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Auditoriums Meet

PREVIEW: Opening Experiences – Helsinki Music Centre

The pressure is always on for the opening night of a new venue. But, after the builders and consultants move on, does economic reality match the planned business model? How has the real business adhered to (or deviated from) the original blueprint?

At AuditoriumsMeet 2012 in Edinburgh, delegates will learn from the ‘real-world experiences’ of recently opened venues… including Helsinki’s Musiikkitalo.

Home to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Music Centre was constructed at a reported cost of $188 million euros, and features a 1700-capacity main hall, in addition to five additional venues and one auditorium, and also cafeteria, restaurants and gallery spaces and a record shop.

The venue opened to acclaim in September 2011; some 20 years after the idea for a new music venue in Finland’s capital city was first conceived.

“It has been a very successful first 12 months,” explains Katja Leppakoski, Managing Director, Helsinki Music Centre who will present within the Opening Experiences session on Day 1 of the AuditoriumsMeet programme.

“The interest in the House has been much bigger than anyone predicted. We are hosting over 100 events per month, and our concerts in the main hall are regularly sold out.”

“The challenge for us presently is to predict how long this honeymoon period may last!”

Of course, such unprecedented demand does itself bring additional challenges.

“When the Musiikkitalo was built, we simply didn’t expect to be hosting so many people in the venue simultaneously,” continues Katja. “So, some of our audience facilities such as our food and beverage outlets have struggled with demand, and we’re already looking to improve these things.”

“We’re looking forward to joining the programme in Edinburgh, and delighted to be sharing our story.”

LESSONS FROM the Helsinki Music Centre, and a world of concert halls, arenas, theatres, festivals and performance spaces, only at AuditoriumsMeet 2012,




About the speaker:

Katja Leppäkoski was appointed as Managing Director of the Helsinki Music Centre in April 2012.

Before joining the Musiikkitalo, she worked at the Pori Jazz Festival (the biggest festival in Finland and one of the biggest jazz festivals in Europe), initially as a Production Manager (1997-2004) and latterly as Festival Director (2004-2012).

Katja is a graduate of the University of Jyväskylä, where she achieved Master of Arts in Musicology, and also holds an Executive MBA degree from the University of Tampere. Today, in addition to her role at the Musikkitalo she serves as a visiting lecturer in several universities, specializing in delivering courses of event production.