XXXII Edition of Avanti’s Summer Sounds: “Chantefables – Songs and Sagas”
Wed 28 Jun – Sun 2 Jul, Porvoo and Loviisa
Sonatas, juggling, free concerts and criticism of consumerism – Avanti’s Summer Sounds 2017 offer all this and a lot more!
Avanti’s 32nd Summer Sounds Festival will be spanning five days in late June and early July. An already-traditional head start on the festival will be made on 28 June at Pernaja Church, while the rest of the festival concerts take place in Porvoo on 29 June – 2 July. There will be 14 concerts in total, and the tickets are already available for purchase with some great offers. This year, composer Lotta Wennäkoski coordinates the festival programme.
Programme Planned by Composer Lotta Wennäkoski
“It has been an absolute joy putting the programme together, not least because I have followed Avanti! as a fan and listener since the 1980s. Later, I had the privilege to collaborate with this unique bunch of artists on a piece of my own, and now it happens that I am in charge of a whole festival programme,” says composer Lotta Wennäkoski, the Artistic Director of this year’s Summer Sounds.
“To me, Avanti! has always stood for supreme skill, high artistic quality, explosive energy and fearless impulsiveness. Versatility and multiformity have always gone hand in hand with these elements, and I think that it has been especially at the Summer Sounds where Avanti! has always come to the fore at their most daring. This year, we will travel from the late Renaissance to today – a temporal journey of 400 years! – with an emphasis on songs and stories. Welcome to the world of butterflies, crickets, songs and stories that open to a variety of dimensions,” Wennäkoski describes.
Lotta Wennäkoski was the artistic co-ordinator of The Tampere Biennale Festival in 2008–2010 and the composer-in-residence for Tapiola Sinfonietta during the season 2010–2011. Her music has been performed widely in Finnish and international concert halls and festivals, including The Helsinki Festival, Musica Nova, Märzmusik Berlin, Warsaw Autumn, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and The Other Minds Festival. She has also composed a number of commissioned works for the likes of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Versatile and Multiform
This year’s programme comes not only in different styles but in different shapes as well: in addition to more conventional solo instruments, Avanti! will be fronted by some more unusual soloists – including a juggler and a Foley artist. Perhaps the most notable names to join the orchestra this summer are Polish soprano-composer Agata Zubel and Kersten McCall, German flutist for the prestigious Dutch Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The whole programme is now available on www.avantimusic.fi/en/suvisoiton-ohjelma-2/.
The festival will commence on Wednesday 28 June at the atmospheric Pernaja Church, a perfect venue for intimate chamber music. In addition to Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello, three contemporary pieces will be heard in the concert – all in arrangements by Avanti! Quartet and John Storgårds.
The opening concert at Porvoo Art Factory’s Avanti Hall on Thursday 29 June will witness the collision of “the screeching and squirming” violin concerto, written by Agata Zubel and interpreted by John Storgårds, and the percussive thunder of the orchestra. Composer Ville Raasakka’s anti-consumerist “Hypermarket and Hypercommodity” is a concerto for material items, piano and chamber orchestra. Targeting hyperconsumerism, the piece draws sonic elements from the various material items used in transporting, packing and purchasing goods, such as plastic bags, shopping baskets and banknotes. Pianist Emil Holmström will be the soloist. The other half of the concert is comprised of György Ligeti’s “Ramifications“, a classic of micropolyphony, and Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella Suite“, a fresh expedition into love, respect and the past. Avanti! will be conducted by Dima Slobodeniouk.
The festival Thursday will close at the Factory Hall of the Porvoo Art Factory. In a late-night piano recital, Joonas Ahonen will focus on American music through both intense and meditative examples.
What will happen when Avanti!, conducted by John Storgård, will be joined by a soprano, a juggler and a sound-magician? That we will find out on Friday 30 June at the Porvoo Art Factory. Georges Aperghis’s “La Nuit en tête” is a brooding nocturne for soprano Agata Zubel and chamber orchestra, while “Jong” by Lotta Wennäkoski limelights juggler Sakari Männistö as a soloist. The concert will also see a premiere from Sami Klemola with Foley artist Heikki Kossi fronting Avanti!. Kossi is a sound wizard who specialises in conjuring up sounds of footsteps and creaking doors for film.
