Sibelius Academy Collaboration

Wednesday, Aug 09, 2017
Juilliard Journal
Esa-Pekka Salonen

Juilliard continues a 12-year collaboration with Finland’s Sibelius Academy when the conservatory’s symphony orchestra and the Juilliard Orchestra join forces in Europe and, on September 5, Alice Tully Hall. The concerts, led by Esa-Pekka Salonen, will include Finnish and American music including the late Juilliard faculty member Steven Stucky’s Radical Light (2006-07), which was inspired by Sibelius’s Fourth and Seventh Symphonies.

The concert is the culmination of a tour that also brought the 90-person group to the Music Centre in Helsinki and the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm. The tour itself is a celebration of both the centennial of Finland’s independence from Russia (declared December 6, 1917) and, as Ara Guzelimian, provost and dean, pointed out, of “Stucky’s close and fruitful musical friendship with Salonen, one of many extraordinary Finnish composers and performers who are central to today’s international musical life.” Classical music is an enduring part of Finland—the face of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, for whom the Academy is named, graced the country’s currency until the euro replaced it, in 2002. The Finnish government’s well-funded music education system takes students from childhood through the conservatory level; the Sibelius Academy is one of the largest conservatories in Europe.

The Juilliard-Sibelius Academy collaboration dates to 2005, when the Juilliard Orchestra performed in Helsinki as part of the school’s centenary tour; and in 2013, Juilliard’s new-music ensemble, AXIOM, performed with academy students in a concert conducted by Susanna Mälkki. —Joshua Simka (BM ’14, voice) is the Journal’s assistant editor.