Helsinki Festival appoints Marko Ahtisaari as Artistic Director

The Helsinki Festival is the largest multi-arts urban festival in the Nordics, held annually from late August into September. The festival turns 50 this year and seeks to further broaden its audiences and international collaboration. 

Marko Ahtisaari has been named Artistic Director of the Helsinki Festival starting 1.8.2018. Ahtisaari will be responsible for the artistic planning of the festival for 2019–2020.

Marko Ahtisaari (b. 1969) is an internationally accomplished creative executive and entrepreneur.  Ahtisaari is returning to Helsinki from Boston, USA where he was CEO and co-founder of Sync Project. Sync Project develops personalised music for health and wellness and was acquired by Bose Corporation in spring 2018. 

Ahtisaari currently serves as technology advisor to the GES-2 multi-arts center being built in Moscow. Previously he was a Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and Executive Vice President of Design at Nokia. Ahtisaari has Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees from Columbia University in New York where he studied philosophy, music and economics. 

“We are delighted to have attracted such a talent as Marko Ahtisaari to be the next Artistic Director of the Helsinki Festival,” said Juhana Vartiainen, chairman of the Helsinki-week Foundation board. “Ahtisaari’s creative persona combines broad expertise in music and the arts, technology skills, and impressive leadership experience.  The board firmly believes that the Helsinki Festival will under Marko’s leadership set off on new paths of artistic ambition and help to develop our growing and multi-artistic city.” 

“The Helsinki Festival has for fifty years created unique arts experiences for domestic and international audiences,” said Marko Ahtisaari. “Today, the arts spread though sharing and recommendation. In my work I have always sought to connect technology with the power of communities. Together with the Helsinki Festival team we will make this festival an ever more open platform for contemporary culture.” 

The next Helsinki Festival will be held 17.8.–2.9.2018.

Press inquiries:
Juhana Vartiainen, Helsinki-week Foundation chairman of the board,, tel. +358-50-5122394

Photo: Joi Ito (CC by 2.5)