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On Stage

okko kanu

Celebrating Sibelius in his city of birth

Okko Kamu paired the composer’s darkest and most introspective symphony with his most valedictory.  The Sinfonia Lahti has probably done more for Sibelius’ recorded legacy than any other orchestra in the world. The orchestra also hosts the annual Lahti Sibelius Festival, which is one of the main highlights of the Finnish summer concert season. It seems only appropriate that during Sibelius’ 150th anniversary year the orchestra presents a complete symphony cycle ...
Nicolas Hodges 4 (c) Marco Borggreve

Finnish premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Second Piano Concerto

Nicolas Hodges brought a degree of refinement and grace to Lindberg's often percussive writing. Magnus Lindberg's tenure as composer-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic resulted in several new works, including his second piano concerto. Dedicated to Yefim Bronfman, the concerto was clearly conceived with Bronfman's imposing virtuosity in mind. Similar to the other works from Lindberg's New York tenure, the second piano concerto radiates with both exuberance and joy. One of the ...
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Isin Metin To Conduct 2015 Gala Concert With The Bilkent Symphony

The ICMA Gala Concert on March 28 in the magnificent Bilkent Hall in Ankara, Turkey, will be conducted by Isin Metin. He is conducting all the pieces with soloists. Three guest conductors, Dmitrij Kitajenko, Adam Fischer and Alexander Liebreich will also be part of the program.The Bilkent Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1993 as a unique artistic project of Bilkent University. Developed and managed by the Faculty of Music and ...
Osmo Vanska - credit Kaapo Kamu

Osmo Vänskä returns to the Helsinki Phil in an all-Prokofiev program

Over a decade has passed since Osmo Vänskä last appearance with the Helsinki Philharmonic. On this evening's concert, Vänskä conducted the Helsinki Philharmonic in a program of Prokofiev favorites. Osmo Vänskä began his career as an orchestral clarinetist, and served for several seasons as principal clarinet in the Helsinki Philharmonic. Since then, Vänskä has achieved fame as a conductor, particularly for his interpretations of Sibelius. Although Vänskä has returned to Helsinki ...
Sakari Markus Oramo OBE

Patricia Kopatchinskaja plays Bartók with the Finnish RSO

Oramo's Helsinki appearances as guest conductor are eagerly anticipated and watching Kopatchinskaja's energetic and fearless playing is a visceral experience. In the case of Sakari Oramo and the Finnish RSO, it seems that absence truly makes the heart grow fonder. Since the conclusion of his tenure with the Finnish RSO in 2012, Oramo's Helsinki appearances as guest conductor have been eagerly anticipated. On this evening's performance, Oramo led his former band ...
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John Storgårds and the Helsinki Philharmonic open the Sibelius anniversary year

As an appropriate conclusion to his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic, John Storgårds will perform a complete cycle of the symphonies throughout 2015. This evening's program featured Sibelius' Symphony No. 1, along with works from Stravinsky and Martinsson. The Finnish musical world will be celebrating Sibelius in many ways in 2015, and performances of his symphonies will feature prominently in the schedules of most of the major Finnish orchestras. Although ...
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Barnabás Kelemen plays Bartók with the Helsinki Philharmonic

One of the most notable qualities of Bartók's work as a composer is his successful integration of traditional folk musics into a conventional Western classical music aesthetic. In this evening's performance, Bartók specialist Barnabás Keleman eloquently demonstrated these two sides in a selection of his countryman's music for violin and orchestra. Shostakovich's enigmatic Symphony No. 6 rounded out the program. The first half of the program featured two of Bartók's works for violin ...
Exceptionnelle Susanna Mälkki

Susanna Mälkki conducts Saariaho with the Finnish RSO

Susanna Mälkki is currently the Chief Conductor designate of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, taking over from John Storgårds in autumn 2016. Based on the two sold-out performances of this program, music lovers in Helsinki might just be feeling a sense of eager anticipation around Mälkki these days. Mälkki's talents as a conductor were immediately apparent in the opening work, Debussy's Gigues. Rather than presenting Debussy's music as an impressionistic "wash" of sound, Mälkki's ...
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Saraste conducts the Helsinki Philharmonic in Dutilleux

Jukka-Pekka Saraste's continued advocacy for Henri Dutilleux has ensured that the French master's orchestral works receive regular performances by both the main Helsinki orchestras. This evening's concert featured Dutilleux's Métaboles, one of the composer's more frequently performed pieces, followed by works from Saint-Saëns and Bartók. This evening's performance of Métaboles benefited from Saraste's typical attention to detail and balance. While Saraste's conducting seemed particularly deliberate, the music never came across as pedantic ...
pekka kuusisto

Pekka Kuusisto’s guide to the Finnish violin, and more

Finnish violin music is undoubtedly dominated by the masterful Violin Concerto of Sibelius, one of the most performed and recorded concertos for the instrument. However, the violin also plays a very important role in traditional Finnish folk music, in particular the music played by fiddlers known as Pelimanni. In this evening's program, Pekka Kuusisto continued his close artistic collaboration with the Tapiola Sinfonietta, exploring the Finnish violin from these two perspectives.  The ...

