The programme for the autumn season of the Turku Philharmonic has been published, and ticket sales began on Wednesday 18 April 2018.
Next autumn, the Turku Philharmonic invites audiences to witness just how diverse orchestral music can be: there is art music from the 18th century to the present day, chamber music for all kinds of ensembles, music from horror films, a concert version of the ballet Nutcracker with a shadow theatre visualisation, a concert combining jazz and art music, and of course a Christmas concert to round off the year. Each concert has a theme, and the musical styles range from elegant Viennese Classicism to spatial and colourful contemporary music. The list of visiting soloists and conductors is an impressive who’s-who of Finnish talent.
On the eve of Turku Day, the Turku Philharmonic celebrates the strong bond between sports and music, performing at the sports hall at Kupittaa. The programme includes themes familiar from sports events and a basketball-inspired world premiere by Max Savikangas. Admission to this concert is free. The detailed programme will be announced later.
Chief Conductor Leif Segerstam and Principal Double Bass Mikko Multamäki open the season
The opening concerts of the autumn, titled ‘Heavenly Life’ (6–7 September), celebrate the centenary of our southern neighbour, Estonia. The first half features Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and the Double Bass Concerto of likewise Estonian composer Eduard Tubin. The concert concludes with the massive Fourth Symphony of Gustav Mahler, which is built around the solo song that is heard as its fourth movement, performed by soprano Essi Luttinen: Das himmlische Leben (Heavenly life).
Leif Segerstam also conducts the second symphony concert of the autumn, ‘The Wild Dove’, on Friday 21 September. The soloist is pianist Ivo Varbanov, and the programme features eastern European composers Antonín Dvořák, Dimitar Nenov and Béla Bartók.
The third concert conducted by Segerstam focuses on rarely heard vocal works by Ludwig van Beethoven. The ‘Beethoven Special!’ concert on Thursday 11 October is a feast of choral music.
Principal Guest Conductor Julian Rachlin and cellist Jian Wang in September
Julian Rachlin, the Principal Guest Conductor of the Turku Philharmonic, enjoys great popularity in Turku. He has appeared in a dual role as conductor and violinist, and he has introduced talented soloists to Turku audiences, such as pianist Eldar Nebolsin in spring 2018 and violist Sarah McElravy in autumn 2017. Julian Rachlin’s two-year tenure as Principal Guest Conductor began in autumn 2017.
On Thursday and Friday 27–28 September, Rachlin performs with distinguished cellist Jian Wang. The programme features the Cello Concerto in B minor by Antonín Dvořák, regarded by many as the best Romantic cello concerto. After the interval, the evening concludes with the Fourth Symphony of Petr Tchaikovsky.
On Thursday and Friday 4–5 October, ‘The Horror’ takes audiences to a world of terror and madness. The programme features iconic musical numbers from the hrror films The Omen, The Exorcist and Carrie. Composer names include Mike Oldfield, Jerry Goldsmith and Krzysztof Penderecki. This is the fourth concert jointly organised with Underscore Productions Oy. The hugely popular previous three concerts focused on music from video games (2014), fantasy films (2015) and sci-fi films (2016).
Iiro meets Amadeus
Jazz pianist Iiro Rantala has planned a concert programme that is an energetic mix of music in various styles. On Thursday and Friday 25–26 October, the programme features jazz piano works by Rantala and Piano Concerto no. 21 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
“The idea for this programme came from me. I love Mozart’s piano concertos. When I was younger, I played the Piano Concerto in A major no. 23. Now I wanted to tackle the C major Concerto and perform it with improvised cadenzas. I selected the other pieces form the repertoire of the Iiro Rantala String Trio. They are fairly classical in style, and Teppo Ali-Mattila wrote brilliant arrangements of them for strings. We perform this concert without a programme, listening to each other,” says Rantala.
Nutcracker as shadow theatre
A concert version of the classic ballet Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky is performed at the Concert Hall on 8–9 November. The production is based on the original version of the tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann, which is rather darker than the version known today. The ballet is visualised using shadow theatre, staged by the Aura of Puppets network. This production will also be performed at concerts in the ‘Taidetestaajat’ (Arts testers) project and at matinees for schoolchildren over a period of two weeks. ‘Taidetestaajat’ is a major project jointly funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland. It provides for every 8th-grade pupil in Finland with two visits to arts institutions at various locations over a period of three years. The project is coordinated by the Assocation of Finnish Children’s Cultural Centers.
Layered time and philosophers’ symposium
The most interesting concerts of the remainder of the year are conducted by Klaus Mäkelä, Janne Nisonen and Magnus Lindberg. Mäkelä has compiled a programme where Finland and Russia square off. The programme of the concerts on Thursday and Friday 15–16 November features Sauli Zinovjev, Erkki Melartin and Dmitri Shostakovich. Nisonen leads the audience to a philosophers’ symposium on Thursday 22 November. On the programme are Symphony no. 22 by Joseph Haydn, sub-titled ‘The Philosopher’, Serenade after Plato’s Symposium by Leonard Bernstein and the Third Symphony of Johannes Brahms. The soloist is the rapidly rising violinist Tami Pohjola.
On Thursday and Friday 29–30 November, composer-conductor Magnus Lindberg and clarinet virtuoso Kari Kriikku present a quirky and fascinating programme of new and modern music: The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives, the playful virtuoso Clarinet Concerto by Kimmo Hakola, the lovely and meditative Melodien by György Ligeti and Magnus Lindberg’s Tempus fugit, which was extremely well received at its premiere by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra on 6 December 2017. These concerts also celebrate the 60th birthdays of Lindberg and Hakola, which are this summer. A Head Start Special will be held in the upper foyer of the Concert Hall from 17.30, exploring the evening’s programme and phenomena in contemporary music with the performers.
Chief Executive Maati Rehor comments on the coming season: “This autumn at the Turku Philharmonic is an inspiring example of the diversity that may be found in our orchestra and in the world of music. The programmes have been planned jointly between visiting performers and our artistic committee. I am particularly pleased that this season includes interesting programming of new and genre-crossing music alongside classics. Orchestral concerts should never be taken too seriously! I would like to think that the threshold to our concerts remains low, and we are constantly developing new ways for telling people about the music, so that they can enjoy the concert even more.”
Four chamber music concerts
The autumn also features four chamber music concerts planned by orchestra members. The Chamber Music Series opens with a programme of contemporary music from the Baltic states at Turku Castle on Sunday 30 September. On Sunday 21 October, the programme features a concert of revolutionary songs from the Civil War and chamber music by Finnish composers. On Saturday 10 November at the Sibelius Museum, music by Claude Debussy and Leonard Bernstein will be performed. The Chamber Music Series concludes with a woodwind matinee at Villa Marjaniemi on Saturday 15 December, featuring French music and an early piano trio by Ludwig van Beethoven.
The programme for the entire season has been published at www.tfo.fi. A printed version of the season brochure is available at the Concert Hall and at Lippupiste points of sale. Tickets for the autumn season go on sale on Wednesday 18 April 2018. Season tickets are on sale from 18 April to 7 September 2018.
Tickets to concerts of the Turku Philharmonic are sold by Lippupiste, www.lippu.fi. In Turku, tickets may also be bought at the Ars Musica cultural shop at Turku Concert Hall, open Mon to Fri 11.00–17.00. Tickets are also sold at the door one hour before each concert, space permitting. Turku Concert Hall, Aninkaistenkatu 9, FI-20100 Turku.