Jan 26, 2015


26 January 2015
The 150th anniversary year of Sibelius’ birth sees Jukka-Pekka perform the composer’s work in Cologne, Vienna, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Oslo, Copenhagen, Tokyo, and Kuala Lumpur, amongst other places.

He returns with the WDR Symphony to the Rheingau Festival, where they will perform the complete Lemminkäinen, and presents several complete programmes dedicated to Sibelius with the Danish Radio Symphony/Leonidas Kavakos, and the Oslo Philharmonic/Karita Mattila. He also appears at the Finnish National Opera with a staged production of Kullervo, in collaboration with the Finnish National Ballet, featuring new choreography by Tero Saarinen. In November, he will perform the 1st version of Sibelius’ 5th symphony – the “forbidden” version which will be performed with permission of the Sibelius family in connection with the anniversary – with the Finnish Radio Symphony. The Tammisaari Festival will see a programme of works for smaller orchestra reflecting various periods in the composer’s life.

“My selection for this year is quite a good cross-section of his works and his different musical styles, reflecting many aspects of his musical world. It includes periods of writing, from the deeply national romantic to his final period, which was extremely abstract and independent, such as the forward-looking 7th symphony as well as some of the music from The Tempest.

It’s not easy to describe his music, and to try to explain what makes it so special, is not straightforward. There is some kind of intensity in it that isn’t related to anything else in music. When I was a young child it was the less obvious symphonies which appealed to me, such as the 4th symphony – which has an extreme character and depth – and the 6th symphony, and those are still my favourites.

Sibelius had a vision, or an intuitive sense of truth in music which was not clear even to him, and he needed to shape his ideas into forms which he himself was willing to accept. An example is his 5th symphony, and the process he had to go through in his mind; he had to develop the piece in terms of different outcomes, culminating in the end result, which is the third version. I’m confident that performing the first version of the 5th symphony this season will demonstrate how progressive and uniquely personal his ideas were for his time.”