Music Centre directors abruptly leave the building
Kenneth Katter and Helena Hiilivirta both gave notice of their resignation on Thursday
Helena Hiilivirta (left) & Kenneth Katter
The sudden resignation of Helena Hiilivirta and Kenneth Katter, the two directors of Helsinki’s Music Centre, came as a surprise to culture circles, particularly as the establishment’s communication policy relating to the matter was very scant.
However, music insiders have already long had a feeling that relations between the two directors were not good. In fact, some people describe their interpersonal relations as inflamed.
According to Katter, the question is rather how feasible the model of two directors has been in practice.
”We have been supporting each other”, Katter claims.
”The decision was made in the morning, that is all I can comment”, said Hiilivirta over the phone on Thursday.
The outside users of the Music Centre have criticised the operating model of the house.
According to the sources of Helsingin Sanomat, the problems have been caused by the model of two directors, which has led to a struggle for power between Hiilivirta and Katter.
Helena Hiilivirta started as the Planning Director of the Helsinki Music Centre in 2006. Later on her title was changed to Director.
In October 2010, Kenneth Katter was appointed as the Managing Director of the Music Centre.
In other words, he became the immediate superior of Hiilivirta. This was an apparent censure motion against Hiilivirta, who had also applied for the post of Managing Director, according to the information gathered by Helsingin Sanomat.
Director Hiilivirta has been responsible for planning, programme content, communications, and hire, while Managing Director Katter has been in charge of finances, administration, and corporate relations.
At the moment, the plan is to look for one Managing Director to replace the two directors.
On Thursday, the issue sparked questions even among the concert audience.
”I wonder if they have followed the example of the National Opera: once the building was completed, they started arguing right away”, said Erkki Etelämäki who had come to the Music Centre to listen to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.
Some sources say that Katter was selected as the superior, but that he was hamstrung from the start because - unlike Hiilivirta - he had no prior connections with the city's cultural life.
Hiilivirta was appointed from a position as Head of Music at Radio 1, the Finnish Broadcasting Company's classical radio arm, and she was formerly general manager of the Radio Symphony Orchestra.
The opening ceremonies of Helsinki’s Music Centre were celebrated at the end of August 2011.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Stravinsky´s Rite of Spring finally lights up Helsinki´s new Music Centre (1.9.2011)
House of hope and dreams: Helsinki´s Music Centre opens its doors (31.8.2011)
Helsinki Music Centre website
Helsinki Music Centre (Wikipedia)