Still feeling the afterglow of our debut concerts in Finland, Principal Cello Timo-Veikko 'Tipi' Valve discusses performing on his home soil with the ACO.
The ACO finally made its Finland debut! How did it feel returning to your home country with the Orchestra?
I’ve been in the ACO for eleven years now, and from day one it has been a dream of mine to return to Helsinki with the Orchestra. Better late than never! A lot of people in Finland know the ACO and its unique style, so it was a privilege to be part of our first visit to my other home. I am hoping we will have many returns after this successful first visit!
How was the ACO received in Finland?
There was definitely a special vibe at both of the concerts! Our Finnish fans were waiting for these performances; the pressure was on to deliver. And things could have not gone better. With so many friends, family and former colleagues in the audience, these concerts really were the highlight of my year. Richard’s [Tognetti] speech (in Finnish!) at the end of our first concert was delivered perfectly, not an easy task given the complexity of our language. The two performances in Finland were part of the Espoo Piano Festival, which by the way, was organised amazingly.
What connection do you see the ACO as sharing with Finland?
The ACO has worked with many Finnish musicians over the years, in particular with Pekka Kuusisto and Olli Mustonen (who performed with us at the second concert in Tapiola Hall) just to name a few. And obviously there is Satu and myself in the Orchestra. But even on top of that, I think that there is this strange connection between Australians and the Finns – the Finns have a sense of honesty and positivity in their outlook, particularly in the summer season (maybe not so much during the long winter months!), which is also something I find in Australians. Also both countries are tucked away a bit, which makes them, well, special.
What did the Orchestra get up to in Finland, outside of rehearsing and performing?
There was quite a bit of eating I believe. The food in Helsinki is really good, and nowadays there is a wide variety of dining options. I wasn’t able to take everyone in the touring group out for food, but I received positive reports from the players and crew who found some great restaurants to spend the (already quite dark) evenings in. Many tried out dishes that one might not find in Australia.
On the last day I was able to convince some of my ACO colleagues to venture in for a dip in the ice-cold harbour water – which, on this particular occasion, was only a mild five degrees – followed by a sauna of course. A Finnish tradition!
The orchestra have returned from Europe and are halfway through their tour of Bach's Christmas Oratorio. The orchestra will then break over Christmas before returning to the stage in February for an explosive season opener, Tognetti Tchaikovsky Brahms.