass saxophone. His expression is distinctive and easily recognizable, and he is at home with both traditional and more experimental jazz.

The open and international call for applicants was carried out in a four-round audition process. The first stage was as an anonymous audio pre-selection round, after which the successful applicants were invited to a live audition. It was also possible to be selected for the first round of live audition by getting an invitation from the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra. Those who received an invitation were deemed to meet the application requirements based on previous cooperation with the orchestra. As in the audio round, the first two rounds of the live auditions were played anonymously behind a screen. Only the last fourth round was played face-to-face in front of the jury of more than 10 people. The audition consisted of solo and section playing with and without rhythm section accompaniment, prima vista and improvisation tasks, as well as an interview. 

– Already at the Pori Jazz Festival 2008, when I was watching UMO’s gig and Manuel Dunkel’s solo, I thought that one day I would be playing in UMO too. Being selected to this orchestra is definitely one of the highlights of my career so far. It is a great pleasure and honour to continue the story of one of the most legendary big bands and bring my own spice to the soup, Zenger comments.

– I am thrilled that the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra has chosen Max Zenger as its newest permanent member. Max demonstrated outstanding abilities as an improvisor, section player and multi-instrumentalist in a wide variety of styles to convince the search committee that he is the perfect candidate for the position, says Ed Partyka, UMO’s artistic director and chief conductor.

– Max Zenger is an exhilarating player. He continually explores melodic and rhythmic possibilities, leaving his listeners in awe. In addition to his solidity as a section player, he shows curiosity and inventiveness, both of which are musical virtues rarely found at this level, says the Dutch saxophonist, clarinetist and flutist Joris Roelofs, who acted as an international specialist of the jury.  

– We had more than 30 applicants; the number and the field of applicants was impressive. I would like to personally thank everyone who applied and auditioned. I would also like to thank the orchestra and staff for their hard work, transparency and cooperation throughout the entire application and audition process, Partyka continues. 

– The UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra is a big band with a standard line-up of 16 musicians. Currently, the orchestra has 12.5 permanent musicians with monthly salaries, and the remaining 3.5 positions are filled with freelancers. The increase in the grant from 2023 on from our owner, the city of Helsinki, makes it possible to recruit and fill one position and invest in the development of the orchestra’s quality, appreciates Henriika Steidel-Luoto, deputy general manager. 

Photo: Petri Anttila

The Helsinki International Big Band Composing Contest will be held again in 2023

Held every other year, the Helsinki International Big Band Composing Contest will be organized again in 2023 by the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra and The Finnish Big Band Association (SBBY). The competition, previously known as the Esko Linnavalli big band composition competition, was reformed two years ago, and the rules have been slightly modified again in this year’s edition. 

This time, all European or Europe-based composers without age limit can participate in the competition with one previously unrecorded and unpublished 4–7 minute piece, composed for a standard big band orchestration.

Contestants must submit their entries by May 1, 2023. Composers participate in the competition anonymously, under a pseudonym. The finalists will be announced after two anonymous pre-qualification rounds on August 25, 2023. A maximum of 10 compositions will be performed live by UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra in the final concert at Malmitalo, Helsinki, on October 5, 2023, conducted by Antti Rissanen. Tickets for the final concert are already for sale at

The jury of the competition includes the artistic director and chief conductor Ed Partyka (head of jury), British pianist, composer and conductor Nikki Iles, and Finnish saxophonist, composer and conductor Eero Koivistoinen.

– This contest gives needed exposure and financial support to composers who may not otherwise have the chance to have their music performed by a professional big band. In the last edition of the contest, we focused on young composers and in this edition, we will be focusing on European composers. In addition to helping the composers with exposure and financial support, this contest also is a great way for UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra to meet composers and arrangers for future projects. Finalists from the last edition have been working regularly as arrangers, soloists and even conductors for UMO, says Ed Partyka, the chief conductor and artistic director of UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, who also is the head of the jury. 





Participation in the competition is confined to Europe only. Contestants must either be citizens or residents of a European country. Participants need to produce documentary evidence of their citizenship or recidency in an European country. Entries are not limited by age.

