The Finnish city of Lahti, just 100km north of Helsinki, will lead the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sibelius in 2015 at its annual International Sibelius Festival, taking place 4th-7th September 2014. The Lahti Symphony Orchestra, recognised internationally for its Sibelius interpretations, has announced a highly anticipated programme for its 2014 and 2015 festivals, which take place at Lahti’s impressive Sibelius Hall, named after the famous Finn.
This year’s 15th International Sibelius Festival will feature rarely-heard orginal versions of the Finnish composer’s work, including the extremely challenging Violin Concerto and the Fifth Symphony. The festival will prepare the way for the jubilee programme in 2015 when the BBC Symphony Orchestra will be among the highlights for the bumper festival edition.
The International Sibelius Festival has been organised annually by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra since the spectacular glass concert hall was finished in 2000 and offers Sibelius enthusiasts from all over the world a long weekend (Thursday to Sunday) of wide-ranging performances reflecting various aspects of the composer’s music. Since the very start, the festival has attracted an audience from all over Europe, as well as from the USA, Canada, Japan and Australia, and the 2014 and 2015 festival programmes are set to invite even greater international attention.
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sibelius, the 2015 festival is being organised by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra on a larger scale than usual, in terms of both the music played and the artists taking part. The festival will last a week, from 31st August to 6th September, and will include guest appearances for the first time by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Helsinki Philarmonic Orchestra. It’s with particular honour that the BBC Symphony Orchestra will be joining the Sibelius celebrations next summer at what will be its busiest time during the Proms in London. The BBCSO will give two concerts, one of which will be conducted by the festival’s Artistic Director, Okko Kamu, and the other by the orchestra’s Finnish principal conductor, Sakari Oramo. The globally-acclaimed British orchestra first visited Scandinavia in 1956, when they gave two concerts with an all-Sibelius repetoire.
Festival tickets are priced from 17,50€ and can be bought online at http://www.lippupalvelu.fi/
For further information, visit: http://www.sinfonialahti.fi/en_GB/
Finnair flies direct to Helsinki from London Heathrow and Manchester with return flights in September from £114 and £148 respectively. www.finnair.com
A regular train service connects Lahti and Helsinki, with prices from 21.30€ and takes 1.5 hours. www.vr.fi
The four-star Solo Sokos Lahden Seurahuone offers double rooms from £115 in September, including breakfast and use of the sauna www.sokoshotels.fi/
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