The Polytech Orchestra, PO, is the oldest academic amateur symphony orchestra in Finland. It was formed by the students at the Helsinki University of Technology in 1922. Over the years the orchestra has moved from the Helsinki city center to Otaniemi, the Helsinki University of Technology has changed to Aalto University, and PO has grown from a small salon orchestra to one of the largest symphony orchestras in Finland. Nowadays the orchestra is very multidisciplinary, and nearly half of the players have already graduated or are studying elsewhere. Through the entirety of its 100-year history, PO’s main goal has been spreading the joy of music and offering high-quality classical music experiences to both our players and the audience.
The program of the anniversary concert consists of musical styles and pieces that are important for the Polytech Orchestra. The concert begins with Danse macabre, the Dance of Death, which is a melodic tone poem by Camille Saint-Saëns. It is filled with wild musical joy in a waltz rhythm that also reminds us of the orchestra’s long tradition as a ballroom orchestra.
The romantic style also close to PO’s heart is represented beautifully in the second Piano Concerto by Sergei Rachmaninoff. In addition to the piano, the vast string sections of PO get their time to shine. Mackenzie Melemed, the internationally known winner of the Maj Lind Piano Competition, stars as the piano soloist.
The anniversary concert culminates in the massive first symphony by Gustav Mahler, also called “Titan”. The majestic tones and grandiose melodies offer the large orchestra a great opportunity to completely indulge in the power of music.
Camille Saint-Saëns: Danse macabre
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2, soloist Mackenzie Melemed
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 1 “Titan”
Conducted by James Kahane