Sixth Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera

The Sixth Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera will take place in the autumn of 2020 in the Tigullio Gulf (eastern Liguria, Italy) in some of the places familiar to Jean Sibelius: Santa Margherita Ligure and Chiavari. The dates are 25–27 September, 2–4 October and 9–11 October.

Among the artists invited are the Chamber Ensemble of London, Myrsky string ensemble, pianists Folke Gräsbeck (artist in residence since the first festival in 2015) and Dario Bonuccelli, violinists Peter Fisher and Olivier Pons, flautist Elena Cecconi, baritone Petri Kirkkomäki and other soloists and groups. Federico Ermirio is artistic director of the festival.

Further details will be released in the coming months and will be listed at

For details of hotels (various categories), restaurants and local sights, write to:


Rare Sibelius in Bedford

Sibelius’s rarely heard cantata The Captive Queen (Vapautettu kuningatar) will be performed in Bedford on Saturday 8 February 2020.

The concert also includes music by Beethoven, Strauss, Desyatnikov, Ešenvalds, Bruckner and Verdi. It is performed by the Bedford Great Ouse Orchestra and Choir conducted by Christopher Ridley (timpanist of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden). This is a charity concert in aid of the Bedford Homeless Partnership.

Sibelius’s single-movement cantata was written for a patriotic event in 1906, celebrating the centenary of the birth of the statesman and philosopher Johan Vilhelm Snellman (1806–81), an influential champion of the Finnish language who played a major role in the establishment of a Finnish cultural identity. It has a text by Paavo Cajander (1846–1913), telling of a queen, imprisoned in a castle, who is liberated by a young hero. Sibelius himself conducted its first performance in Helsinki on 12th May 1906.

Venue: St Andrew’s Church, Bedford
7.30 pm, Saturday 8 February 2020
Tickets: £10 from or 07970 751270

Facebook: Great Ouse Orchestra
Twitter: @BedfordConcert




All-Sibelius concert in Stratford

Intimate Voices is the title of an orchestral concert by the Orchestra of the Swan conducted by Tom Hammond, with Tamsin Waley-Cohen, violin, to be held at the Stratford Playhouse, Stratford-upon-Avon on 21 January 2020.

The all-Sibelius programme includes works that are rarely heard in concert as well as favourites such as The Swan of Tuonela and the Seventh Symphony.

The Orchestra of the Swan was founded in 1995 and is based in Stratford-upon-Avon. It give over 45 concerts a year and has performed in China, Mexico, Turkey and the United States. It also has recorded extensively to great acclaim. The orchestra is passionate about promoting new music and has premièred more than 70 new works.

After his selection by Sir Charles Mackerras as the first Junior Fellow in Conducting at Trinity Laban Conservatoire (2006–08), Tom Hammond has developed a rich and musically diverse career. He has built a reputation for developing ensembles musically whilst engaging in thoughtful programming, championing living composers, developing relationships with outstanding soloists and establishing outreach programmes.

Click here to watch Tom Hammond’s podcast in which he discusses the music of Sibelius.

Former ECHO Rising Star Tamsin Waley-Cohen has established herself as one of the most insightful and versatile young British violinists. She has performed with numerous orchestras, including the Hallé Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko, RPO, LPO, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, the Royal Northern Sinfonia and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. She is a recording artist for Signum records

Sibelius              The Swan of Tuonela (Lemminkäinen Suite)
Sibelius              The Tempest Suite No. 2
Sibelius              Four Humoresques for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 89
Sibelius              Kuolema: Scene with Cranes
Sibelius              Symphony No. 7

Tickets can already be ordered online:
Click here for tickets

Note: the previously planned extra performance in Birmingham has been cancelled.


Sibelius Board Game

A Sibelius-themed board game has been released by Suomen historiapelit. The game is one of a series of board games on topics from Finnish history.

