Jean Sibelius gets his own Festival in Rotterdam

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra is organizing a festival this year focusing on the music of Finland’s most well-known composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957). 

Sibelius' seven symphonies will form the common thread during two, weekend-long series of performances that make up the festival. The first part of the festival will be held over the weekend between May 17 to May 19, 2019. Part two follows over the weekend between November 29 to December 1, 2019.    

Violinist Pekka Kuusisto (pictured) opens the festival on May 17 with Finnish chamber music. On the opening concert on May 17 he will improvise with the rune-singer Ilona Korhonen. Music by Sibelius will be performed by Helena Juntunen, one of Finland’s most sought-after sopranos, together with pianist Eveliina Kytömäki. The first part of the festival closes on Sunday May 19 with Sibelius’s Symphonies Nos 3 and 4, conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste.   

Finnish music is well-represented in the Netherlands this spring. Contemporary composer Lotta Wennäkoski had four significant orchestral performances at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on last March and April. On 11 May her new double concerto for recorder and percussion, Zeng, will be premiered at Muziekgebouw aant 't IJ with soloists Lucie Horsch (recorder) and Agostinho Sequeira (percussion).   

At the same time with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra’s Sibelius Festival, Music Finland will take part in Classical:NEXT 2019 together with Finnish classical music professionals. Classical:NEXT is an annual international networking event for classical music professionals, taking place at de Doelen, Rotterdam, between May 15–18.