ICMA 2015 : Save the Danish National Chamber Orchestra !

The Jury of the International Classical Music Awards has given the Award in the category Best Collection to the outstanding recording of the Mozart Symphonies with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Ádám Fischer, published by Dacapo. Jury president Remy Franck says: "These recordings show both the invigorating interpretation of Adam Fischer and the superb playing of the orchestra. The box is a magnificent, quite irresistibly enjoyable ...
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Salonen’s Karawane at the Finnish Independence Day Concert

It should come as no surprise that the Helsinki orchestras are fervent supporters of Finnish composers, but this advocacy is usually taken a step further with the annual Finnish Independence Day concert. Although Sibelius almost always makes an appearance, these concerts also showcase other Finnish composers, from the internationally known to those less frequently performed. The program opened with an extended tone poem composed by the Finnish jazz legend Heikki Sarmanto. ...
Hillborg

Closing concert of the Anders Hillborg festival

One of the highlights of the Stockholm concert season is the annual composer festival organized by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and the Stockholm Concert Hall. Each year's festival offers a series of concerts which focus almost exclusively on a single composer, giving audiences a unique opportunity to be fully immersed in the composer's universe. In its nearly 30 years of existence, the festival has featured some of the greatest composers ...
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ICMA Nomination List 2015 Is Available

The ICMA nomination list for 2015 is available. For the 2015 awards the Jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) has nominated 248 audio and video productions from 85 labels. The final result with the winners will be published January 20, 2015. The Award Ceremony and Gala concert will take place March 28 in Ankara, Turkey, with the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra conducted by Isin Metin
Julian Steckel cello

All-Russian evening with the Helsinki Philharmonic

Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 is firmly established in the core repertoire of just about every cellist on the international circuit, and performances of this work are sufficiently frequent that one might take this masterpiece for granted. Perhaps this is the case, but it is likely that this work does strike at least some fear in the hearts of most cellists. Shostakovich demands near superhuman technical prowess and almost non-stop ...
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The Helsinki Philharmonic Choir celebrates Schnittke

The Russian composer Alfred Schnittke would have turned 80 this year, and several Helsinki-based musicians and ensembles have quietly acknowledged this anniversary. On this evening's concert, the Helsinki Philharmonic Choir performed Schnittke's Three Sacred Hymns and Requiem. The Three Sacred Hymns were apparently written in the course of a single evening after repeated requests from the conductor Valery Polyansky for a choral work. The music is clearly at home in ...
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Andrew Litton conducts all-Russian program with the Tampere Philharmonic

The American conductor Andrew Litton is known in the Nordic orchestral world through his work in Bergen, although he has not been engaged by the major Finnish orchestras, at least in recent years. This evening's program opened with Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmila overture, the only light-hearted work on a mostly somber program. Immediately noticeable from the outset was the precision of the Tampere strings, who handled the vigorous opening with both ...
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Strauss’ Olympic Hymn with the Helsinki Philharmonic

Although Richard Strauss' reputation is firmly established in both the concert hall and the opera house, only a handful of the large number of works he wrote for orchestra are regularly performed. While it is debatable that Strauss' lesser-performed orchestral works are inferior to his more popular ones, it is nevertheless worthwhile for his neglected works to be performed at least occasionally. Such was the case with this evening's performance ...
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Aura Go explores four generations of Finnish piano music

Ever since Sibelius, the music of Finnish composers has been a constant presence in orchestral concerts worldwide. Sibelius, Rautavaara, Lindberg, and Salonen are all acknowledged for their mastery of the orchestra, but relatively little attention is given the rich and varied output for piano that these composers also wrote. In this program, the Australian pianist Aura Go continued her series of recitals focusing on the piano music of Rautavaara, while visiting ...
Jörg Widmann composer clarinettistPhoto: Marco Borggreve

The Radio Filharmonisch Orkest explores Maderna, Castiglioni, and Widmann

The sound worlds of Maderna, Castiglioni and Widmann at the Concertgebouw. The Dutch radio orchestras have had a difficult recent history. In 2010, the Dutch government threatened to completely defund the Radio Filhamonisch Orkest's (RFO) parent organization. While funding has since been partially restored, the RFO's chamber orchestra counterpart, the Radio Kamer Filharmonie, was recently disbanded. Under these demoralizing circumstances it was both impressive and heartening to see that the RFO ...
lintu