Sibelius’s compositions gave Finland a place on the world stage at a time when the country had yet to attain its independence. How did this son of a young widow grow into a revered maestro who rubbed shoulders with kings and presidents? And what is synesthesia, and how did it affect the composer’s life? In this game, you can relive Sibelius’s childhood in Hämeenlinna and his final years in Ainola in Järvenpää, join him in his studies abroad, take part in his travels around the world, and witness the creation of a Finnish identity.


In the game, the players’ movements around the game board are dictated by dice-throws. If a player lands on one of 28 numbered points, a historical booklet drawing upon events from the composer’s life is consulted, which gives instructions as to how to proceed. Instructions and rules are in Finnish, Swedish and English.

Price €34. Available from

Folke Gräsbeck receives Italian award

Folke Gräsbeck receiving the award from Federico Ermirio and the Deputy Mayor of Chiavari

The Sibelius Festival Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera and its organizer Federico Ermirio have established a prize awarded to a personality in the field of concert performance, journalism, research and musicology.

The first ‘Targa Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera’ was awarded to the pianist and Sibelius scholar Folke Gräsbeck. The certificate was presented by the Deputy Mayor of Chiavari at the festival’s concluding concert in Chiavari on 13 October 2019, in recognition of Gräsbeck’s ‘decades of international activity in  concert and historical-musicological research, reassessing and revising unpublished materials by Jean Sibelius: a generous commitment that has contributed to the cataloguing and dissemination of a body of work that is fundamental for the history of European music in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries’. Gräsbeck has been artist-in-residence at the festival since its inception in 2015.

Congratulations to Fokke Gräsbeck and to all involved with the festival for their tireless work in promoting Sibelius’s music in Italy.

Fennica Gehrman publications


Click here to read our round-up of recent Sibelius publications from Fennica Gehrman.

The volumes (issued 2015–2019) are:
– Piano Miniatures
– Five Esquisses for piano, Op. 114
– Six Humoresques for violin and orchestra
– Six Humoresques for violin and orchestra (arr. Jani Kyllönen)
– Rakastava (1911 and 1912 versions)
– Scherzo for strings
– Andante festivo

New biography of Aino Sibelius (in Finnish)

In recent years, in addition to a steady flow of new works about Jean Sibelius, an increasing amount of attention has been paid to Aino (1871–1969), the composer’s often long-suffering wife. Now a major biography of her has been published – the most extensive to date – written by Riitta Konttinen, emeritus professor of art history at Helsinki University, who has previously written about Finnish women artists such as Venny Soldan and Helene Schjerfbeck and also contributed to the book about Ainola that appeared in 2015. Konttinen points out that Aino was a remarkably strong and independent person who overcame many difficulties including the death of one of her daughters and her husband’s debts and alcohol problems.

Aino Sibelius, née Järnefelt, was born into an large and influential family: daughter of a general, with siblings who excelled in the fields of drama, painting and music. She was not only the mother of six daughters but also a highly skilled organizer whose competence at managing the family made an effective counterbalance to her husband’s impulsivity and financial naïvety. She was a talented linguist, writer, mathematician and artist as well as a fine amateur musician. Her passion for Ainola’s garden is well-known and her skilful cultivation of fruit, vegetables and berries made a significant and sustainable contribution to the family’s economy. Her empathy with and belief in her husband’s music were unshakeable even if she did become exasperated at his sometimes immoderate behaviour. Nonetheless, she kept her emotions strictly under control, especially in public. She continued to live at Ainola – the house she and Jean had commissioned and lived in since 1904 – until 1969, the year of her death at the age of 97.

Aino Sibelius by Riitta Konttinen. Published by Siltala, Helsinki 2019. In Finnish
Link to purchase: click here

Minutes of 2019 AGM

Members of Sibelius One at the 2019 AGM. Photo: © Rob Ebbers

Sibelius One’s 2019 AGM was held at Ainola on 5 September.

Members may read or download minutes of the 2019 AGM by clicking this link. Please note that you must be logged in to the site in order to access the page. Also available on the same page are short accounts for 2018 and an updated version of Sibelius One’s constitution.