During her ten-year career Dalia Stasevska (b. 1984), principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, has become one of the most internationally prominent Finnish conductors. Appearances with Finnish orchestras led to numerous invitations, first to other Nordic orchestras and opera houses, and then to Europe, Australia and Asia, and in recent years also to the notoriously hard-to-reach big-name orchestras in the USA.
Highlights of Stasevska’s 2021–22 season include first appearances with the New York Philharmonic and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the First Night of the BBC Proms in London as principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the opening concert of the Edinburgh International Festival. In the autumn she will also begin her first season as principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. Stasevska had conducted the orchestra only twice before being offered this appointment.
Immediately after the first day of rehearsal with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Stasevska observed that the orchestra has a positive working atmosphere and a mindset that takes them a long way. ‘I like the attitude towards making music in Lahti. The musicians dive right in, they’re enthusiastic, they work hard and with ambition’, says Stasevska. ‘I found this very inspiring.’
The repertoire in Stasevska’s first season reflects her attitude to life and art. The concerts feature classics, rarities as well as novelties, forgotten works, music from all over the world. These form a whole in which the individual parts relate to each other.
‘I am passionate about dialogue. How the past and present, different cultures and people meet each other. I wanted to choose modern, international programmes that are up-to-date, and to remain open to everything.’
Stasevska is inspired not only by music but also by art, and is especially fond of contemporary art. She follows classical and light music with equal enthusiasm, and is inspired by opera and, for example, new pop music.
When travelling, too, she is always keen to seek out museums of contemporary art. She is also passionate about architecture and design, which always arouse her curiosity, whether the focus is on Italian architecture of the 1960s or on Finnish kitchen utensil design.
Stasevska is strongly drawn to nature. While living on a farm in Tuusula for a couple of years, she had two pet chickens named – fittingly – Clara and Alma. ‘And the rooster, Jorma, also spent his summer holidays in the henhouse’, says Stasevska. She sums up her attitude to both life and the job of a principal conductor: ‘I set great store by playfulness. If you are fearless and go with the flow, unexpected things and insights always follow. Children, too, learn a lot just by playing. I see that the Lahti Symphony Orchestra is equally open-minded.’