Turku Music Festival 2019 anniversary year programme published in full

International stars as always, a generous selection of chamber music recitals and a new series of talks that will continue in the following years.

Press bulletin, free for publication 25 Feb 2019                               Turku Music Festival

Download press release pdf (fi-sv-en)


The Turku Music Festival – the oldest consecutively running annual music festival in Finland – is held for the 60th time this summer, from 8 to 22 August. Conductor Klaus Mäkelä is in charge of programming for the first time. The Festival lineup includes more than 40 concerts and other events. As always, performers include international stars such as soprano Nadine Sierra and pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, orchestras from abroad such as Concerto Köln and the Mariinsky Orchestra from St Petersburg under Valeri Gergiev – both of the above from cities twinned with Turku – and young Finnish and foreign talent such as composer-in-residence Sauli Zinovjev and artist-in-residence Sergey Malov. Concert venues include the traditional Concert Hall, Sigyn Hall and Cathedral but also more unusual ones such as Turku Castle, private homes and Qvidja and Brinkhall Manors.


Tenor Ian Bostridge, soprano Dorothea Röschmann and the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra under Klaus Mäkelä open the Festival

Two opera stars of international calibre appear at the opening concert of the Festival, as tenor Ian Bostridge and soprano Dorothea Röschmann – both of them appearing in Finland for the first time – perform songs from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn collection with the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra under Klaus Mäkelä. The concert also features the Overture to Wagner’s opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Kaija Saariaho’s Asteroid 4179: Toutatis and the iconic Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss. The Turku Philharmonic is augmented for the occasion with a string section of students of the Sibelius Academy.


Young artists-in-residence: composer Sauli Zinovjev and violinist Sergey Malov

The Turku Music Festival invited Sauli Zinovjev to be the Festival’s composer-in-residence, commissioning a new chamber music work and the Festival fanfare from him. Other works by him are featured at various concerts. His commissioned work, Sospirando 4 ‘Schubert’, is heard at the Cello Day II recital at Turku Cathedral on 19 August, preceding Schubert’s wonderful String Quintet performed by violinists Sergey Malov and Anna-Liisa Bezrodny, violist Atte Kilpeläinen and cellists Jan-Erik Gustafsson and Klaus Mäkelä.


“Upholding contemporary music in concert programmes has to my mind always been one of the cornerstones of Finland’s musical life. It is a great honour for me as composer-in-residence at the 60th Turku Music Festival to serve as a representative of the young generation of composers of classical music and thus through my work to help ensure that new music will continue to occupy a substantial place in our musical legacy”, says composer Sauli Zinovjev.


Sergey Malov is a true musical polymath equally at home on the violin, viola, violoncello de spalla and Baroque violin: videos of his performances on the violoncello da spalla on YouTube have had more than one million views. At the Turku Music Festival, he appears in seven programmes: in a solo recital, in a duo with Nikita Boriso-Glebsky at Runeberg Hall, in various chamber music ensembles and at the concert of the Concerto Köln Baroque orchestra.



Jazz at Turku Castle: Claes Andersson & Julia Korkman

Claes Andersson and Julia Korkman give two very different concerts on 20 and 21 August: the first is an encounter between jazz and the poetry of Elina Vaara, Eino Leino and Claes Andersson, among others; the second is a journey to the Mediterranean ,with both jazz and classical flavours from Satie to Henri Salvador. Appearing with the duo are Teemu Mattsson and Robi de Godzinsky.


Popular home concerts continue

The Festival’s home concerts continue. This time, the venues include the home of Samuli Salanterä, Commodore of the Turku Yacht Club, and his wife Sanna on 10 August; Qvidja Manor hosted by Ilkka Herlin and Saara Kankaanrinta on 11 August; the ‘home’ of King Erik XIV of Sweden, Turku Castle, on 12 August; Villa Solin hosted by Mayor Minna Arve on 13 August; Brinkhall Manor hosted by Kaija Hartiala, chairman of the Finnish Cultural Heritage Foundation, and the Archbishop’s residence hosted by Archbishop Tapio Luoma and his wife Pirjo, on 17 August.


André Wickström, Felix Zenger and Tommy Lindgren dazzle at the Ruissalo shipyard

André Wickström, Felix Zenger and Tommy Lindgren join forces for a performance at the Ruissalo shipyard on 13 August. André Wickström is the first Finnish stand-up comedian to have made an international breakthrough. He frequently tours the Nordic countries, presenting hilariously sharp observations of our beloved neighbours. Felix Zenger, hailed as the best beatboxer on the planet, is a rare multi-talent whose performances never fail to astonish. This programme includes beatboxing in conventional format and extended through the use of effects and looping. The special guest on the programme is Tommy Lindgren, a rap artist and singer of explosive energy who is also known as a leading figure in the Don Johnson Big Band.