The Friday night will be finished off with folk sounds at restaurant Zum Beispiel. The Artistic Director Lotta Wennäkoski, who proclaims herself a friend of Hungarian folk music, will host the evening and has also promised to grab her violin and take the stage.
On Saturday 1 July, the Cultural House Grand will host a children’s concert with Mimmit – a irrepressible orchestra led by two siblings and known from children’s TV. A medley of music, dance and visual elements, this concert has a 100 % feel-good guarantee.
Composer-soprano Agata Zubel is both the star and the originator of the piece “Not I“. Inspired by a Samuel Becket monologue and opening the festival Saturday at the Avanti Hall, the composition stages a struggle with the self with its writer tossing and turning both as a singer and a mouthpiece of Becket’s words. “Soie” by Wennäkoski is a flute concerto that draws its textures – sometimes as soft as silk, sometimes as coarse as linen – from the world of textiles. Flutist Kersten McCall will be heard as a soloist.
Saturday evening sees singer Emma Salokoski tackle Eva Dahlgren songs from album “Jag vill se min älskade komma från det vilda” – Dahlgren’s 1995 collaborative work with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, arranger Anders Hillborg and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. A number of Salokoski’s own pieces will also be heard in Finnish orchestral arrangements. The concert will be conducted by Anna-Maria Helsing.
The final concert, conducted by John Storgårds, will be held at the Porvoo Art Factory on 2 July. In Tristan Murail’s “L’esprit des dunes“, electronical winds sweep through the Gobi Desert and the Tibetan mountains. Lotta Wennäkoski’s “Verdigris“, written in honour of Jean Sibelius’s 150th anniversary, nods to the great composer’s symphonic poem “En saga (A Fairytale)“. The cherry on the cake will be Symphony no. 4 by Brahms.
Free Urban Concerts for Everyone
This year’s Summer Sounds will see Avanti! hosting free concerts in the Porvoo city centre again. Launched last year to great success, the concerts are intimate and accessible titbits from the festival programme. 100 % Avanti!-quality easily accessible to all Porvoo city-dwellers! Some picks from this year’s free programme include Polish sung poetry by duo Agata Zubel-Joonas Ahonen, the energetic and intensive trio Süle-Lahti-Nikula, and the fruits of young composers’ labour, prepared at the festival workshops. The free concerts will take place at the Art Factory, The Little Church, Cultural House Grand and Haaga-Helia.
Born in 1986? Welcome to the Festival for Free!
Founded in 1986, the Summer Sounds Festival invites all born the same year (1986) to the festival for free.
“We want to offer people living the hectic life of a thirty-something a free moment from the hamster wheel. If you were born in 1986 you will receive a free ticket to a concert of your choice by sending an email to our office, firstname.lastname@example.org,” encourages Maati Rehor, Avanti’s Executive Director.
For early birds, tickets to Porvoo Art Factory concerts are available at a 32% discount until 20 March. Use code AIKALAISET at Lippupiste ticket shops.
Further information on the campaign on www.avantimusic.fi/tickets
Tickets sales begin on 14 Feb
Festival busses run from Helsinki straight to Porvoo Art Factory and back. More info on www.avantimusic.fi/en/festaribussi-2/
Chamber Orchestra Avanti!
Formed in 1983, Chamber Orchestra Avanti! is the brainchild of conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, flutist Olli Pohjola and conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste. Since the beginning, Avanti!’s core philosophy has been aiming at an outstanding artistic level in an outstanding company. Open-minded and open-armed, Avanti! has, over the years, performed music that would never have reached Finnish concert halls under other circumstances. The orchestra’s Artistic Director is clarinettist Kari Kriikku.
Avanti! offers music to the broad-minded and takes the listener to new spheres: what used to sound familiar soon sounds fresh and new; what at first sounded new now sounds uncannily familiar. Avanti! moves across musical periods and genres in different incarnations, always as devoted to artistic quality.
Avanti’s annual Summer Sounds Festival was founded in 1986. The festival offers a cross-section in the orchestra’s role: in the centre of the festival is, of course, Avanti! itself in different line-ups. Even though there is perhaps some emphasis on new music, Baroque music will be heard alongside premiering pieces. The city of Porvoo has also forged an intimate connection with the festival. Over the years, the festival has seen a number of prestigious Artistic Directors from violinist Pekka Kuusisto to conductor Hannu Lintu and composer Kaija Saariaho. The festival is supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the City of Porvoo and The Finnish Cultural Foundation.