Tag Archives: Lahti Symphony Orchestra

Lahti International Sibelius Festival 2019

Dima Slobodeniouk and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra at the 2018 Sibelius Festival. Photo: © Maarit Kytöharju

Karita Mattila and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra will be among the guests at the Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s 20th International Sibelius Festival, which will take place on 5–8 September 2019, with most events taking place at the Sibelius Hall. The thematic concepts for this jubilee festival are songs and stories, and the festival’s artistic director is Dima Slobodeniouk, principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra will perform on Thursday 5 September and Saturday 7 September under Slobodeniouk’s baton. The Saturday orchestral concert stars soprano Karita Mattila. One of Finland’s most successful artists, Mattila will interpret a selection of Sibelius’s songs, and among the purely orchestral works in the concert is the tone poem En saga. At the festival’s opening concert on Thursday the orchestra will perform Kullervo, with soloists mezzo-soprano Marjukka Tepponen and baritone Tommi Hakala and the Polytech Choir.

Guests at this jubilee festival are the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. This orchestra, with its impressive history of Sibelius performances, will perform at the evening orchestral concert on Friday 6 September under the renowned Danish conductor Thomas Dausgaard. This is the orchestra that premièred Sibelius’s Seventh Symphony in Stockholm in 1924 under the baton of the composer, and Sibelius conducted the orchestra on seven occasions in total. At this concert we shall hear the composer’s Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Symphonies. The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s appearance at the Sibelius Festival is made possible by financial support from the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation.

As an innovation at this year’s festival, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra will also perform a concert named ‘Dive into the Orchestra’, where the audience can experience the music while sitting within the orchestra itself. This will take place in the Forest Hall at the Sibelius Hall on the afternoon of Friday 6 September, and is by Dima Slobodeniouk.

In addition to the orchestral concerts, the festival’s programme again includes chamber music and other Sibelius-themed events.

On the afternoon of Friday 6 September there is a lecture concert in the Kalevi Aho Hall at the Lahti Music Institute given by the pianist Folke Gräsbeck, one of the world’s foremost Sibelius experts. Among the topics Gräsbeck will discuss and illustrate with music is the story of Sibelius’s Eighth Symphony.

The Saturday afternoon concert in the Felix Krohn Hall of the Lahti Concert Hall features the cellist Jonathan Roozeman and the pianist Ossi Tanner. Both of these young performers have been artists-in-residence with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

The Sunday morning concert that concludes the festival features Sibelius’s choral and organ music. The Dominante choir is conducted by Seppo Murto, who also plays the organ. Folke Gräsbeck also participates.

The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1902, performs regularly at prestigious concert halls all over the world, and has made many acclaimed and award-winning recordings. The highly respected magazine Die Welt has called it one of the best orchestras in the world. Since 2008 the orchestra’s chief conductor and artistic adviser has been Sakari Oramo. The orchestra is also well-known for its annual performances at the Nobel Prize ceremonies. It gave the first performance of Jean Sibelius’s Seventh Symphony in Stockholm in March 1924, and in all Sibelius conducted the orchestra on seven occasions.

The Danish conductor Thomas Dausgaard (b. 1963) has been principal conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Swedish Chamber Orchestra, and in the autumn of 2019 he takes up the post of musical director of the Seattle Symphony. Dausgaard makes regular guest appearances all over the world conducting orchestras such as the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He is also known for his Sibelius interpretations: for example, in the Sibelius jubilee year 2015 he played all seven symphonies with the Seattle Symphony, and in May 2018 he performed Kullervo there for the first time in the orchestra’s history. He has also recorded Sibelius’s music for violin and orchestra with the violinist Christian Tetzlaff and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra for Virgin Classics.

Sibelius One will organize a group visit to the festival for current members, who will benefit from discounted ticket prices. To join Sibelius One and gain this benefit, click here.

For programmes and information on our group visit, click here.