Super music weekend 9–12 Aug 2019:

The first weekend of the Festival is packed with concerts of a high calibre. The Asasello Quartet perform Shostakovich’s String Quartet no. 8 on Friday 9 August; this work was written in 1960, the same year in which the Turku Music Festival was held for the first time. The second half of the concert features pianist Eero Heinonen giving his elegant interpretation of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.


One of Europe’s finest Baroque ensembles, Concerto Köln, takes to the stage with young German baritone Benjamin Appl and violinist Sergey Malov on Sat 10 August. This concert is dedicated to the music of J.S. Bach, featuring symphonies and arias from his cantatas and the Violin Concerto in D minor. German baritone Benjamin Appl was praised for his natural charm by the editor of Gramophone magazine after a recital at Wigmore Hall in London a couple of years ago. Appl has made it his mission to attract young audiences to classical vocal art. His disc Heimat won an Academie du Disque Lyrique prize in France, and his most recent release with Concerto Köln on the Sony label has been well received. This visit is a tribute to the twinning of Turku and Cologne.


US star soprano Nadine Sierra and pianist Eytan Pessen give a recital at the Concert Hall on 11 August with a programme of opera arias and American melodies from Sierra’s new album on the Deutsche Grammophon label. Before this, violinist John Storgårds is joined by violinist Sergey Malov, cellist Klaus Mäkelä and pianist Eero Heinonen for a programme of chamber music by Liszt, Ravel and Brahms (‘An afternoon with John Storgårds’) at Sigyn Hall.


French-Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili gives a recital focusing on Schubert, Liszt and Stravinsky at Sigyn Hall on the following day, Monday 12 August.


The Festival offers an exceptionally generous series of chamber music recitals, bringing together top-notch musicians for themed programmes ranging from contemplation of the Finnish psyche to visions of hell.


The Finnish psyche (Sibelius Museum, 13 August) features the Piano Quartet ‘Chasse-Neige’ by composer-in-residence Sauli Zinovjev, Erkki Melartin’s String Trio, Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Polska for two cellos and piano, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Lachen verlernt and Sibelius’s ‘Lovisa’ Piano Trio. The performers are Sergey Malov, Tami Pohjola, Kasmir Uusitupa, Jakob Dingstad, Jan-Erik Gustafsson, Tuomas Lehto, Senja Rummukainen and Johannes Piirto.


Journey through time (Parainen Church, 15 August) features music from 1604 to 2018, performed by Tuuli Lindeberg, Nikita Boriso-Glebsky, Klaus Mäkelä, Juhani Lagerspetz, Sauli Zinovjev and the Asasello Quartet. Earlier on the same day (15.00), souvenirs from Florence occupy the Silja Line ferry terminal, which is normally deserted in the daytime. A large group of talented musicians perform Gubaidulina, Arensky and Tchaikovsky. Shakespeare is the theme in the chapel of Turku Castle (18 August), with extracts from his plays read by Jussi Nikkilä, acclaimed for his performance in the title role in Hamlet at the Turku City Theatre. Music inspired by Shakespeare, written by Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Beethoven, is performed by Anna-Liisa Bezrodny, Sergey Malov, Tami Pohjola, Riina Pirilä, Jan-Erik Gustafsson, Klaus Mäkelä, Ossi Tanner and Aleksei Zaitsev.


Chamber music may also be heard at two recitals at Bethel Church on 16 and 19 August and at the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum. An ensemble of young competition winners, Trio Pohjola-Rummukainen-Piirto, appears at Bethel Church on 19 August. The ‘Virtuoso’ recital at the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum includes one of the most difficult and most feared works in the chamber music repertoire, Enescu’s Octet for strings (Malov, Bezrodny, Uusitupa, Pohjola, Kilpeläinen, Piirilä, Gustafsson, Rummukainen).


Pétur Sakari was given carte blanche to plan the traditional candlelight concert for the Night of the Arts in Turku, 15 August at 22.00. The young organ virtuoso’s programme includes Messiaen’s magnificent L’Ascencion.


Festival culminates with Julian Rachlin, Valeri Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra performing Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto

A world-class orchestra from St Petersburg, twinned with Turku, arrives to give the concluding concert of the Festival at the Concert Hall on 22 August. The Mariinsky Orchestra under Valeri Gergiev appears with Julian Rachlin, one of the world’s finest violinists, in a programme featuring Rodion Shchedrin’s Symphonic Diptych, Dmitri Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto no. 1 and Peter Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 6.


