2015 will see the 150 years anniversary of two grand composers of symphonic music: Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen. The Stockholm Concert Hall will celebrate by launching the world’s largest Sibelius/Nielsen festival!
With the resident orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and its Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo, performing in three landmark concerts (opening, middle concert and grand finale) and with guest orchestras from Sweden, Finland and Denmark performing another nine concerts, this will be a grand symphonic feast to celebrate both the protagonists.
There will be daily concerts, inspiring lectures and exhibitions about both composers. Welcome to symphonic portraits of two Nordic champions!
Old certainties about music were overturned during the lifetimes of Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen. Their professional and personal lives were affected by seismic changes that delivered everything from sound recording to new nations. The symphony, a traditional genre under attack from musical modernists, supplied the secure ground for both composers artistic development. It offered Sibelius a logical structure within which to explore his imagination’s flow; Nielsen, meanwhile, directed his lifelong passion for the ‘simple original’ to the symphonic form. The Sibelius/Nielsen-festival reveals the influences behind their work and offers a unique chance to hear the composer's complete symphonies presented in an orchestral context.
Each of the Sibelius/Nielsen festival’s twelve concerts is prefaced by an introduction presented by Mats Engström, Director of Programme and curator of the festival, in company with invited guests. Both Illka Oramo, Emeritus Professor of Music at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and John Fellow, Editor of the multi-volume collection of Nielsen’s correspondence, are on the guest-list for some of the conversations. Other participants will be the RSPO’s Chief Conductor, Sakari Oramo, Ida-Maria Vorre of the Odense Carl Nielsen Museum and several Swedish musicians and composers. Introductions are held in Swedish and require a special ticket (50 SEK).
Learn more about the life and work of Sibelius and Nielsen in two fascinating exhibitions, offered free to visitors during the Sibelius/Nielsen festival. Odense City Museum's international travelling exhibition about Carl Nielsen is a rich aesthetic and sensory experience through music, pictures and sound. The Finnish Embassy contributes with a unique Sibelius exhibition which, among other things, features an imaginary visit to Sibelius' home. Thanks to its close association with both Sibelius and Nielsen, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic owns a unique archive of documents, photographs, letters and other memorabilia relating to both men, which will also be on display.
Opening hours: Weekdays 4.00-6.00 pm, Sat & Sun 12.00-2.00 pm, and in connection with the concerts. Admission free!
The Stockholm Concert Hall will publish a substantial programme book to enhance the listening experience for Sibelius/Nielsen festival-goers. The fully illustrated volume includes essays and extensive work commentaries by the Danish author and Carl Nielsen expert John Fellow and the Finnish musicologist and Sibelius specialist, Professor Ilkka Oramo. It also features introductions by the RSPO’s Director of Programme, Mats Engstrom, complete with details of the musical connections linking the symphonies to be performed in each concert. The book also recalls Sibelius’ and Nielsen’s guest conducting visits to Stockholm, an important chapter in the RSPO’s artistic development. Price 195 SEK. The book includes texts in both Swedish and English.
+46 8 50 66 77 88
Corner of Sveavägen/Kungsgatan
On day of concert, minimum 2 hours before the concert begins.
Payment by VISA, Mastercard, American Express & Diners Club Card.
Experience a unique classical music festival! With any of our festival packages, you will also take advantage of a generous discount on your tickets.
Festival Four: 4-7 concerts of your choice and get 20 % discount.
Festival Eight: 8-11 concerts of your choice and get 25 % discount.
Festival Twelve: All 12 concerts and get 30 % discount.
Other available discounts:
Senior citiziens, age 65 +: 10 % off full ticket price.
Students, valid student ID required: 10 % off full ticket price.
Up to 26 years: 50 % off full ticket price.
Heavy drinking, cigar smoking and hard spending, Jean Sibelius lived life to the full before retiring from public life at his fame’s height. His music caught the nationalist mood of his fellow Finns long before the country declared its independence from Russia in 1917. It also drew from Finland’s natural landscape and rich stock of folk legends. He became and remains a Finnish hero, the man whose tone poem Finlandia sounds a rallying call at times of national crisis and celebration. Sibelius was among the first modern classical composers to gain popularity thanks to recordings and radio broadcasts. Above all, he carried the tradition of writing symphonies well into the twentieth century with works of great originality and invention.
Sibelius was born in Hämeenlinna on 8 December 1865. His father, a military physician, died a few years later, tipping the family into poverty. Young Sibelius’ uncle encouraged the boy’s love for music, which led to violin lessons from the local bandmaster. Sibelius developed his skills as violinist and composer at the newly opened Helsinki Music Institute. Further studies in Berlin and Vienna paved the way to his breakthrough compositions, the symphonic poem Kullervo and Karelia among them. He established a global reputation as Finland’s representative composer in the early 1900s before cultivating a more international language. Episodes of drunkenness, disillusion and depression nudged Sibelius into early retirement, although not before the completion of such masterworks as the Seventh Symphony and Tapiola.
Carl Nielsen was born on 9 June 1865 and raised on the idyllic island of Funen as the seventh of twelve children. Although from a humble family, his parents encouraged young Carl to study violin and join a local amateur orchestra. The composer’s childhood memories, recalled in his delightful autobiography, contain strong impressions of nature and human psychology that shaped his lifelong artistic creed and desire to present authentic emotions in his works. Tuneful music was part of Nielsen’s upbringing, absorbed in the form of Viennese Classics, folksongs and the military marches he learned as a teenaged bandsman in Odense. He was schooled in German Romanticism as a student at the Copenhagen Conservatory, but soon rejected the expressive extremes of Wagner’s music in favour of the ‘healthy’ logic of works by Dvořák and Brahms. His aesthetic outlook was also informed by his wife, the Danish sculptress Anne Marie Brodersen, despite their marriage’s tempestuous.
Nielsen’s apprentice years included work as a violinist at Denmark’s Royal Theatre and periods of study abroad. In 1905 he was able to commit to composing full time, an arrangement occasionally interrupted to accommodate guest conducting dates and an unhappy stint as second kapelmester at the Royal Theatre. His symphonies, instrumental concertos and stage works defied the fashion in Danish music for smooth and safe Romanticism. ‘I wanted stronger rhythms and more advanced harmony,’ Nielsen explained, an ambition that he realised most strikingly in his six symphonies.