The competition entries must be scored for standard big band orchestration. Admissible doubling instruments are mentioned below:

  • 2 alto saxophones, doubling instrument: clarinet (in Bb)
  • 2 tenor saxophones, doubling instrument: flute (no alto flutes and/or piccolos)
  • baritone saxophone, doubling instrument: bass clarinet
  • 4 trumpets, doubling instrument: flugelhorn
  • 3 trombones
  • bass trombone
  • piano
  • bass
  • drums

In addition, all mutes for brass instruments can be used. PLEASE NOTE! Guitar is NOT included in the line-up.

The duration of the competing work must not be less than four (4) nor more than seven (7) minutes. Works entered in the competition must not be previously recorded or released. Each composer is allowed to submit one composition for the contest. Previous 1st prize winners of Helsinki International Big Band Composing Contest or Esko Linnavalli Big Band Composition Competition or jury members are not allowed to enter.


Compositions must be submitted anonymously, under a pseudonym, to by Monday May 1, 2023 at 16:00 (UTC+2) at the latest. Entries sent after this will be disqualified of the competition. 

The email must be titled “Helsinki International Big Band Composing Contest 2023”, and it must include the following attachments:

  • filled application form
  • documentary evidence of citizenship or recidency in an European country
  • anonymous sheet music as PDF files:
    • separate parts, A4 portrait
    • transposed score, A3 landscape
    • untransposed (in C) score, A3 landscape
  • audio file of the composition (MP3 or MIDI)

The application form must include the following information:

  • name of the composition
  • pseudonym of composer
  • name and date of birth of composer
  • postal address, phone number and email of composer



In the assessment stage in June 2023 the jury will select a maximum of 30 works for the second stage based on audio files and anonymous scores. The results of the first qualification will not be published. In the second qualification in August 2023 the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra will play the pre-selected compositions, and the jury will qualify a maximum of 10 compositions for the final. The names of qualified finalists will be announced on Friday August 25, 2023. 

The compositions qualified in the final will be performed live by the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra in the final concert, which will be held at Malmitalo, Helsinki on Thursday October 5, 2023. The compositions will be judged in the final by a jury set by the organisers of the competition. The final results will be announced immediately after the event. The composers competing in the final are invited to attend the final concert at Malmitalo. The organisers will not cover travel or accommodation costs incurred by attending the final.


Ed Partyka (Chairman), Artistic Director of UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra (US/AT) 

Nikki Iles, pianist, composer, conductor (UK) 

Eero Koivistoinen, saxophonist, composer, conductor (FIN) 


1st prize:     3.000 euro

2nd prize:   2.000 euro

3rd prize:    1.000 euro

The jury has the right to divide the prizes in another way, as well as award special prices.

The organisers reserve the right to premiere the selected works at the final concert on October 5, 2023. All finalists will cede the right of use of the compositions to the organisers, and by participating in the contest agree that the sheet music of the compositions will be freely distributed after the contest via

The organisers have the right to broadcast, record, video, televise, film and photograph the competition performances and to make sound and video recordings of these.


Any potential disagreements will be resolved according to the Finnish rules of the contest. Any situation caused by Force majeure reasons will be resolved by the competition committee. 


Two representatives nominated by the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra and two representatives nominated by the Finnish Big Band Association.

The competition is organised in cooperation by UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra (UMO Foundation) and The Finnish Big Band Association (SBBY).

Terhi Siirala, production manager, UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra
+358 40 763 6275

UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra is a professional Finnish big band that plays live in roughly one hundred concerts and other events annually. Since its formation in 1975, the orchestra has released more than 60 albums and collaborated with both Finnish household names and international superstars of jazz. UMO’s repertoire reaches from jazz and soul to classical music and beyond, bringing together old and new in an innovative way. 

The Finnish Big Band Association (SBBY) currently operates as the umbrella organization of more than forty Finnish big bands. The association provides membership services and supports the training and concert activities of member orchestras and maintains a nationwide Junior All Star Big Band. The members of SBBY are amateur, professional, youth and student orchestras. 

