Category Archives: News

Complete BIS Sibelius Box in Japan

A limited-edition complete boxed set of the BIS Sibelius Edition has been issued by King International in Japan.

The set includes all 69 original CDs plus a bonus disc of items that have come to light since the thirteenth and final volume of the Edition was issued in 2011 (these newer recordings are available internationally on BIS-2065 and BIS-2132).

The discs are accompanied by a large book (over 400 pages) including track listings, notes, artist biographies and song texts with Japanese translations.

The set can be ordered online – click here for the order page (in Japanese).










New Piano Transcription of Symphony No. 2

Michael Grant has made a new solo piano transcription of Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2.

This new 59-page transcription features the entire symphony, complete and unabridged. It has been painstakingly prepared from the orchestral score, with great care being taken to adapt it to the unique medium of the keyboard. The result is an arrangement that remains faithful to the original whilst being idiomatically suited to the piano.

Key features of this edition:
— All 1254 bars of the symphony, faithfully transcribed for solo piano.
— This arrangement has been prepared with practicality in mind, resulting in an edition that is playable for advanced hobbyists as well as established virtuosi.
— Tempo indications, marks of expression and rehearsal letters have all been preserved from the orchestral score.
— Comprehensive bar numbers (at the start of every line) provide an invaluable reference for study and analysis.
— An in-depth introduction and commentary, written by the arranger, details the historical background of the symphony along with notable features of the music.

Michael Grant writes: ‘To the best of my knowledge this is the first time this symphony has been commercially available in such a format, and I have deliberately tried to make it playable for the intermediate/advanced pianist (whereas piano transcriptions are often only suited to virtuosos).’

Michael Grant is a highly accomplished woodwind musician based in London. He is proficient in a wide range of musical styles, participating regularly in a mixture of orchestral concerts, jazz performances and musical theatre shows. He has performed in some of the most iconic venues across the UK and Europe, including London’s Adelphi Theatre and Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Brussels Cathedral, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin. In addition, he has performed with such esteemed artists as Richard Dickins, Tom Deering and Sir Thomas Allen.

The transcription is available via Michael Grant’s website

Instrumentation: Solo piano
Length: 59 pages
Duration: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced
SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY PRICE (for orders placed before midnight on 31 May 2017): £8 (+£2 P&P) [regular price will be £15 + P&P]

Jean Sibelius and his Muses

Kathleen Roland-Silverstein and Mimmi Fulmer will present a lecture recital at the International Congress of Voice Teachers in Stockholm on 4 August 2017 at 11.15 am.

Jean Sibelius and his Muses: Songs inspired by sopranos Ida Ekman and Aino Ackté

Two women inspired Jean Sibelius to write most of his over 100 songs. In this retrospective of sopranos Ida Ekman and Aino Ackte, the presenters will offer a lecture recital examining the differing voices and temperaments of the two, their relationships with the composer, and a performance of some of the most important songs created for them.

Soprano Kathleen Roland-Silverstein is a Fulbright scholar, author of a Swedish song anthology, music reviewer for the Journal of Singing, and a member of the faculty at Syracuse University.

Mimmi Fulmer is the editor of Midnight Sun, an anthology of Nordic songs, and author of a book about Vision and Prayer. She is professor of voice and opera at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Pianist Russell Miller is professor of vocal coaching and repertoire at Eastman School of Music. He has performed internationally, notably with Kathleen Roland-Silverstein, Julia Broxholm and Jan Opalach.

Conference website: click here.

Sibelius at the 2017 Proms

Sibelius’s music will be featured at six of the BBC Prom concerts in 2017. All of these concerts will take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The concerts are as follows. Click on the links for further information and booking:

Saturday 15 July – Prom 2
Sibelius: Violin Concerto
Elgar: Symphony No. 1
Lisa Batiashvili, violin; Staatskapelle Berlin / Daniel Barenboim

Monday 17 July  – Prom 5
Sibelius: Symphony No. 7
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2
Shostakovich: S
ymphony No. 10
Behzod Abduraimov, piano; BBC National Orchestra of Wales  / Thomas Søndergård

Tuesday 18 July – Prom 6
Shostakovich: October; Violin Concerto No. 1
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2
Nicola Benedetti, violin; BBC National Orchestra of Wales / Thomas Søndergård

Thursday 10 August – Prom 33
Sibelius: Karelia Suite; Luonnotar
Grieg: Peer Gynt, excerpts
Schumann: C
ello Concerto
Hindemith: S
ymphony ‘Mathis der Maler’
Lise Davidsen, soprano; Alban Gerhardt, cello; BBC Philharmonic / John Storgårds

Tuesday 22 August – Prom 51
Sibelius: Scènes historiques – Suite No. 1
Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor
Elgar/Payne: S
ymphony No. 3
Javier Perianes, piano; BBC Symphony Orchestra / Sakari Oramo

Saturday 9 September – Prom 75 (Last Night)
Wennäkoski: Flounce
Kodály: Budavári Te Deum
Sargent: An Impression on a Windy Day
Sibelius: Finlandia (with choir participation)
Wagner: Tristan and Isolde – Prelude and Liebestod
Adams: Lola Montez Does the Spider Dance
arr. Wood:
Fantasia on British Sea-Songs
Arne, arr. Sargent: Rule, Britannia!
gar: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1
Parry, orch. Elgar: Jerusalem
The National Anthem
Soloists; BBC Singers;
BBC Symphony Chorus; BBC Symphony Orchestra / Sakari Oramo

Sibelius for Chinese President’s wife

Folke Gräsbeck playing Sibelius’s Steinway at Ainola (Photo: © Sibelius One)

The pianist Folke Gräsbeck has given a special Sibelius concert at Ainola for Peng Liyuan, wife of President Xi Jinping of China.

