Lectures celebrating women

Celebrating its 60th edition, Turku Music Festival organises two musical lectures together with the Turku City Library in their Studio. The combining theme of these lectures is Celebrating women. Pianist Ari Helander (b. 1959) has selected two remarkable, yet marginalized artists as topics for his lectures: pianist Clara Schumann (1819–1896) and singer Lina Prokofiev (1897–1989).

In an era when few women were allowed the opportunity to develop their musical skills to an advanced level, pianist Clara Schumann was fortunate to receive an exceptionally good education. For a long time she has been recognised by history as no more than the wife and self-sacrificing muse of composer Robert Schumann. Yet she outlived her husband by more than 40 years and created a career as a performing artist lasting more than six decades. Modern research has revealed that Clara Schumann was a conflicted personality, and many of her eight children came to a tragic end. Performing was for Clara a way of escaping her family problems. Lecture is held on Mon 18 Feb 2019 18:00.

Mon 25 Feb 2019 18:00 the subject of the lecture is Lina Prokofiev – a Spanish-born singer who dedicated her life to administering the musical legacy of her husband. Lina married Russian composer Serge Prokofiev when the latter was in exile in the USA following the Revolution, and they had two sons. In the 1930s, the Soviet Union began to tempt Serge to return to his native land, and the family relocated to Moscow. However, the Prokofievs soon found themselves living a precarious existence, as Stalin’s regime began to put a stranglehold on all artists. In 1941, Serge left his wife for another woman. Seven years later, Lina was sent to a gulag and was not freed until Stalin died in 1952. She was allowed to emigrate to the West in 1974.

The duration of each lecture is approximately 1 h 30 min and the entrance is free of charge. The lectures are given in Finnish only.

Turku Music Festival will be held for the 60th time next summer. Lectures and talks have traditionally been a part of the festival programme, alongside and separate from the concerts, of which the festival has had positive feedback from the audience. To celebrate its anniversary, the festival will be hosting more lectures and talks, and new events will be shared through press releases and the festival’s website.

The entire festival programme will be released 25 Feb 2019.

Ari Helander graduated with a M.Mus. degree from the soloist degree programme at the Sibelius Academy. He is currently lecturer in piano at the North Kymi Music Institute in Kouvola. For several years now, he has been giving musical lectures combining narrative, music and images. He is particularly interested in the personal lives of composers and musicians and in how the political and social circumstances of the day affected them.