PMO – full of music since 1970
Pirkanmaa Music Institute opened on 6.9.1970, led by diploma organist Matti Hannula. The host of the music institute is YMCA Tampere (Tampereen NMKY r.y.) and the first lessons were indeed taught mostly on its premises in Puisto-Emmaus in Hämeenpuisto 14.
The institute quickly branched out to neighbouring municipalities and, at its best, had two dozen instruction locations in eight municipalities. The instruction has been centralised over the years, and the current municipalities to offer instruction in addition to Tampere are Hämeenkyrö, Kangasala, Pirkkala, and Ylöjärvi. Ylöjärvi and Hämeenkyrö joined the institute when the West-Pirkanmaa Music Institute merged with Pirkanmaa Music Institute on 1.1.2015. The institute expanded yet again with the addition of Tampere Suzuki school on 1.1.2019.
Since 1984, the Tampere branch has operated in Eteläpuisto 4 in a jugend-style building from 1905. The building is known locally for its history as a senior home for Swedish speaking women under the name De Gamlas Hem.
After Matti Hannula, the institute has been led by principals Väinö Lehto, Vesa Ruotonen, Liisa Valkama, and Markku Kojo, who worked for the longest term from 1985 to 2009. After Kojo’s retirement, vice-principal Timo Saarinen acted as a temporary principal for the term 2009–2010. The current principal Jouni Auramo started in the position on 1.9.2010.
As the years have passed, the institute has developed into a diverse place of learning focusing on ensembles and orchestras with around 1,700 pupils and over 90 teachers.
Selections from the first annual report
Pirkanmaa Music Institute opened in 1970 under the name Music institute of YMCA Tampere. The city already had another active music institute, the Tampere Music institute (nowadays Tampere Conservatoire). The growing city welcomed the new music institute with open arms, and the first year of operation saw over 700 pupils already.
“When the Music institute of YMCA Tampere was founded in 1970, our most important goal was to lead amateur musicians of all ages to instruction that would be consistent and as good as possible. From the beginning, we also wanted to reserve our pupils the opportunity to complete degrees in accordance with the requirements of Sibelius Academy and therefore make any future professional studies easier.”
In total, 134 different degrees were completed during the year 1971–1972, which was a notably large number when compared to the short time the institute had operated at that point.