SIBELIUS FESTIVAL

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.

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SIBELIUS FESTIVAL 2023

The international Sibelius Festival of Lahti Symphony Orchestra will take place on September 7-10, 2023 at the Sibelius Hall in Lahti, and its theme will take the listener on the journeys of the Finnish national composer. The festival’s program continues the series of reconstructed concerts, and its artistic director is Sinfonia Lahti’s chief conductor Dalia Stasevska. Next is the 24th international Sibelius festival in Lahti, last year concert guests came from 15 different countries.

At the festival, one can hear programmes designed and performed by Sibelius at his travels to Stockholm, Rome, Norfolk and Helsinki in the early 20th century. During the travels, many of his works received their premieres, such as The Oceanides in America and the seventh symphony in the Stockholm Auditorium. These will also be heard at the Sibelius Hall in September. In the Helsinki chamber music concert, Sibelius’s B flat major Quartet, which is rarely performed these days, will be explored.

The guest stars of the Sibelius Festival

Swedish Radio Orchestra will come as a guest on Friday 8th September to perform the Stockholm concert, led by conductor Daniel Harding. The concert will include, among other things, Sibelius’s violin concerto, with Spanish violinist Maria Dueñas as the soloist.

The Castalian String Quartet will play a chamber music concert at the Lahti Music College in the Kalevi Aho hall on Saturday 9th September, together with pianist Emil Holmström.

The Sibelius festival ends with the Melody forest -family concert at Lahden pikkuteatteri. Cellist Jussi Makkonen, pianist Nazig Azezian and actor Tapani Kalliomäki paint a vivid picture of the life and compositions of Finland’s national composer Jean Sibelius in the concert.

The side program includes interviews, lectures and guided tours

At the Sibelius Festival, one can dive into the journeys of our national composer, both through the pre concert talks and interviews, and through the guided tours organized in Ainola, the home of Aino and Jean Sibelius in Järvenpää.

On Thursday, Timo Virtanen, MuT, professor at the University of Helsinki and editor-in-chief of Jean Sibelius Works, will introduce the listener to Sibelius’ travels. On Friday, The New Yorker music critic and author of The Rest Is Noise, Listen to This, and Wagnerism, Alex Ross, will discuss Sibelius in America: Reactionary versus Modernist.

One of the highlights of the Sibelius festival is a joint interview with a total of five descendants of Sibelius’ daughter on Saturday 9th September. The interview includes Janne Virkkunen (Ruth), Roosamari Teppo (Eva), Jaakko Ilves (Katarina), Kaisa Porra-Hänninen (Margaretha) and Severi Blomstedt (Heidi).

At Ainola a side program is organized as usual during the Sibelius Festival. On September 7-10, 2023, the museum will organize three special guided tours related to the theme of the festival, and you can get a discount on the entrance ticket by showing the festival ticket.

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