Today with school we went back to Musiikkitalo (Music House) to see the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. It was really great :) The price was right - free for school groups booked in advance, and only €3 to get in otherwise. It was the final rehearsal for their concert which begins tonight. They played Schumann, Prokofiev and Beethoven, and the solo violinist was Viviane Hagner from Germany - very talented. I took my 17yo daughter with me. She even said that she had enjoyed it, and wished she played the violin herself :)
Pro tip: if you live in Helsinki, these shows happen regularly. You can check out the website to see the dates, www.musiikkitalo.fi (it's also in English).
They have a lovely sunny cafe indoors, and fresh pastries for sale. Unfortunately there's quite a rush at intermission, so if you want to buy something, sit close to the door and make a dash for it the moment intermission starts. They won't let you into the doors if you're late, so arrive in time to use the cloaking service.
The rehearsals are informal - leave your furs at home and wear jeans (the whole orchestra will be in jeans too). The musicians ignore the audience, so this is a little different to "going to the symphony". The conductor often asks them to play small sections of the pieces again, asking them to play louder in the horn part, or tell the violinists they're a bit slow to begin the fast section, and so on. It's kinda interesting :)
Even the building is spectacular.