To mark Kalevala Day (Finnish Culture Day, 28 February), we have added a new text about Sibelius’s symphonic fantasia Pohjola’s Daughter to our library of articles about Sibelius’s music. Click here for the article.
To access this and other articles in the same series, please use your membership log-in. To become a member, click here.
The Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s 17th International Sibelius Festival will take place at the Sibelius Hall in Lahti on 8th–11th September 2016. The three orchestral concerts will be conducted by the orchestra’s chief conductor and the festival’s new artistic director, Dima Slobodeniouk.
Sibelius One will be organizing a group booking for the 2016 Sibelius Festival, for hotel accommodation and concert tickets. We should like to invite members to make provisional bookings now for this year’s festival. Please send your details to email@example.com. In particular it is important to let us know which nights
you will require a hotel room.
‘For the orchestral concerts at the 2016 Sibelius Festival I have chosen works from different periods that, I feel, speak to each other’, says Dima Slobodeniouk. ‘One of the programmes consists of works that Sibelius composed in successive years: Pelléas et Mélisande in 1905, Pan and Echo in 1906 and the Third Symphony in 1907. I feel that there is such a clear thread that unites them all that I could not fail to play them in proximity to each other. In the other orchestral programmes I have aimed both for contrasts and for musical affinities.’
The London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vänskä will perform a complete cycle of Sibelius symphonies at London’s Royal Festival Hall in October 2016.
The music will be spread over four concerts what will also include the Karelia Suite and The Oceanides and important British music for string soloists and orchestra.
Music director of the Minnesota Orchestra since 2003, Osmo Vänskä is widely recognized for his compelling interpretations of the standard, contemporary and Nordic repertoires . He gained distinction with his landmark Sibelius cycle with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra – described by Gramophone as ‘the finest survey of the past three decades’, and in 2014 his Minnesota recording of Sibelius’s First and Fourth Symphonies won a Grammy award.
Wednesday 19 October, 7.30 pm: Pride and passion Sibelius: Karelia Suite
Britten: Violin Concerto (Simone Lamsma, violin)
Sibelius: Symphony No. 1
The Docklands Sinfonia conducted by Spencer Down will celebrate the 150th annivesary of Sibelius’s birth with a concert at St Anne’s, Limehouse, Three Colt Street, London, featuring the Karelia Suite and Lemminkäinen, on Friday 4th December at 7.30 pm.
The renowned author and illustrator James Mayhew will bring a special touch to the concert with live illustrations of the stories behind the music as the orchestra plays.
Docklands Sinfonia will also continue its strong track record of promoting new music with the world première of Michael Heath’s Cello Concerto, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Gregory Walmsley.
Jean Sibelius: Karelia Suite
Michael Heath: Cello Concerto (world première)
Jean Sibelius: Lemminkäinen Docklands Sinfonia Spencer Down conductor Gregory Walmsley cello James Mayhew illustrator
Docklands Sinfonia is young and pioneering orchestra which has become a major cultural force in the Docklands – bringing high quality music to the area, staging ground-breaking concerts and creating a lasting legacy by inspiring generations of young people. Since its formation in 2009, Docklands Sinfonia has enjoyed incredible success with performances for the Queen at Buckingham Palace and with Grammy-award winner Imogen Heap at the Royal Albert Hall. It has appeared on the BBC Radio 3 and BBC1.
The orchestra has recorded albums for leading artists such as Katie Melua and has performed with world-renowned classical artists such as Alison Balsom, Leonard Elschenbroich and Elin Manahan-Thomas as well as the English National Ballet, Royal Opera House and National Youth Theatre. Docklands Sinfonia aims to promote young musicians through commissioning new works and is committed to inspiring future generations of young people by introducing them to the joy of live orchestral music.
Spencer Down is the driving force behind Docklands Sinfonia. He has been orchestral director for high-profile events including a concert for the Queen in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace and the world premiere of Grammy award-winning singer Imogen Heap’s ‘Love the Earth’ at the Royal Albert Hall. He has worked with artists from leading organizations including the English National Ballet, Royal Opera House, London Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and is brass co-ordinator and assistant conductor at the Junior Guildhall.
Where and when Friday 4th December at 7.30 pm. St Anne’s, Limehouse, Three Colt Street, London E14 7HP
Tickets: £10 (Concessions) £12 (Advanced) £15 (On the door) – click here to book tickets.
Dima Slobodeniouk has been appointed as principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, starting in the autumn of 2016. Slobodeniouk will also be artistic director of the orchestra’s annual Sibelius Festival. The City Board of the Lahti Municipality Association made the appointment at a meeting on 17th August 2015. Slobodeniouk’s contract will run until the spring season of 2019.
Slobodeniouk remarks: ‘When people ask me whether I have always wanted to be a conductor, more and more often my answer is: No, I have not. Despite me, growing up in a family of orchestra musicians, I simply had no idea what it is like to be a conductor. Today, when the fact of me taking over a position of Music Director of Lahti Symphony Orchestra becomes a reality, I once again realise, that being a conductor is what I want and what I live for.’
Slobodeniouk sees the forthcoming collaboration as a wonderful chance to develop musical relationships with the orchestra and audiences both in Lahti and internationally. ‘I was lucky enough to be able to build and maintain a very open and fruitful relationship with Lahti Symphony Orchestra ever since I first conducted them in 2001 replacing Leif Segerstam. Today – this is a big honour and a challenge for me to create something new on the foundation of a great orchestra tradition in Lahti’, says Slobodeniouk. ‘I believe and hope, that with our music making we can influence people’s lives regardless of their age or social background. The unique thing about classical music is the fact that it does not have to be verbalised or explained. That way it can reach and touch anyone.’
Teemu Kirjonen, General Manager of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, says: ‘After the triumphant chief conductorships of Vänskä, Saraste and Kamu, we are looking forward to our time with Slobodeniouk with great enthusiasm. On the basis of what the orchestra has already achieved with him in the past few years, we may expect great things in the future.’ Slobodeniouk already enjoys a major international career and, Kirjonen believes, having him as chief conductor will be an excellent springboard for the further development of the orchestra’s artistic level, and for the continuation of its touring and recording activities.
Petri Komulainen, chairman of the committee representing the players in the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, says that he is very proud and excited at the new appointment, and describes the orchestra as being on the threshold of a new era. ‘Slobodeniouk has close ties to Finland, combined with an international career that is very much on the up. I’m convinced that he will manage to bring a new, energetic perspective to the orchestra’s work, and that his performances will appeal to an ever wider audience.’
Moscow-born Dima Slobodeniouk has made Finland his home for over two decades. A former student at Helsinki’s prestigious Sibelius Academy, he began his conducting studies in 1994 under the tutelage of Leif Segerstam and Jorma Panula. Currently music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, he is a regular guest conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestras as well as London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris and the Netherlands, RAI Turin and Stuttgart Radio Philharmonic Orchestras. Slobodeniouk collaborates with many of today’s composers, among them Kalevi Aho, Sebastian Fagerlund, Jörg Widmann and Lotta Wennäkoski.