Finnish RSO season opening concert

Hannu Lintu has enjoyed a long relationship with the Finnish RSO and this collaboration became a commitment during the 2013-2014 season, when Lintu became Chief Conductor of this ensemble. In this program, Lintu began his second full season in this capacity with a varied program of early 20th and 21st-century works. The program began with Sibelius' Symphony No. 5, a work familiar to Helsinki audiences. The opening chorale under Lintu's direction ...
susanna malkki

Karita Mattila sings Schönberg at the Helsinki Festival

The second program of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra at this year's Helsinki Festival was focused on Vienna: Mahler's final symphony. Guest conductor Susanna Mälkki provided three contrasting views on this theme, with the music of Mahler, Busoni, and Schönberg. Mahler's Symphony No. 10 was left unfinished at the time of the composer's death. The Adagio movement is considered to be the only performable movement written entirely by the composer. Despite ...
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Sibelius Academy Summer Young Talent Series: Elisa Rusi-Matero, violin

One of reasons why classical music continues to thrive in Finland is due to the steady stream of extraordinarily talented musicians trained at the Sibelius Academy. The Summer Young Talent Series provides these musicians a public forum for their artistry, which is particularly welcome during the relatively quiet Helsinki summer concert season. On this occasion the violinist Elisa Rusi-Matero presented a varied program of mostly 20th and 21st century works. The ...
© Salzburger Festspiele / Silvia Lelli

Philharmonia Orchestra on Tour in Salzburg

One, two, three women; ten, twenty, thirty… No doubt about it, the orchestra entering on the stage of the Grand Hall of the Salzburg was not the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which is still effectively opposed to any form of equality between men and women in its ranks. The Philharmonia, invited for a brief residence of two concerts in Salzburg, is considered a modern orchestra; where the Viennese seem to sort ...
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Peter Oundjian and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the Helsinki Festival

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, despite being one of Canada's flagship ensembles, has had a difficult recent history. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the orchestra struggled with financial difficulties, a musician's strike, poor attendance, and a seeming lack of public sympathy to the orchestra's situation. Some even wondered if the orchestra would survive. The fact that the ensemble has risen from the abyss and is now touring some of Europe's ...
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Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts all-Shostakovich at the Helsinki Festival

The Finnish musical world is rightly proud of its many conductors working on the international circuit, but there seems to be an extra layer of excitement and anticipation whenever Esa-Pekka Salonen is performing in Helsinki. In a YouTube video produced by the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, Salonen calls Orango and the Symphony No. 4 as the "two sides of Shostakovich." Written within a few years of each other, both works display ...
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Sibelius Academy Summer Young Talent Series: Pinja Laine, cello

2014 marks the 80th birthday year of the great Russian composer Alfred Schnittke. Although Schnittke's first cello sonata and first cello concerto are starting to enter the repertoire, most of Schnittke's output featuring the cello is infrequently performed. The young cellist Pinja Laine has commemorated this major Schnittke year by performing his rarely-heard Sonata No. 2 for Cello and Piano, along with his more popular Suite in the Old Style. ...
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Award winners at the Verbier Festival

The Verbier Festival hosted two laureates of the 2014 International Classical Music Awards-- the conductor, Charles Dutoit, and the violinist, Daniel Hope. Charles Dutoit (Lifetime Achievement Award), conducted the Verbier Festival Orchestra in two concerts. In the first, the orchestra accompanied the legendary Martha Argerich in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. A few days later, maestro Dutoit led a concert performance of the Damnation of Faust by Hector Berlioz. During these ...
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Young talent at the Helsinki Chamber Summer

Now in its tenth year, the Kamarikesä Festival (Helsinki Chamber Summer) was founded to serve as a platform for young and talented Finnish musicians to showcase their artistry in a formal concert setting. The first half of the opening program was focused on the cello, featuring the finalists from Finland's national cello competition. Two well-known works for cello ensemble from Villa-Lobos, as well as a more recent work from the Finnish ...
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Chantier Woyzeck Revisited

The title of Aurélien Dumont's opera, Chantier Woyzeck, which premiered at the Théâtre Jean-Vilar in Vitry-sur-Seine, has a triple meaning. First, it describes the setting: a neighborhood under reconstruction, a cité (housing development) being demolished, where the twelve characters, who comprise a community without normality or humanity, live on a piece of wasteland nicknamed “the plateau” because it overlooks the city. Chantier Woyzeck can also describe the state in which George ...
 

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