Tag Archives: Sibelius Festival

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

Fourth Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera

The fourth Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio e Riviera in Italy will run from 22 September until 14 October 2018. The programme of lectures and concerts is organized under the artistic direction of composer Federico Ermirio. Below is a list of dates and times for the events at the festival.

22 September, 5pm, Spazio Aperto, Santa Margherita
Speaker: Federico Ermirio

28 September, 9pm, Villa Durazzo, Santa Margherita
Opening concert – Myrsky Ensemble / Folke Gräsbeck, piano
Grieg / Sibelius / Mattson / Elgar

29 September, 9pm, Auditorium San Francesco, Chiavari
Folke Gräsbeck, piano
Sibelius / Merikanto / Nielsen / Alfvén / Leifs / Nystedt

30 September, 11.30am matinée, Grand Hotel Miramare, Santa Margherita
Folke Gräsbeck, piano
Sibelius / Busoni / Sinding

30 September, 9pm, San Martino Church, Zoagli
Myrsky Ensemble
Ravel / Milhaud / Sibelius / von Dohnányi

5 October, 5pm, Spazio Aperto, Santa Margherita
Speaker: Paola De Ferrari
‘I Molfino: collezioni e dispersioni fra Settecento e Ottocento’

5 October, 9pm, Villa Durazzo, Santa Margherita
E. Lasorla, tenor; M. Cesarale, piano
Sibelius / Merikanto / Kuula / Gothoni / Alfvén / Rangström

6 October, 9pm, San Siro Church, Santa Margherita
Jugend-Sinfonieorchester Aargau; Hugo Bollschweiler, conductor
Mendelssohn / Szpilman / Sibelius

7 October, 11.30am matinée, Grand Hotel Miramare, Santa Margherita
S. Braun, soprano; A. Hinrichsen, piano
Sibelius / Grieg

7 October, 9pm, San Siro Church, Santa Margherita
Genova Vocal Ensemble; R. Paraninfo, conductor
Sibelius / Grieg / Rautavaara / Nystedt / Pärt / Sisask / Tormis

12 October, 9pm, Villa Durazzo, Santa Margherita
P. Fisher, violin; M. Fingerhut, piano
Sibelius / Delius / Jenkins / Arnold / Elgar

13 October, 6pm, Teatrino Comunale, Portofino
G. Giovannoni & R. Pellegrino, accordions
Sibelius /Kolz / Solotariov / Olkzak / Piazzolla

14 October, 6pm, Auditorium San Francesco, Chiavari
P. Fisher, violin; M. Fingerhut, piano
Sibelius / Delius / Jenkins / Arnold / Elgar

E. & O.E.

Further information: www.sibeliusfestival.com

Lahti Sibelius Festival 2017 Review

Photo: © Lahti SO/Juha Tanhua

The Eighteenth International Lahti Sibelius Festival coincided with the centenary year of Finland’s political independence. In a previous year forty percent of tickets were sold to non-Finnish patrons, so its claim of international status is well justified. As usual concert tickets and hotel accommodation had been arranged at a special price for Sibelius One members. Click here to read the full review by Geoff Hayes.




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









Sibelius i Korpo 2016

The folk museum in Korpo, Finland (photo: © Västgöten / Wikimedia Creative Commons)

The fifteenth ‘Sibelius i Korpo’ festival will take place on 22–24 July 2016.

The programmes feature also music by Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924), in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of his birth. Performers at this years’s festival include:

Satu Jalas, violin
Sebastian Silén, violin
Domenico Ermirio, cello
Hedvig Paulig, soprano
Folke Gräsbeck, piano & artistic director

Provisional concert programmes are as follows:

Friday 22 July 2016 at 9 pm / Korpo gård
Busoni: Andante mit Variationen und Scherzo for piano trio
Sibelius: Florestan, suite for piano
Songs: Skogsrået; Likhet; Jubal
King Christian II, incidental music
Malinconia for cello & piano
Armas Järnefelt: Berceuse

Saturday 23 July 2016 at 6 pm / Korpo gård
Busoni: Kultaselle Variations
J.S. Bach/Busoni: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
Sibelius: Étude for solo violin
Suite in E major for violin & piano
Sonata in F major for violin & piano
Sibelius’s granddaughter Satu Jalas will also make a presentation about her grandfather.

Sunday 24 July 2016 at 4 pm / Korpo gård
Piano Trio in A minor, ‘Hafträsk’
Rondino, Romance, Tanz-Idylle, Humoresque & Valse for violin & piano
Armas Järnefelt: Songs: Titania; Du (Karl Asplund); Leivo; Viel’ ois virttä tieossani
Sibelius: Songs: Jag kysser dig och ledsnar ej; Löjet var utan hem [World Première Performance]; Sommarnatt; Vem styrde hit din väg?
Danses champêtres Nos 1–3 for violin and piano

There will also be the traditional annual ceremony, with music, speeches and flowers, at the Sibelius statue in Korpo village, at 1 pm on Saturday 23 July, with festival organizer Petri Kirkkomäki and Erkki Korhonen from the Sibelius Birth Town Foundation, Hämeenlinna.

On Sunday 24 July at 11 am there will be a screening of Douglas Sivén’s documantary film ‘Sibelius i Korpo’.

Further information will be posted when available.