Photo: Heikki Kynsijärvi 

Let’s Festival in summer 2022: Torino Jazz Festival, Lahti Organ Festival, Flow Festival, Helsinki Festival & Allas Sea Pool

UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra has a great summer festival season ahead! 

In addition to the visit at the Torino Jazz Festival in Italy in June, we will visit the Lahti Organ Festival, Flow Festival and the Helsinki Festival’s Huvila in August. And you can count the concert at the Allas Sea Pool almost as a festival gig, right? 

Torino Jazz Festival sun 19.6.: Jimi Tenor & UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra read more

Lahti Organ Festival thu 11.8.: UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra & Susanne Kujala: UMORGAN read more

Flow Festival sat 13.8.: Jimi Tenor & UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra read more

Allas Sea Pool thu 18.8.: UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra goes blues with Erja Lyytinen read more

Helsinki Festival, Huvila, tue 30.8.: Ringa Manner & Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen with UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra read more

Last Dance album out on January 28th

UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra releases a new album Last Dance – New Music for Jazz Orchestra by Ed Partyka in the end of January 2022. This album is the first conducted by Ed Partyka, the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra’s current artistic director.

“The long tradition of the orchestra continues successfully with the Last Dance”
– LP Magazin (DE)

Originally hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Partyka has lived and worked in Europe since 1990, mainly in the German speaking countries. As a conductor and arranger, he has collaborated with many top European Big Bands and mentions Bob Brookmeyer as a significant artistic mentor – perhaps no wonder, Partyka’s instruments being the bass trombone and tuba. He has played on over sixty albums, eleven of which have been released under his own name.

The collaboration between UMO and Partyka barely got off to a start when Covid-19 took over the world in March 2020. All the great plans and bright ideas went to waste and “the new normal” started. UMO’s headquarters at the old cable factory Kaapelitehdas in Helsinki was converted into a studio and streamed concerts and other digital content became the order of the day. This was the inaugural production at UMO’s new studio, with three of the four titles being recorded there in September 2020.

“I am very happy with my first album as chief conductor of the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra. This special recording contains music written during the first year of my tenure, which also happened to be the first year of the pandemic. The recording itself was made possible by concert cancellations, If concerts had not been cancelled due to the pandemic we would have never had the studio time to be able to record this project. So even though the pandemic caused great disruption and hardship, there were positive things that were made possible by an otherwise negative situation. I love writing for and working with these excellent Finnish musicians, and it is an honor to lead this wonderful orchestra. UMO has a long history of excellence and a rich tradition steeped in the roots of jazz (both American and European), and it is my ongoing goal to respect these traditions and build on the history of the orchestra by bringing in new influences and ideas.” Ed Partyka

On this album UMO’s expanded instrumentation consists of an acoustic rhythm section, five trumpets, French horn, three trombones, tuba and all five saxophone players doubling admirably on a wide variety of woodwind instruments, from flute to contrabass clarinet (and almost everything in-between). Thanks to this impressive array of instruments in the hands of the outstanding musicians of UMO, the soundscape of the album is lush and fervent and Partyka’s sonorous voicings and rich harmonies provide a warm and luxurious orchestral cushion for melancholy melodies and expressive improvised solos.

The challenges of the pandemic remain, and this album is an important document of a situation that could not have been foreseen when Ed Partyka and the members of UMO started working together in early 2020. In any case, the ninth conductor of the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra has earned his place in the auspicious, almost fifty-year long history of the orchestra with the excellent music presented here on Last Dance.

More detailed info about the album >>

Album release concerts:

Fri 22.4.2022 at 9 pm – ticket sales starts later
April Jazz Festival, Sellosali, Soittoniekanaukio 1 A, Espoo

Tue 26.4.2022 at 2 pm  
Vuotalo, Mosaiikkitori 2, Helsinki
Tickets and more information:

Wed 27.4.2022 at 2 pm
Malmitalo, Ala-Malmin tori 1, Helsinki
Tickets and more information:

Timo Paasonen gets UMO’s first Jaska Prize

Timo Paasonen, who has played the 2nd trumpet of the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra since 1988, has been awarded the Jaska Prize. This is the first time the award is given in UMO. The criteria are good co-operation and maintaining good working atmosphere.

