A Glittering Feast of Chamber Music – Castle in the Water, Penderecki 85 and Naantali 575

The 39th Naantali Music Festival will crown our glorious early summer with the finest chamber music, as concert venues in Naantali, Rymättylä, Raisio and Seili Island welcome some of the world’s leading musicians for nearly a fortnight between 5 and 16 June 2018. And as a rare treat, we shall also have an opportunity to enjoy Aulis Sallinen’s inspiring chronicle The Castle in the Water.

Artistic Director Arto Noras has once again assembled leading figures in the music world for this unique festival, as conductor Dima Slobodeniouk visits Naantali for the first time to lead the Lahti Symphony Orchestra with soloists Christian Altenburger (violin) and one of the world’s premier violists Roberto Diaz. We are also delighted to welcome Camerata Ireland to Naantali for the third time. This highly esteemed orchestra will be led by its founder, the pianist-conductor Barry Douglas, with a concert programme including Mendelssohn’s String Symphony and two Mozart piano concertos.

Naantali Music Festival will celebrate the 85th birthday of the highly distinguished Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, who is unquestionably one of the world’s most important living composers. We are thrilled to mark this special occasion with him in person, and to conclude a special celebration concert in the company of top class musicians, the Maestro will also conduct some of his own choral works performed by the Key Ensemble. The birthday celebrations will continue on the following evening when the Lahti Symphony Orchestra conveys its warmest regards to Penderecki by performing his music together with works by Jean Sibelius.

Aulis Sallinen’s highly acclaimed chronicle The Castle in the Water was premiered at last year’s Savonlinna Opera Festival, and we are now privileged to enjoy this rare masterpiece once again at Naantali in a joint production with Savonlinna Opera Festival and the original soloists from the premiere: Tiina-Maija Koskela, Tuija Knihtilä, Jussi Myllys, Tommi Hakala, and narrator Jukka-Pekka Palo. The work will be conducted at Naantali by Ralf Gothóni.

The splendid voice of soprano Mari Palo will feature in three concerts at this summer’s festival, including the Vallis Gratiae Serenade performed to mark the 575th anniversary of the Royal Charter approving the siting of the Bridgettine abbey at Naantali. A jubilee concert will include a splendid selection of the finest chamber music by Saint-Saëns, Martinů, