The Organ Q&A

How will the organ be funded?
The organ project was launched by composer Kaija Saariaho with a one-million-euro donation. The following sponsors have also contributed: Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation (€500,000), Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland Fredrik Pacius Memorial Fund (€500,000), Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation (€300,000), Finnish Cultural Foundation (€300,000), Svenska Kulturfonden (€100,000), and Pro Musica Foundation (€26,000 for project PR and the website). In addition, the following sponsors are waiting for a final decision regarding donation: the City of Helsinki, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE.
What is the campaign’s objective and how will donations be used?
To celebrate the start of the organ project, the Helsinki Music Centre Foundation has organised a donation campaign with a fundraising target of €200,000. The sum will be used to commission organ works for the Helsinki Music Centre and related events.
Why now? Why wasn’t the organ built earlier?
A space for a concert organ was originally designed for the Helsinki Music Centre Concert Hall. For budgetary reasons, the building of a concert organ was delayed, and an electric organ has been used instead in the Concert Hall.
What do you mean, “everybody’s organ”?
Organ music is highly appreciated, and top organists travel frequently to play concerts on the most magnificent instruments in the world. The new Helsinki Music Centre organ will raise the profile of Helsinki and Finland in this respect and provide Finnish organists with the opportunity to develop and progress professionally.
The Helsinki Music Centre already has three different organs, why yet another?
The Concert Hall houses an electric organ. The Organo Hall has three organs, but they are intended for practice and smaller concerts. Moreover, the existing organs represent different organ types.
When will the new organ be ready?
A call for competitive bidding was launched immediately after the project was made public on 11 December 2017. The design and building phase of the organ—at the yet-to-be-known constructor’s organ-building factory—is estimated to take 2 years. In total, the project will last approximately 4–6 years.
Why did Kaija Saariaho want to donate for the organ?
Kaija Saariaho is one of the best-known Finnish contemporary composers, and organ music is an important art form for her both personally and as a composer. With her donation, she wants to raise the Helsinki Music Centre’s profile as a haven of organ music.