The Helsinki Musicians’ Association has been awarding the Jaska Prize since 2001. The award is presented annually in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish National Opera’s Orchestra and freelance organisations, and every other year at the Tapiola Sinfonietta. In the future, the Jaska Prize, worth five hundred euros, will be awarded every four years at the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra. The delegation of each orchestra selects the recipient of the Jaska from among themselves in co-operation with the Helsinki Musicians Association.

Warm congratulations and thanks to Timo for a good co-operation!

Photo: Teemu Mattsson

Terra Exotica, new album from Jimi Tenor & UMO

Jimi Tenor and UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra release their second joint album “Terra Exotica” on November 19th.

Terra Exotica was inspired by nearby forests and the seashore, Japanese film-era music, and bands like Sun Ra and Salah Ragab. All of the compositions were created in the pandemic spring of 2020, when Tenor played saxophone in his nearby woods and recorded ideas and fragments on his phone. These recordings have been used in the studio as part of the composition work. All the compositions on the album are new and written by Jimi Tenor for the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra. The conductor is Ed Partyka.

– Among the inspirators of big band music, I could mention Sun Ra and Salah Ragab from Egypt. In addition, I have been listening to a lot of Japanese cinematic music lately, from which one can hear echoes in my compositions. The material I composed is quite exotic in the sense that old Hollywood is described exotic. In addition to these, more swing and blues influences are heard in these new compositions than in my previous works with UMO, Jimi Tenor describes.

The album was recorded at the Cable Factory in Helsinki, Finland in March 2021. Its official release date is Friday, November 19, 2021. The album release concerts will be held on Friday 19.11.2021 in Vuotalo and on Saturday 20.11.2021 at the Savoy Theater, more information about the concerts >>

The album is released on CD, digital and streamed, plus a very limited batch of individually engraved vinyls. The CD is sold e.g. at Bandcamp, Levykauppa X, Eronen, Keltainen Jäänsärkijä and Digelius. The digital publication is available for purchase at Bandcamp. The album can be listened at all possible platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, etc., from November 19th, 2021 on. Listen on Spotify

Jimi Tenor & UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra – Terra Exotica

Pharos Sunset (5:30), solo Manuel Dunkel & Kaisa Mäensivu

October Storm (8:23)

Ghost Train (6:19), solo Max Zenger

Sala De Sol (4:40), solo Timo Paasonen & Mikko Mustonen

Clara Con Limón (4:28)

Asazuke (5:15), solo Max Zenger

Sun Queen (4:52), solo Seppo Kantonen

Yön Synkät Tunnit (5:50), solo Kasperi Sarikoski

Jyrkänteellä (6:54), solo Manuel Dunkel


Soloist, compositions: Jimi Tenor (tsax, flutes, synthesizer)

Conductor: Ed Partyka

Saksophones & woodwinds: Jouni Järvelä, Max Zenger, Ville Vannemaa, Manuel Dunkel, Mikko Mäkinen.

Trumpets: Teemu Mattsson, Timo Paasonen, Mikko Pettinen, Tero Saarti.

Trombones: Kasperi Sarikoski, Mikko Mustonen, Pekka Laukkanen, Mikael Långbacka.

Rhythm Section: Seppo Kantonen, piano; Kaisa Mäensivu, bass; Mika Kallio, drums; Ismaila Sané, percussion.


Recorded: 17.–26.3.2021 Kaapelitehdas, Cable Factory, Helsinki Finland

Producers: Jimi Tenor & UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra

Recording, mixing & mastering: Markus Ketola

Recording assistant: Ilkka Ferm

Record Label: Ronet Records

Distributor: Ronet Records

Cover design: Ronet Records


Jimi Tenor is a Finnish composer and multi-instrumentalist – and a guarantee of original art, whether it is electronic music created as a solo project or a jazz function made with a band. He sings, plays saxophones, flutes, keyboards and self-built instruments. In addition to his music career, an internationally successful multitalent has e.g. photographed, directed short films and designed clothes. 

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