Source: Lahti Symphony Orchestra press release

Sibelius Première in Lahti

Luukas Hiltunen outside the Sibelius Hall in Lahti. Photo: © Sibelius One

The world première performance of a new arrangement by Lahti music student Luukas Hiltunen of Sibelius’s Intrada for organ, Op. 111a (1925), was given as an encore on the last night of the 2018 Sibelius Festival in Lahti (8 September 2018).

This sonorous and well-received arrangement was scored for full symphony orchestra (without percussion), and is dedicated to its performers, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and conductor Dima Slobodeniouk.

Luukas Hiltunen has also made an arrangement of the companion organ piece, Surusoitto (Funeral Music).

Further information will be published in the January 2019 issue of Sibelius One’s magazine.

Lahti Sibelius Festival 2018

Lahti Symphony Orchestra / Dima Slobodeniouk. Photo: © Lahti SO/Juha Tanhua

Programmes and artists – including a guest orchestra and conductor – have been announced for the 2018 Lahti Sibelius Festival.

For more information about the music and about Sibelius One’s group visit to the festival, click here.


Lahti Sibelius Festival 2017 – Update

Lahti Symphony Orchestra in the Sibelius Hall (photo: © Juha Tanhua)
Lahti Symphony Orchestra in the Sibelius Hall (photo: © Juha Tanhua)

Programmes have now been announced for the 2017 Sibelius Festival in Lahti.

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s 18th International Sibelius Festival will take place at the Sibelius Hall from 30 August until 3 September 2017, and its artistic director is Dima Slobodeniouk, principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. There will also be a guest appearance by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali as well as chamber concerts and other events. This year’s theme is the centenary of Finland’s independence. The festival is also part of the national ‘Finland 100’ programme of events.

Click here to see the programme information and to find out about Sibelius One’s group visit to the festival.

Lahti Symphony Orchestra: www.sinfonialahti.fi

Click here to download the official  brochure



Gothenburg in Lahti

The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Santtu-Matias Rouvali
The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Santtu-Matias Rouvali (Photo: © Ola Kjelbye Fotografi AB)

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra has invited the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra to perform at the concert in the Sibelius Hall on Friday 1 September 2017 as part of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s 18th International Sibelius Festival. The GSO will be conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali, the rising star conductor, originally from Lahti, who takes over as principal conductor in Gothenburg in autumn and will bring his new orchestra to his home town right away. It will be the first foreign visit by Rouvali together with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (the National Orchestra of Sweden).

Santtu-Matias Rouvali (photo: © Kaapo Kamu)

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s 18th International Sibelius Festival will take place at the Sibelius Hall from 30 August until 3 September 2017, and its artistic director is Dima Slobodeniouk, principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. In addition to the concert by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, there will be three concerts by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra under Slobodeniouk’s baton (Wednesday 30 August, Thursday 31 August and Saturday 2 September), as well as chamber concerts and other events. The theme of the programmes of music by Sibelius is the centenary of Finland’s independence, and the orchestral concerts will include, among other works, the Second and Fifth Symphonies, Spring Song, En saga, The Wood-Nymph and the Press Celebrations Music; further details of the repertoire will be announced shortly. The festival is also part of the national ‘Finland 100’ programme of events.

Click here for information about Sibelius One’s group visit to the Sibelius Festival 2017.

Dima Slobodeniouk, artistic director of the Sibelius festival, regards the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra’s visit as a landmark in the festival’s history: ‘One of Sibelius’s most important champions outside Finland was the composer and conductor Wilhelm Stenhammar, who was principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra from 1907 until 1922. When we speak of Finland’s independence, we should remember that the year 1917 marks an important phase in Sibelius’s life as well, when knowledge of his music was spreading rapidly internationally, and the Gothenburg orchestra played an important part in this’.

