The Schedule of the Helsinki Music Centre’s New Concert Organ Changes

The delivery of the Helsinki Music Centre’s new concert organ is postponed by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also the participation time of the international Kaija Saariaho Organ Composition Competition will  be extended.

The pandemic has had a major influence on the manufacturing processes of the Austrian Rieger Orgelbau -organ factory that delivers the new organ. Therefore the parties have agreed on a new schedule for the Helsinki Music Centre’s organ. The building of the organ, which was originally planned to take place during the summers 2021 and 2022, is now scheduled for three summers. The organ will be ready during the autumn of 2023. Therefore the opening ceremony is postponed by one year and will take place on January 1st, 2024.

“Even though the coronavirus situation has seemed relatively good in Finland, we can’t overlook the global pandemic situation. When it comes to the Helsinki Music Centre’s organ, our main criteria is quality which we have wanted to ensure not only by the choice of the building factory but also by providing the organ builder with a needed flexibility in the building schedule”, the head of the planning process of the organ, professor Olli Porthan says. Helsinki Music Centre’s new organ will be exceptional; an instrument with 123 organ stops and the latest technology combined with a unique, modern and monumental facade.

The Participation Time of the International Kaija Saariaho Organ Composition Competition Extended

Also the international Kaija Saariaho Organ Composition Competition will get more time and the participation time will be extended by one year. “The competition has attracted a wide interest and we have received dozens of registrations during the spring. Considering the aim for the highest possible level of the competition and the exceptionality of the organ, the additional time of one year does not cause any additional complication to the organisation, on the contrary. This gives us time for international marketing and at the same time the composers have more time for their composition work.” the chairman of Musiikkitalo’s Play the Organ association (Urut Soimaan ry) Jan Lehtola says.

The composition competition is open to all who are interested and it has three different categories: orchestral concerto, chamber music and organ solo. The goal is to award around dozen works which will be performed in separate concerts during the year 2024. The compositions will be performed apart from FRSO (Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra) and HPO (Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra) by various Finnish orchestras and international organ virtuosos. The jury is led by Kaija Saariaho. The other jury members are chief conductors Nicholas Collon and Susanna Mälkki, composers Francesco Filidei (Italy), Maija Hynninen, Olli Kortekangas and the organists Jan Lehtola, Susanne Kujala and Olli Porthan.

For further information, please contact the following individuals

  • Helsinki Music Centre Foundation: Ms. Kaisa Näreranta, +358 50 584 4876 or by email at
  • Organ Project: Mr. Olli Porthan, tel. 050 526 2006 or by email at
  • Organ Composition Competition: Mr. Jan Lehtola by phone at +35850 378 0878 or by email at