‘Finland doesn’t have a long history of Kings and castles. We have always been occupied. When we finally became free the country was built on language, literature, music, paintings. Sibelius created the distinctive sound of Finland. You can hear his enthusiasm for the country – the Finnish sagas, the stories, folklore and the language that is ours and only ours – but at the same time you can hear how he was moving towards becoming a universal composer.’
Who wouldn’t want to know more about Sibelius after hearing charismatic rising classical star Dalia Stasevska explain why she became Chief Conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in 2021 and Artistic Director of the world’s only annual Sibelius Festival?
Nordic Horizons Director and longtime Sibelius fan Lesley Riddoch certainly did. She recorded and produced this special podcast during a trip to Lahti’s Sibelius Festival during early September 2022 . Sadly, rules on copyright mean no excerpts of music can be included – but there’s mention of the Lemminkainen Suite (including the Swan of Tuonela), Violin Concerto, Tempest, Finlandia and the Wood Nymph. All are easy to sample online. The interviewees are former manager of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Tuomas Kinberg; Dalia Stasevska (mentioned above) and Ainola museum guide at Sibelius’ former lakeside home, Christina Kananen.
Many thanks to the Sibelius Festival, Finnair and Visit Finland for making the trip possible. Thanks to Maarit Kytöharju for permission to use her image of Dalia Stasevska in full flight and to Chris Smith for editing the audio material.