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‘decades of international activity in  concert and historical-musicological research, reassessing and revising unpublished materials by Jean Sibelius: a generous commitment that has contributed to the cataloguing and dissemination of a body of work that is fundamental for the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.

Concert Overture by Sibelius rediscovered

Newpaper reviews of the concert overture from ‘The Maiden in the Tower’

Fennica Gehrman has signed a publishing agreement for a concert overture by Sibelius. Based on material found in the manuscript of the opera Jungfrun i tornet (The Maiden in the Tower), it was discovered by the conductor Tuomas Hannikainen, following references made by Sibelius himself. A significant work that, according to Hannikainen, stands up well on its own, it lasts 11–12 minutes and was conducted by Sibelius at concerts of his works at the Fire Brigade Hall in Turku on 7 April 1900, and the next day at the Old Academy Hall in the same city. The reviewer of Uusi Aura called the piece a ‘ballad’ that ‘attracted much attention’; his colleague in Åbo Underrättelser mentioned that the piece had not been performed in Turku before, and was received with ‘sympathetic applause’, though conceding that it was somewhat overshadowed by the suite from King Christian II. The score of the overture is scheduled for publication in autumn 2019.

Previously it has been assumed that the overture performed in Turku was just the orchestral introduction to the opera, some three minutes of music that lack an effective concert ending. When examining the original manuscript, however, Hannikainen became curious about some markings and changes, apparently in Sibelius’s handwriting. Through extensive research into the manuscript and other sources he was able to reconstruct the longer overture, i.e. the Concert Overture.

Sibelius Festival Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera – update August 2019

The fifth Sibelius Festival Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera in Italy will take place from 27 September until 13 October 2019. Its artistic director is Federico Ermirio.

Artists performing include the Myrsky String Ensemble, Andrea Carcano, Giovanni Alvino and Folke Gräsbeck (piano), Eva Alkula and Jenny Vartiainen (kantele), Irene Cerboncini (soprano) and the Symphony Orchestra of La Spezia Conservatory conducted by Giovanni Di Stefano.

Some changes have been made to concert venues as a consequence of the Municipality of Zoagli having been placed under temporary receivership. The revised schedule of concerts and events is given below: