The Lahti Symphony Orchestra has appointed Dalia Stasevska as its new principal conductor with effect from the autumn of 2021, when Dima Slobodeniouk’s tenure ends. The Lahti Sports and Culture Committee reached this decision at a meeting on 20 May 2020. Stasevska’s contract term extends until the end of the spring season in 2024, and from 2021 she will also take on the role of artistic director of the orchestra’s international Sibelius Festival. Stasevska, whose international career is making rapid headway, has also been principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London since 2019.
‘For me, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra has long held a very special position’, says Dalia Stasevska. ‘In Lahti there’s a tremendous amount of potential; the orchestra’s players are inspired, they are minded to do great things and they have the capacity to play repertoire in different styles without prejudice. It’s also a great pleasure to continue the Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s important work with the music of Sibelius. It’s a great honour for me to hold the position of this orchestra’s principal conductor and I believe that together we will achieve great, new things!’
Teemu Kirjonen, general manager of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, remarks: ‘Dalia Stasevska is one of Finland’s most sought-after conductors all over the world at the moment. Her visits to Lahti have been great experiences for the audience and also for the orchestra, and we have really high hopes concerning our future collaboration.’
In the coming autumn Dima Slobodeniouk will begin his last concert season as principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. ‘Slobodeniouk has made a significant contribution to the orchestra’s artistic development and to the enrichment of its repertoire, and Stasevska will be able to continue this process in a natural way’, Kirjonen comments; he feels that the future cooperation will also prove advantageous for the continuation of recording and touring activities.
‘I believe that Dalia has the ability to understand the aesthetics of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, and her way of working fits in with the high work principles of the orchestra’, says Dima Slobodeniouk. ‘I hope that under Dalia’s direction the Lahti Symphony Orchestra will become an even more diverse orchestra and grow both “upwards” into the world at large and “downwards” to strengthen its roots as Lahti’s own orchestra.’
The Organizing Committee of the 7th International Jean Sibelius Conference (previously scheduled to take place on 7–9 September 2020) has published the following important announcement for all participants:
Dear participant of the 7th International Sibelius Conference,
The Finnish Government has announced certain concessions to the restrictions imposed in Finland due to the COVID-19 disease, but the pandemic situation worldwide is difficult and may still remain so for several months or even longer. Because of the high health risks caused by travelling and social gatherings and various unpredictable practical consequences of the pandemic, the Organizing Committee has decided that the 7th International Sibelius Conference will be postponed tentatively to early September 2021. The precise dates and other details will be notified as soon as possible. The duration, place and programme of the Conference will remain the same as announced earlier, but we kindly ask for your understanding for possible minor adjustments to the programme.
We hope that you all stay well and safe in these difficult times and look forward to seeing you in Hämeenlinna in 2021.
The Organizing Committee of the 7th International Sibelius Conference
Even if the coronavirus crisis means that in many countries concerts are cancelled, you can still enjoy virtual concerts online.
And even though many YouTube videos feature well-known commercial recordings, there are also plenty of excellent concert recordings available, often from performers who have not recorded the music on CD but play it with freshness and excitement.
We have added a page on this website containing links to some of our favourite Sibelius highlights on YouTube. The page will be updated with more recommendations. Already it includes performances of all seven symphonies, Kullervo, the Violin Concerto and several tone poems.
To qualify for inclusion, a performance must be a concert performance or a studio performance not released on disc. It must also be an original work by Sibelius, not a third-part arrangement. Ideally (but not essentially) it will include video of the performance rather than still images.
The Organizing Committee of the 7th International Jean Sibelius Conference (scheduled to take place on 7–9 September 2020) has published the following important announcement for all participants:
Dear participant of the 7th International Sibelius Conference,
The Finnish Government has announced a state of emergency that has led to strict restrictions in Finland until 13 May 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the state of emergency may also be prolonged after that date.
