Esa-Pekka takes Juilliard to Helsinki

Esa-Pekka takes Juilliard to Helsinki


norman lebrecht

December 16, 2016

Vesa Siren reports that the Finnish maestro will be conducting an orchestra of Juilliard School and Sibelius Academy students at concerts in Helsinki and the Lincoln Center. Read here (if your Finnish is up to it).

UPDATE: Here’s a hat-doffing statement from the Sibelius Academy:

The Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki and the world-famous Juilliard School in New York will join forces, forming a joint symphony orchestra to celebrate the centenary of Finland’s independence. The orchestra will give concerts at the Music Centre in Helsinki on 26 August, at the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm on 28 August and at Lincoln Center in New York City on 5 September 2017. The orchestra will be conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, an alumnus of the Sibelius Academy.

The tour programme will feature both Finnish and American music: Four Legends from the Kalevala (Lemminkäinen Suite), Op. 22, by Jean Sibelius (1895/1897), Mania by Esa-Pekka Salonen (2000) and Radical Light by Steven Stucky (2006–2007), the latter inspired by Sibelius’s Fourth and Seventh Symphonies. Cellist Jonathan Roozeman will appear as soloist in Salonen’s work. The orchestra will have some 80 members – half of the orchestra will come from the Sibelius Academy and half from Juilliard. The musicians representing the Sibelius Academy will be selected by audition during February and March.

Tuomas Auvinen, the Dean of the Sibelius Academy, is in charge of the project and is pleased that this joint tour came together for Finland’s centenary year.

“It is excellent to be able to celebrate Finland’s independence with a student project shared with both Juilliard and Esa-Pekka. We combine tradition with skills and youthful enthusiasm. We are internationally oriented and boldly forward-looking. High-quality education and international mindset mark the way forward for our country’s next 100 years,” says Auvinen.

Meeting of the world’s best music schools

Founded in 1905, the Juilliard School is considered the best performing arts university in the world. Last March, it was ranked first in the QS World University Ranking, in which performing arts were included for the first time. The Sibelius Academy was ranked 7th – the only Finnish university in the top 10.

Collaboration between the Sibelius Academy and the Juilliard School was launched in 2005 with a visit from the Juilliard orchestra to Helsinki as part of the school’s centenary tour. The following project in 2013 involved performances by a chamber orchestra with students from both universities in New York and Helsinki, and it was supported by Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation.

The 2017 tour is also made possible by a substantial grant from the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation. The tour is a part of the programme for the centenary celebrations in Finland. The Sibelius Academy Foundation and Wärtsilä are also sponsoring the tour.

The rehearsal period for the tour will be held in Helsinki on 23–26 August 2017.