The performance took place on Wednesday 5 April 2017. On Sibelius’s newly renovated Steinway piano, Folke Gräsbeck performed The Solitary Fir Tree, The Birch and The Spruce (from ‘The Trees’, Op. 75), The Columbine from Op. 85, Con passione and Finlandia. The rarity Con passione, JS 53 (1919), was selected because it was composed for the artist Oscar Parviainen, several of whose paintings are at Ainola.

The concert was organized at the instigation of Jenni Haukio, wife of President Sauli Niinistö of Finland, who knew of Peng Liyuan’s great liking for the music of Sibelius.

Peng Liyuan (photo: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence)

Born in Shandong, Peng Liyuan is head of the Chinese Song and Dance Ensemble in the General Political Department of the People’s Liberation Army, and ranked first class in the civil service with the military rank of major general; she is the wife of the current Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The daughter of an opera singer, she gained popularity as a soprano from her regular appearances on the annual CCTV New Year’s Gala, and has won many honours in singing competitions nationwide. She was the first in China to obtain a Master’s degree in traditional ethnic music. Since 2011 she has also been World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.







Rouvali to the Philharmonia

Santtu-Matias Rouvali (photo: © Kaapo Kamu)

The Philharmonia Orchestra has appointed two principal guest conductors, Santtu-Matias Rouvali and Jakub Hrůša.

Rouvali and Hrůša  take up their roles at the beginning of the 2017/18 Season. Both artists will conduct several concerts a year – and contribute to the programming for the orchestra’s major series.

Santtu-Matias Rouvali (31) has conducted the Philharmonia in concerts across its UK residencies. In his début with the Philharmonia at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in January 2016, Rouvali conducted Sibelius’s Second Symphony.

Rouvali is also chief conductor of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Copenhagen Philharmonic, and takes up the position of chief conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony from the 2017/18 season. With the Gothenburg orchestra he will perform at the Lahti Sibelius Festival in 2017.

Rouvali describes the Philharmonia as ‘a perfectly-shaped orchestra. Its players can pick up any music, are always prepared and technically very skilful. There are so few orchestras around the world who can get close to that. Now I can conduct them: what more could I wish for?’

Rouvali conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra in a sold-out Sunday matinee on Sunday 23 April 2017, performing Holst’s Planets and Elgar’s Cello Concerto, with Alban Gerhardt as soloist.

Click here for a film introducing Finnish conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali, giving his thoughts on joining the Philharmonia.

Source: Philharmonia Orchestra blog






More new releases from Fennica Gehrman


Two further works by Sibelius have been issued in new editions by the publisher Fennica Gehrman.

The edition of the Overture in F minor for brass septet is based on the composer’s manuscripts at the National Library of Finland, and makes the work available for the first time in its original instrumentation. The overture dates from the summer of 1889 and was composed for the brass septet directed by Christian Haupt in Lovisa.
Score and parts: ISBN-13: 9790550113039. Price: € 55.30
Click here to order.

Also released is an orchestral arrangement by Ernest Pingoud of the well-known Op. 75 piano pieces, ‘The Trees’. Ernest Pingoud (1887–1942) was a Finnish composer of Alsatian parentage, known for his colourful orchestral scores; he was a pupil of the Anton Rubinstein, Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov at the St Petersburg Conservatory. The five pieces are among the best-known of Sibelius’s piano works and include Granen (The Spruce), an indispensable part of the repertoire of Finnish pianists.
ISBN-13: 9790550113237. Price: € 24.90
Click here to order.


Finland 100 – Chester Philharmonic Orchestra

The Chester Philharmonic Orchestra will perform an all-Sibelius concert at Chester Cathedral on Saturday 29 April 2017 at 7.30 pm to mark the centenary this year of Finland’s independence. The orchestra is proud and honoured to be appointed as an official partner by the Finnish Government in the anniversary celebrations. The participation of the acclaimed Dutch violinist Olivia Doflein and the engagement of the Italian Marco Bellasi as conductor reflect the international emphasis of this event.

The Chester Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1884, is one of the premier non-professional orchestras in north-west England. The orchestra has a large playing membership enabling it to perform most pieces within the symphonic repertoire. The orchestra usually gives four or five concerts a year,  usually in the magnificent setting of Chester’s ancient Cathedral.

Olivia Doflein (1989), originally from the Netherlands, moved to London in 2009 to study at the Royal College of Music. She has won first prizes at several competitions and has participated in masterclasses with Zakhar Bron, Shlomo Mintz, Gordan Nicolic, Alina Ibragimova and Pavel Vernikov. She made her professional solo débuts in the UK and Germany in the 2014–15 season. She has since performed regularly as a soloist throughout the UK and the Netherlands. She is an enthusiastic chamber musician who has performed at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Muziekgebouw Frits Philips Eindhoven, Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall.

Prize-winning conductor Marco Bellasi has worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Hallé Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra and Ensemble 10/10, the official chamber orchestra of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. He graduated in conducting from the Milan  Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in 2007. His conducting début was in Milan with a fully staged production of Puccini’s La Bohème. His repertoire includes symphonic, opera and contemporary music.

Chester Philharmonic Orchestra
Marco Bellasi, conductor
Olivia Doflein, violin
Chester Cathedral, Saturday 29 April 2017 at 7.30 p.m.
Sibelius: Finlandia
Sibelius: Violin Concerto
Sibelius: Symphony No. 5
Ticket information: click here.