The pandemic together with its repercussions may affect arrangements for the Conference both on the organizers’ and participants’ side. Therefore, even if the restrictions were removed or moderated, the Organizing Committee has to assess whether arranging the Conference in September is realistic.
Because the Finnish Government will make new decisions about the state of emergency by 13 May 2020, the Organizing Committee will also decide at that time whether the Conference will be held in September 2020, or whether it is cancelled or postponed, and will inform participants about the decision by 15 May.
If the Conference can be arranged in September, please note that the registration form should be sent and the participation fee paid by 31 May. Participants giving a paper in the Conference will receive guidelines for writing the article by 15 May, if the Conference takes place as planned.
The Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s concerts are currently cancelled owing to coronavirus/Covid-19, but the orchestra has recorded Sibelius’s Finlandia, each player performing at home and using mobile phones as the recording equipment.
Mosquitos – the curse of the Finnish summer for anybody who ventures into the countryside.
But new research indicates that there is a simple way to keep these irritating insects away: play or listen to music by Sibelius!
A research project under controlled conditions involving 20 brave human volunteers and several million mosquitos (sourced from the Sibelius Forest near Hämeenlinna) has shown that the insects react in very different ways when played music by different composers – and Sibelius’s music came top of the list for keeping them away.
The 20-minute-long tests were carried out in controlled netted areas, and (to simulate potential real life situations) recordings of various pieces of music were played back on a mobile phone. When music by Sibelius was tested, the mosquitos formed an orderly swarm in the immediate vicinity of the phone and did not bother the human test subjects at all. Project leader Prof. E. Ticker said: ‘We were very surprised the the mosquitos reacted in this way, and cannot yet explain this behaviour. It may be that they recognized the nature imagery in the music; or it may simply be they they have far more sophisticated cultural tastes than was hitherto believed.’ He continued: ‘We do, however, recommend that you refrain from answering your mobile phone if it rings while mosquitos are swarming around it.’
Below are selected test results for various musical works:
Sibelius: Tapiola: reduction of frequency and severity of mosquito bites by approx. 100%.
Peterson-Berger: Arnljot: A slight decrease in bites, ascribed to the insects and human test subjects becoming very drowsy.
Vaughan Williams: A Pastoral Symphony: no measurable change in frequency of mosquito bites, but several cows from a neighbouring farm gathered round and looked over a gate at the experiment.
Lordi: Hard Rock Halleluja: an increase in mosquito bites of approx. 15%
Stockhausen: Dienstag aus Licht: test abandoned because mosquitos and human test subjects rapidly left the test zone.
Breitkopf & Härtel has issued more works by Sibelius as separate publications based on existing volumes in the acclaimed JSW critical edition.
Each new issue includes a thorough introductory essay in German and English and the newly edited Urtext of the full score itself, but not the facsimile photos and extensive critical comments of the full editions.
The four Lemminkäinen tone poems (Op. 22) are all here presented, edited by Tuija Wicklund. Here we have the standard, final versions of each piece (early versions, where available, are available in the full hardback JSW edition: SON 618). After the first performances in 1896 and 1897, Sibelius soon revised The Swan of Tuonela (which was soon to become very popular) and Lemminkäinen’s Return for publication, but left the two other pieces unissued for nearly forty years before giving them a final revision. The entire cycle in its definitive version was published in 1954.
The final versions are all included in the hardback volume SON 619. Orchestral parts are available as hire material.
Another work from the same year as the original Lemminkäinen, 1896, and bearing an adjacent opus number (Op. 21) is the hymn Natus in curas for male choir a cappella, and the Urtext of this piece too has been issued separately. It was composed for the unveiling of a monument and has a Latin text by Fridolf Gustafsson (1853–1924), professor at Helsinki University. The work was included in a choral collection published in 1899, for which Sibelius made small revisions. This version was published in the JSW Complete Edition (SON 624), edited by Sakari Ylivuori, from which the new volume is extracted.