This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Finland’s national composer, Jean Sibelius, and to honor the occasion, Finland’s Lahti Symphony Orchestra is hosting a packed week of music events.
On the agenda: concerts by the home orchestra, as well a: s special performances by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. By the end of the week, most of Sibelius’s major orchestral works will be performed, including all seven of his symphonies, which will be conducted by some of the world’s most noted Sibelius interpreters: Osmo Vänskä, Sakari Oramo, and Okko Kamu.
This is all in addition to a chamber concert and the recitation of several symphonic “tone poems.”
When you’re not ogling the beautiful festival site, which sits roughly 90 minutes from Helsinki, attendees are encouraged to explore the surrounding town of Lahti, home to the Motorcycle Museum of Finland, the Lahti Sports Center, and the Arvo Aalto-designed Ristinkirkko church, which has been used as a recording venue by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.
Sibelius Festival visitors can also head to the coastal town of Hämeenlinna, to visit Sibelius’s birthplace, which has been turned into a museum, and pay their respects to the great composer at his final resting place in his home of Ainola. The house-turned-museum is where Sibelius and his family lived from 1904 and is situated on Lake Tuusula in Järvenpää, about 30 minutes drive from Helsinki.