Archive for August, 2013

Lasse Allonen

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Jyvaskyla Sinfonia

In a few days I will return to the Jyvaskyla Sinfonia in Finland, with whom I was Music Director from 1985-1993, to Celebrate their General Manager, Lasse Allonen, extraordinary tenure of 40 Years as their General Manager. It’s not often that one comes across an individual who’s as selfless and dedicated as Lasse but he has made mine and many others lives richer through knowing him.

After a disastrous Guest Conducting Concert in which somehow the repertoire of my contract and that of the advertised program was different I returned home  vowing never to return to Finland, but a week later received a call from Lasse saying the Players of the Orchestra really wanted me to be their next Music Director, after a loud and passionate outburst from me exclaiming that the concert was a disaster Lasse calmly told me that the musicians thought if I can get them through that I can get them though anything!! We agreed to give it a try and I returned twice more before signing on the dotted line – I’m pleased I did, they were happy years.

The rehearsal home of the Jyvaskyla Sinfonia in those days was in the basement of a horse-riding stadium a few kilometers outside of Jyvaskyla. A large room with pillars, so many musicians couldn’t see the conductor or other players, low ceiling providing poor acoustics and then concerts in the University Hall that was very unwelcoming and extremely dry acoustically.

Through Lasse’s expert guidance, and the musicians dedication, it has become one of the leading Regional Orchestras in Finland with recordings (Naxos) and foreign touring part of their annual program. They now have a rehearsal room and administrative offices in the City, but sadly still no Concert Hall, but attract capacity audiences in the City Theater.

He also fostered numerous young Finnish Musicians who have gone onto International careers.

His tenure and dedication will long be remembered, but we wish him a happy and long retirement – he’s earned it. I look forward to seeing his smiley face at the airport in a few weeks and re-acquainting myself with the musicians of the Jyvaskyla Sinfonia. Thankyou Lasse for everything you have done for so many of us.