4.6. To Finlandia Hall

The competition is nearing the end. This was really brought home to us today as we moved the office to Finlandia Hall. Luckily we don’t have a lot of baggage, but even so it took some time to get all the computers set up and online, the papers in some kind of order and before we could concentrate on our work in the new surroundings. The whole day was very quiet in the office – the physical office is no longer so important: the contestants can more or less look after themselves now and others contact us mainly by telephone or email. We’ve had lots of calls from the media asking about all sorts of things, from filming to interviewing.

In addition to the move, our programme for today has taken in orchestral rehearsals and TV interviews. The contestants due to perform on Wednesday were introduced to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Leif Segerstam and of course Finlandia Hall. It’s easy to note there are now more players in the game, not only the competition organisers but also people from the HPO and of course from YLE, the latter setting up the live TV broadcasts on Wednesday and Thursday evening. Today YLE interviewed each of the contestants in the Finlandia Hall terrace room. There were interpreters present speaking Russian and Korean so that all the contestants could express themselves as fully as possible in the language of their choice.

Finlandia Hall still needs a bit of getting used to. It always seems so vast after the cosy, maze-like Sibelius Academy, and we don’t yet know the staff. They have, however, been helpful and supplied us with signs and Internet connections and given us a little more heat in our very air-conditioned office.

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