Ferruccio Busoni (photo: Public Domain)
Ferruccio Busoni (photo: Public Domain)

Works that speak to each other – Lahti Sibelius Festival 2016

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

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. The full programme for the festival – including chamber music concerts and other Sibelius-themed events – will be published later.

Programmes for the 2016 Sibelius Festival’s orchestral concerts

Thursday 8th September 2016
Pohjola’s Daughter
Symphony No. 1

Friday 9th September 2016
The Dryad
The Tempest, concert suite
Symphony No. 4

Saturday 10th September 2016
Pan and Echo
Pelléas et Mélisande
Symphony No. 3

Slobodeniouk: ‘Not everything in music can be – or needs to be – explained’

The conductor Dima Slobodeniouk believes in music in its own right, and in its power as an absolute art form. ‘In my opinion Sibelius’s works prove that not everything in music can be – or needs to be – explained. Of course historical facts can deepen our understanding, but the music itself remains the primus motor’, says Slobodeniouk. ‘For the orchestral concerts at the 2016 Sibelius Festival I have chosen works from different periods that, I feel, speak to each other. 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.’

Sibelius One will be organizing a group booking for the 2016 Sibelius Festival. Details will be announced in due course.


Source: Lahti Symphony Orchestra press release

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


Sibelius Festival at Kew Court House, Melbourne, Australia

Flinders Quartet (photo: © Nicholas Purcell)

The Flinders Quartet (Helen Ayres and Shane Chen, violins; Helen Ireland, viola; Zoe Knighton, cello) is presenting a Sibelius Festival at Kew Court House, Melbourne, Australia. The Quartet has already won acclaim for its Sibelius performances in 2015, and this festival continues its ground-breaking traversal of Sibelius’s string quartet music in a project that is introducing Australian audiences to this extensive body of rarely played music. The Flinders Quartet will also be a distinguished guest at the 2015 ‘Sibelius in Korpo’ festival in the Turku archipelago (17th–19th July).

Saturday 4th July, 3 pm
Quartet E flat major, JS 184
Four Themes
Andante festivo, JS 34a
Quartet A minor, JS 183

Saturday 4th July, 7 pm
Quartet in B flat major, Op. 4
Piano Quintet in G minor, JS 159 (with Stefan Cassomenos, piano)

Sunday 5th July, 1 pm:  In Conversation: Sibelius Himself
Zoe Knighton, Sibelius expert Geoffrey Hayes and raconteur Barry Jones

Sunday 5th July, 3 pm
Molto moderato – Scherzo, JS 134
Adagio in D minor, JS 12
Fugue for Martin Wegelius, JS 85
Quartet in D minor, ‘Voces intimae’, Op. 56

Further information: click here

Lahti Sibelius Festival: Song Recital

Erica Back at the Third International Sibelius Singing Competition (Photo: © Heikki Tuuli)

The programme for the song recital at this year’s Sibelius Festival in Lahti (on Sunday 6th September at 11 am) has been announced.

The recital will be given by the mezzo-soprano Erica Back, second prize winner at this year’s International Sibelius Singing Competition, with the pianist Kristian Attila.

Våren flyktar hastigt [Spring Flies Speedily], Op. 13 No. 4
Se’n har jag ej frågat mera [Since Then I Have Questioned No Further], Op. 17 No. 1
Sov in! [Go to Sleep!], Op. 17 No. 2
Vilse [Astray], Op. 17 No. 4
Lastu lainehilla [Driftwood], Op. 17 No. 7
Im Feld ein Mädchen singt [In the Field a Maid Sings], Op. 50 No. 3
Rosenlied [Song of the Roses], Op. 50 No. 6
Die stille Stadt [The Silent City], Op. 50 No. 5
Aus banger Brust [From Anxious Heart], Op. 50 No. 4
Hertig Magnus [Duke Magnus], Op. 57 No. 6
Soluppgång [Sunrise], Op. 37 No. 3
Lasse Liten [Little Lasse], Op. 37 No. 2
Den första kyssen [The First Kiss], Op. 37 No. 1
Kyssen [The Kiss], Op. 72 No. 3
Bollspelet vid Trianon [Tennis at Trianon], Op. 36 No. 3
Men min fågel märks dock icke [But My Bird is Long in Homing], Op. 36 No. 2
Demanten på marssnön [The Diamond on the March Snow], Op. 36 No. 6
Säv, säv, susa [Sigh, Sigh, Sedges], Op. 36 No. 4
Narciss [Narcissus], JS 140

The programme will also include two piano solo pieces:
Björken [The Birch], Op. 75 No. 4
Granen [The Spruce], Op. 75 No. 5

Further information: click here


Sibelius Festival – Golfo del Tigullio 2015


The Golfo del Tigullio Sibelius Festival in Italy in October 2015 now has its own website – click here.

The site contains information about concert programmes, the musicians who will be performing and the concert venues as well as general information about the festival’s aims and press information.

The festival’s artistic director is the composer, conductor and musicologist Federico Ermirio and the programmes include lesser-known music by Sibelius (including his compositions for kantele) as well as more familiar works (e.g. Rakastava,  Romance in C major) and pieces by other, predominantly Nordic composers (e.g. Edvard Grieg,  Aulis Sallinen, Jukka Tiensuu).