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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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Preparing for takeoff: The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

"Let’s not do a celebration, but let’s do the celebration of Sibelius and Nielsen - the largest in the world" ResMusica: How did your relationship with the RSPO begin, and how did it evolve to you becoming the music director of this ensemble? Sakari Oramo: It’s been around twenty years since I conducted the orchestra for the first time, so we have quite a long history together. For about three seasons during the mid-1990s I conducted the ...
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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 ...
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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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ICMA 2015 – The winners

The Jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) announced today the Awards for 2015. Conductor Dmitrij Kitajenko, 74, is honored with our Lifetime Achievement Award. Violinist Christian Tetzlaff is Artist of the Year, young violinist Yury Revich and Belgian soprano Jodie Devos are ICMA’s Young Artists of the Year. Leipzig based Accentus Music is Label of the Year. In total eight Special Awards are listed. In the Audio and Video ...
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Anssi Karttunen, artistic director of the Helsinki Musica Nova Festival

ResMusica: Tell us a little bit about the history of the Musica nova festival in Helsinki (runs 6-14 February 2015). Anssi Karttunen: Musica nova Helsinki became the new name of the Helsinki Biennale in 1997. The Helsinki Biennale was created in 1981 at a moment when many things were opening up in Finnish music life. The music life became much more international than before, and both musicians and audiences became interested ...
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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 ...
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Clefs d’Or ResMusica 2014 : the winners

The Clefs d'Or ResMusica 2014, Awarded to the Outstanding Releases of the Year. The 2014 prize list focuses on discovery and rediscovery ! Topping the list is the last recording of the Istanbul Borusan Philharmonic, under the direction of Sascha Goetzel ... Here are the winners: A Wonderful Adventure, in the Company of Old Pianos Carl Philippe Emmanuel Bach, Worthy Successor to the Genius Johann-Sebastian Splendid Stigmatized by James Conlon Discovering Zamponi, thanks ...
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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 ...
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Ekaterina Litvintseva, the Arctic Circle pianist

Ekaterina Litvintseva emphasizes her youth and sensitivity in a convincing all-Rachmaninoff program. Everyone already knows about Hélène Grimaud and her wolves; perhaps now when we think of Ekaterina Litvintseva, we will recall her childhood in Anadyr on the Bering Sea, the easternmost city of Russia, just south of the Arctic Circle, where snow covers the ground 270 days a year and 130 days a year see blizzard conditions. The booklet of Litvintseva’s ...

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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The ARC Ensemble committed to Remembering the Forgotten

"I don't think classical musicians really have duties beyond the normal responsibilities of non-musicians or non-artists. I think we enter very dangerous territory when we give artists special responsibility or expect them to behave in an exceptional manner" ResMusica : Why did you decide to create the ARC Ensemble? Simon Wynberg : The ARC Ensemble is actually a project of Canada's Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM), which is one of the largest ...
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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. ...
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Joseph Silverstein, the old master who prefers our time

"Hilary Hahn or Frank Peter Zimmermann reached a level of virtuosity which is well beyond what preceded them" ResMusica: You have been the concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1962 for 22 years, playing with conductors such as Charles Munch, Pierre Monteux, Erich Leinsdorf, Seiji Ozawa... For many music lover, this was a legendary time for the orchestra. Joseph Silverstein: The Boston Symphony Orchestra is phenomenal since I left! Musicians retired ...

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
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The Leonard Bernstein Letters, a jubilant and luxuriant book

A work that is at once appealing, captivating, even fascinating andengaging, superabundant, made up of 650 letters, memos and notes, selected, prioritized, with detailed care and foresight, with thoughtful rigor and relevance by Nigel Simeone, drawn from Leonard Bernstein’s enormous body of correspondance (with a second volume to follow!) From the first letter, concise, imperious, sent by a young Lenny to Helen Coates, informing her quite simply, “I’ve decided to study ...
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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 ...
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Excellent, but necessary? Christian Tetzlaff plays Shostakovich’s Violin Concertos

The Finnish record label Ondine seems to be quite interested in Shostakovich right now. Since late 2013, Ondine has released four Shostakovich discs: two featuring vocal-orchestral works, and two featuring the string concertos, including the present release. While the former two discs feature relatively unknown works, the violin and cello concertos are firmly established in the repertoire and have been extensively recorded before. Given the multitude of available options, one ...
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Lindberg sets a new reference for Pettersson’s Symphonies No.4 and 16

Every release of Pettersson music under Christian Lindberg's guidance has set the new reference for each work in question. The Swedish composer Allan Pettersson wrote possibly the most physically, emotionally, and intellectually demanding symphonic music in the entire orchestral canon. While largely considered Sweden's most important symphonic composer, his music continues to struggle for wider recognition. In the early 1990s, the Finnish conductor/composer Leif Segerstam began a very promising symphony cycle ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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Schloss Elmau, Alpine music

ResMusica: Schloss Elmau is a beautiful place.  Can you tell us a bit about its history? What are the links between Elmau and music? Silke Zimmerman:  Schloss Elmau was built in 1916, to offer a retreat into nature, away from the maddening crowd. It’s interesting to see that even in its first year, there were 100 concerts played in the wonderful hall of the Schloss, with its fabulous acoustics. So it ...
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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 ...
 

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