Sten Cranner, general manager and artistic director of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, says that the orchestra is genuinely honoured by and grateful for the invitation to perform at the Lahti Sibelius Festival in 2017. ‘Most of all because Jean Sibelius is so important for the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra’s repertoire, history and identity, but it’s certainly also very special for us in that we will make a guest appearance at the festival for the first time in Finland’s anniversary year. This will also be our very first concert outside Sweden with our new chief conductor, Santtu-Matias Rouvali.’


The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, one of Europe’s most highly renowned symphony orchestras, was founded in 1905. The orchestra played Sibelius’s music for the first time in 1907, performing the Second Symphony under the baton of Armas Järnefelt. In the decades that followed, the Second Symphony featured on the orchestra’s programmes so often that it became an unofficial calling card.

In February 1911 Sibelius conducted his own music in Sweden for the first time, with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (in works including Pohjola’s Daughter and the Third Symphony), and in 1915 Sibelius’s only wartime trip abroad took him to Sweden, where he conducted his own music in Gothenburg. He visited Gothenburg again to conduct his own works in 1923, and dedicated his Sixth Symphony – completed that year – to Stenhammar. When Stenhammar died in 1927, Sibelius wrote: ‘In all my life I have never met such a noble and idealistic person as Wilhelm Stenhammar. I am proud that I could count myself among his friends. He meant so much to my art! How infinitely empty it feels now that he is no longer with us.

The orchestra’s strong Sibelius tradition continued even after Stenhammar’s time, for example with the conductor Neeme Järvi, who recorded two cycles of Sibelius symphonies in Gothenburg (for BIS and Deutsche Grammophon). Among the BIS Sibelius recordings are also numerous world premières, for instance of the opera The Maiden in the Tower, the Overtures in A minor and E major, Ballet Scene and Academic March.

Source: Lahti Symphony Orchestra press release









Lahti Sibelius Festival 2016 review

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Dima Slobodeniouk at the 2016 Sibelius FEstival (photo: © Lahti SO)
The Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Dima Slobodeniouk at the 2016 Sibelius Festival (photo: © Lahti SO)

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s Sibelius Festival 2016 marked the beginning of a new era: the start of Dima Slobodeniouk’s tenure as principal conductor of the orchestra and artistic director of the festival.

The festival is now in its seventeenth year and took place on 8–11 September. For listeners it marked a leap into the unknown…

Read the full review: click here.


Dima Slobodeniouk to be principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra

Dima Slobodeniouk (photo: © Marco Borggreve)
Dima Slobodeniouk (photo: © Marco Borggreve)

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.

Further information: Teemu Kirjonen / General Manager, Lahti Symphony Orchestra
tel. 00358 3 814 4452

Source: Lahti Symphony Orchestra, press release


‘A total goose-pimple extravaganza’

Osmo Väkskä and John Davis in Lahti, 2005
Osmo Vänskä and John Davis in Lahti, 2005

At the end of 2014 I was approached by the management of BBC Radio 3 to kick off their forthcoming contributions to the 150th anniversary of Jean Sibelius. On Thursday 1st January, at around 8.10 am, I was interviewed by Clemency Burton-Hill and asked to introduce my personal pièce de resistance, the Nocturne from the King Christian II Suite, and to explain my adoration of this magnificent work. I said that it contained a big memorable tune, that the orchestration was outstanding, i.e. cantabile strings, woodwind in pairs (cf. for instance the start of the second movement of the Violin Concerto) and brass-orientated climaxes; in other words for me it’s ‘a total goose-pimple extravaganza’ (Clemency loved that expression). I particularly wanted them to use the recording by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä, as I had experienced them performing it ‘live’ at the 2003 Lahti Sibelius Festival. On top of that, I’d spoken at length to Osmo Vänskä about the merits of this glorious work overall the next day.

This can be found on the BBC Radio 3 website until 28th January 2015 – follow this link, and it starts around 01:40:40.

I wish all readers a wonderful 2015 and cannot wait to meet up with many of you for the ‘big one’ this year in Lahti.

John J. Davis
President, Sibelius One