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.
In spring 2017, Chamber Orchestra Avanti! treats the audience to a colourful selection of classical and contemporary music – without forgetting choice Baroque-era hits. The highlight of the season will be concert Kevään lumous (The Spell of Spring), with the dramatic soprano Karita Mattila dazzling in the lead. A premiere of a new orchestral piece by Lauri Kilpiö will open the concert.
Avanti!’s spring season comprises three concerts: in February Avanti! caps the festival Musica Nova by paying homage to György Ligeti; March will see the orchestra revisit the acclaimed concert Rite at Porvoo Cathedral; and the season will be wrapped up in May by casting the Spell of Spring.
On the last Saturday of May, Helsinki Music Centre will play host to Avanti!’s anticipated end-of-season concert with the brilliant Karita Mattila. Mattila was catapulted to international attention in 1983 when she won the singing contest Cardiff Singer of the World. As chance would have it, Avanti! was founded the same year, and now the paths of these two veritable phenomena of Finnish music cross again with love and its many hues – longing, betrayal, romance and joy – being unleashed in the late May evening.
The pieces to be heard in this concert all share the themes of unfaithful love and wronged female heart. Concert aria ‘Ah, perifido’ by Ludwig van Beethoven is a deceived woman’s outburst of rage; and, similarly, the damsel in Jean Sibelius’s song ‘Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings möte’ falls victim to an infidel lover. In Rydberg’s ‘På verandan vid havet’ the pregnant silence expresses omnipresent longing; whereas in ’Våren flyktar hastigt’ by Runeberg the mere memory of spring encourages to love. Contentment of the heart shines through Robert Schumann’s symphony “Spring”, too: for the that time newly-wedded composer the season is swarming with tokens of romance.
The same concert will see the premiere of a new orchestral work by composer Lauri Kilpiö, one of the most interesting voices of his generation. The piece has been commissioned by Pro Musica Foundation, which also supports the concert.
Conductor Olari Elts.
The first concert of the season will limelight Hungarian-born avant-garde composer György Ligeti and his musical heritage. The public will remember Ligeti’s music especially from the Stanley Kubrick films 2001: Space Odyssey and Eyes Wide Shut. The concert In the Spirit of Ligeti closes the festival Musica Nova and delves into the pervasive Ligetian influence in the works of his son and major students.
Lukas Ligeti’s piece ‘Curtain’ marries European modernism and African rhythms. Inspired by visual arts, the piece applies the technique of layering to music in a way that justifies comparisons to animation artist William Kentdrige. Ligeti paints on the melodic and harmonic canvas provided by the string quartet, creating an intriguing tension between the quartet and the larger ensemble.
“Thall” (Mask), the last part of Unsuk Chin’s cosmigimmicks, is a tribute to György Ligeti. In the centre of this musical pantomime is the guitar. Using only of a few repetitive microtones, the guitar plays a pseudo melody that changes according to the harmonies of other instruments – just like the expression on a mime artist’s face.
Benedict Mason, another important student of Ligeti’s, too, nods to his mentor in his piece “Hinterstoissener traverse”. By restricting itself to the use of only one note, g, this extremely minimalistic piece manages to direct its attention fully to the exploration of rhythm and dynamic.
The concert is a part of the festival Musica Nova and it will be conducted by Clement Power.
First performed in Helsinki’s Temppeliaukio church in April 2016, the much-lauded concert phenomenon Riitti (Rite) returns this spring. This time, Avanti! takes the theme concert to the atmospheric Porvoo Cathedral on 14 March. Rite brings together old and new music and takes advantage of the solemn space and peculiar acoustics of the church milieu.
Of well-known Baroque-era names the programme includes Henry Purcell’s ‘The Queen’s Funeral March’ and Marin Marais’s piece “Sonnerie de Ste-Geneviève du Mont de Paris”, familiar from the biopic All the Mornings of the World.
Here the title “rite” does not only refer to and describe the programme but the form of the whole concert, as well. From to the flamboyance of the Baroque and its well-known pearls, the concert takes us to the futuristic atmospheres of the 1900s, along with a number of rarely performed pieces from the 1950s. Rite will culminate in concerto “Tarinaoopperabaletti” (Story Opera Ballet) for electronic cello, commissioned from Jukka Tiensuu by soloist Juho Laitinen.
The concert is a part of the concert series Taidetehtaan Klassikot and it will be conducted by Lauri Ahokas.
Musica Nova Helsinki 2017 festival program has been published. The final concert of the festival in Music Centre on Sun Feb 12th by Avanti! presents the legacy of György Ligeti through the works of his pupils and son, Lukas Ligeti.
The whole program for Avanti’s spring season will be published soon!
Avanti!’s concert The sound of Welfare continues the orchestra’s series of concerts with a political theme. This performance tackles the relation between art and the welfare state seriously, but with humor.
Jaakko Kuusisto conducts the concert with guest soloist e.g. Johanna Rusanen, Petri Bäckström and Jaakko Kortekangas.
The welfare state has taken ill as the commonplace goes. Can art provide the remedy? Simultaneously with cuts being introduced, arts are being hailed as a form of therapy and funded with this end in mind. But should welfare music be cheery and simple? Can it be played in minor or does this fail to produce the greatest happiness to the greatest number? Could it be that a sign of true social welfare is art that is autonomous and free from all predetermined purposes?
Avanti! will perform with three versatile programs during the fall season. The concerts vary from a thematic orchestra concert at the Cable Factory to an early music club gig with periodic instruments all the way to contemporary new music concert at the Helsinki Music Centre.
See all concerts and ticket information here.
Composer Lotta Wennäkoski will be planning the program for 32nd Avanti Summer Sounds festival, to be organised on 28 June – 2 July 2017. This year’s Summer Sounds Festival, which consisted of fourteen concerts and other events in Porvoo and Pernaja, was attended by an audience of roughly 3 000 people.
Lotta Wennäkoski was the artistic co-ordinator of The Tampere Biennale Festival in 2008–2010 and the composer-in-residence of Tapiola Sinfonietta during the season 2010–2011. Her compositions have 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.
“I was very flattered and surprised by the invitation to become the artistic co-ordinator of the Summer Sounds. It will be a very exciting opportunity to plan the programme for a festival that delivers chamber and orchestral, classical and contemporary music. What a range of possibilities that opens up!” says Wennäkoski.
Closed on 3 July, this year’s Summer Sounds was curated by Moscow-born Finnish conductor Dima Slobodeniouk. The five-day festival saw fourteen concerts and other events, six of which free, take place around Porvoo and Pernaja. In all, the festival was attended by roughly 3 000 visitors. Like in previous years, a bus service operated between Helsinki and the Art Factory, taking visitors to the festival and back during the festival.
The principal supporters of the Summer Sounds are the City of Porvoo, Aktiasäätiö, Neste, Porvoo Art Factory and the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.
Avanti! warmly thanks the festival audience and supporters and wishes all friends of the orchestra a wonderful summer!