The position of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) as Finland’s national composer is probably incontestable; his significance for the history of Finnish music is unparalleled. Sibelius is also Finland’s most famous composer internationally, whose music has won admirers in all parts of the globe. With its annual Sibelius Festival, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra aims to gather together Sibelius’s friends from all over the world and to offer them a truly memorable weekend in the company of Sibelius’s music.

15.10. – 18.10.2020 Sibelius Hall, Lahti

This internationally acclaimed festival will bring together friends of Sibelius’ music from across the globe October 2020, as the Lahti Symphony Orchestra once again invites followers of Finland’s national composer to a wonderful celebration in the acoustically splendid setting of Sibelius Hall. The Artistic Director of the festival is the distinguished Chief Conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Dima Slobodeniouk.

Sibelius Festival 2020 will include all the symphonies and the Violin Concerto

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s 21st International Sibelius Festival will be held at the Sibelius Hall in Lahti on 15–18 October 2020. Traditionally held in September, the festival is this year taking place in mid-October owing to renovations to the main auditorium of the Sibelius Hall in the summer and early autumn.

The Sibelius Festival’s artistic director is the Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s principal conductor, Dima Slobodeniouk. Under his baton the Lahti Symphony Orchestra will play all seven Sibelius symphonies and the Violin Concerto in three concerts on 15–17 October. The soloist in the Violin Concerto is Sergey Khachatryan, winner of the 2000 Sibelius International Violin Competition in Helsinki and the 2005 Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition in Brussels. He will now be performing with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra for the first time.

New this year is the Festival Pass, giving access to all three symphony concerts at a reduced price. Ticket sales commence on Monday 20 January 2020 online at Lippupiste ( and at ticket offices.

The Finnish Baroque orchestra plays Sibelius on period instruments

At the concluding concert of the festival by the Finnish Baroque Orchestra (FiBO) on Sunday morning (18 October) we have an unprecedented opportunity to hear orchestral works by Sibelius on instruments from Sibelius’s own period. The concert is the beginning of the Finnish Baroque Orchestra’s project ‘Sibelius and his contemporaries’, in which the examination of historical performance practices that has revolutionized the performance of works from the baroque and classical periods – and, above all, instruments that differ from modern ones – are put to use in Sibelius’s orchestral music. We can therefore expect a different type of sound, more transparent and softer than we are accustomed to hearing. The concert includes the suite Rakastava, the incidental music to Pelléas and Mélisande and Suite No. 2 from the music to Shakespeare’s Tempest. It is conducted by Tomas Djupsjöbacka, the initiator of the project.

Competition winners in the chamber concerts

The piano recital on Friday afternoon (16 October) at the Kalevi Aho Hall in the Lahti Music Institute will be given by Mackenzie Melemed from the USA, winner of the International Maj Lind Piano Competition in Helsinki in 2017. On Saturday afternoon (17 October) we shall hear the Finnish soprano Hedvig Paulig, winner of the Sibelius Singing Competition in 2011.

The festival concerts will be complemented by additional events, for example pre-concert talks with speakers including Erkki Liikanen and Kalevi Aho.

‘The Sibelius Festival’s Nursery Garden’ presents five world premières in September

In a new type of performance in association with the Sibelius Festival, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra presents the project ‘The Sibelius Festival’s Nursery Garden’, culminating in a concert on 17 September 2020 at the Felix Krohn Hall by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra under its principal conductor Dima Slobodeniouk. In the autumn of 2019 the orchestra invited applications from Finnish-resident composers at the beginning of their careers, five of whom are to be selected by five prominent well-established composers for mentoring. During the spring of 2020, after ten hours of tuition from their respective mentors, each of the young composers will write a work for symphony orchestra, no more than ten minutes in length. The mentors are Lotta Wennäkoski, Perttu Haapanen, Riikka Talvitie, Sebastian Fagerlund and Matthew Whittall. The names of the chosen composers and further information about the concert will be published later.

Lahti Symphony Orchestra