Music helps to break the ice

When you think about seminars and conferences, the things that come to mind are often nice suits, polite behaviour and professional content. You have the chance to meet future partners, but you don’t have much time to get acquainted. How can music be used to break the ice?

The Arctic Philharmonic has just returned from a tour to Sweden, Finland and Lithuania. The evening concerts were preceded by daytime seminars organised in collaboration with the respective Norwegian embassies.

Norway’s Ambassador to Finland, Åge Grutle, was pleased with this arena. - The concerts and seminars could easily have been arranged as separate events, but when they are combined in this way they reinforce each other, he summarises as a long and eventful day nears its conclusion. - When you combine several good forces, there’s no doubt you get better value for money and you are left with more beneficial effects.

The ambassador was impressed by the Arctic Philharmonic and described the experience as “being at Rolls Royce level”, before adding: - It was really impressive and it was such an extremely moving experience that will leave a lasting impression.

He believes that it’s fair to say that the Finnish and Norwegian mentality have one thing in common: it takes some time to warm up before the conversation flows naturally.

Can meeting around a concert, which is moving and absorbing, help with precisely this? - Yes, I definitely think so. The musical experience is deeply universal and acquaintances made after the event become stronger, says the ambassador.

Norwegian and Finnish representatives both attended the seminar in Oulu. The Mayor of Tromsø, Jarle Aarbakke, talked about Arctic regional policy and Stein-Vidar Loftås from SNN discussed Northern Norway in an economic perspective. Several representatives of business and industry presented their respective projects, while representatives from the universities discussed opportunities for cooperation.

Do you think such a gathering will produce any results? - Well, the regions of Northern Norwegian and Northern Finland already cooperate in several areas and there is a long chain of good relations. Existing cooperation involves industries such as building and construction, health and tourism, he says, adding: - There are also major interests in aquaculture and petroleum, but new connections are needed and this requires constantly maintaining contact. We still have a lot to learn about each other.