Violinist Julian Rachlin and Klaus Mäkelä bring together a group of friends to perform Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat major op. 44 and Johannes Brahms’s String Sextet no. 2 in G major op. 36. ‘Julian Rachlin, Klaus Mäkelä & Friends’ (17 August) also features Boris Brovtsyn, Sarah McElravy, Atte Kilpeläinen, Marko Ylönen and Johannes Piirto.


Introducing a series of high-profile talks and public discussions

In a new departure, the Turku Music Festival introduces a series of high-profile talks and public discussions with international guests. This series is planned to continue in the following years. In summer 2019, the guests include tenor Ian Bostridge, who alongside his singing career is a scholar and has been a visiting professor at Oxford University. He talks about ‘Character portrayal in opera: bringing characters in a score to life’, at Turku City Library on Friday 9 August, interviewed by Emilie Gardberg, director of the Finnish Institute in London. Professor Jari Sinkkonen talks about creativity and madness at Turku Castle on 12 August. Conductor Klaus Mäkelä and composer Sauli Zinovjev discuss ‘The arts in classic literature’ at Makasiini Contemporary at an event jointly organised with TS Kirja on 14 August, with interviewers Tuomo Karhu and Jaakko Mikkola from the Turun Sanomat newspaper. Max Mickelsson, director of corporate social responsibility at Microsoft Oy, heads a multi-discipline panel in a discussion about ‘What can business learn from art as a method?’ at Turku Art Museum on 21 August. The Festival is pleased to be a participant in the Turku Europe Forum, of which an advance event is featured during the Festival: a discussion in German on ‘Das Elend der traditionellen demokratischen Parteien in Europa’ by former German Minister of Finance Peer Steinbrück and Paavo Lipponen at Turku City Hall on 22 August.


Head start with star-studded international cast: Handel’s Agrippina

In a head start for the Festival on 2 June, a star-studded international cast performs a concert version of Handel’s opera Agrippina. The soloists are Samantha Hankey, Luca Pisaroni, Franco Fagioli, Elsa Benoit (replacing Kathryn Lewek, who has had to withdraw from the tour), Xavier Sabata, Andrea Mastroni, Jakub Józef Orlinksi and Biagio Pizzuti. The orchestra is Il Pomo d’Oro, the Baroque orchestra supported by author Donna Leon, with Maxim Emelyanychev as conductor.


The programme also includes the complete Suites for solo cello by J.S. Bach performed by some of Finland’s finest cellists and the Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach performed by pianist Hannu Alasaarela. There is lots more; see the entire programme at www.tmj.fi



Tickets for all events at the Turku Music Festival go on sale nationwide on Tuesday 26 February at 09.00. Tickets are sold by Lippupiste.


Further information and interview requests

Managing Director Liisa Ketomäki, tel.: +358 40 740 6200, e-mail



Performers, ensembles and speakers appearing at the Festival in 2019:


Hannu Alasaarela

Claes Andersson

Benjamin Appl

Elsa Benoit

Anna-Liisa Bezrodny

Nikita Boriso-Glebsky

Boris Brovtsyn

Khatia Buniatisvhili

Ian Bostridge

Jakob Dingstad

Maxim Emelyanychev

Franco Fagioli

Valeri Gergijev

Robi de Godzinsky

Jan-Erik Gustafsson

Samantha Hankey

Marko Hilpo

Eero Heinonen

Atte Kilpeläinen

Julia Korkman

Eveliina Kytömäki

Tuomas Lehto

Juhani Lagerspetz

Tuuli Lindeberg

Tommy Lindgren

Mikko Luoma

Sergey Malov

Andrea Mastroni

Teemu Mattsson

Sarah McElravy

Mikko Multamäki

Jussi Nikkilä

Klaus Mäkelä

Tomas Nunez-Garces

Jakub Józef Orlinski

Samuli Peltonen

Eytan Pessen

Johannes Piirto

Riina Pirilä

Luca Pisaroni

Biagio Pizzuti

Tami Pohjola

Julian Rachlin

Senja Rummukainen

Dorothea Röschmann

Xavier Sabata

Pétur Sakari

Nadine Sierra

John Storgårds

Ossi Tanner

Kasmir Uusitupa

Jussi Vähälä

André Wickström

Tuomas Ylinen

Marko Ylönen

Aleksei Zaitsev

Felix Zenger

Sauli Zinovjev


Asasello Quartet

Concerto Köln

Il pomo d’oro

Mariinsky Orchestra

Naskalit, cond. Tommi Saalas

Turku Philharmonic Orchestra

Students of the Sibelius Academy


Paavo Lipponen

Max Mickelsson

Jari Sinkkonen

Peer Steinbrück

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