Suomen Orkesteri ~ New York Horns
Brief history, introduction


Suomen Orkesteri/New York Horns (SO/NYH from here on) was founded at Olli's summer cottage in Tammisaari in August 1981, the exact date of which is, however, subject to somewhat controversial discussion; the aim of the orchestra was designed to fill the gap between good and bad orchestras.

The decision of founding SO/NYH was made in the sauna, like all the important decisions during president Kekkonen's era. The enlightened gathering of men consisted of, as far as it can be verified, Olli, Jyrki and Irsto.

This historical event was witnessed by a dozen of broilers hanging from the ceiling of the sauna while being prepared for supper. After the decision making the guys went to swim in the sea, after which the orchestra was literally baptized.

blue velvet

The first task in fulfilling the aim of the orchestra was to buy instruments. The baritone player was frequently sent to the USA where the price/quality ratio of horns was more favorable than in Finland. Giardinelli music store on Manhattan (now in Syracuse) is gratefully acknowledged.

Thus the name of the orchestra was established. Only Irsto's horn is of the European origin, the late German Democratic Republic where first-class French horns were built at minimum costs. The orchestra actually had an important role in the fall of the Berlin Wall: Risto can make terrible things with his trombone.

In the advent of SO/NYH the members of the orchestra still had musical ambitions. The first milestone in the orchestra's career was to participate in the brass band competition in the Kuopio Tanssii ja Soi Festival in 1983.

nature boys

Although SO/NYH was undoubtedly the best participant, the acoustics of the music hall typical to Finland (a gym) was so horrendous that it made all the artistic efforts futile. The victory went to the winners whom nobody can remember any more. Still, the orchestra was ranked in top ten among its rivals, which were twelve altogether.

Jyrki's arrangements, Frescobaldi's Toccata, J.S. Bach 's Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Anonymous's Horn Pipe received an enthusiastic yet deserved attention by the jury of the competition.

Since then the members of SO/NYH have contented themselves with criticising other orchestras.


SO/NYH has mainly been performing in family occasions and inaugurations of socially remarkable buildings, such as the Kokkola Nursing School or Järvenpää Ice Rink; the longest echo was found in the Pirkkola Swimming Hall where the orchestra was accompanying a stunt diving show.

Most infamous are the celebrations of the Finnish Independence Day which usually have taken place at Irsto's humble home. In those solemn occasions nobody cannot help crying when listening to the patriotic programme of the orchestra, except the most insensitive music lovers, of course, who cannot help laughing.

my old flame

Gourmet has always played an important role in the music life, also in SO/NYH. Another summer which neither can exactly be recalled, an entire pig was acquired in the purpose of roasting it over an open fire. After several setbacks which are skipped here the poor animal was transported to Olli's summer cottage.

Roasting appeared to be slower than expected, and at the sunset only the uppermost layers of the pig, i.e., hair, skin and two inches of grease were in an eatable state. Having eaten a few mouthfuls Olli sunk the pig in the bottom of the Gulf of Finland. A local fisherman was a bit astonished to find a pig's skull in his net next year.

The current ensemble has remained practically the same during the history of SO/NYH, only when some of the ensemble has been forced to stay in exile substitutes have been used.

The future of SO/NYH looks bright as there are promising musicians among the offspring of the orchestra. It is quite possible that 'American Patrol' gets a flawless performance in the new millennium.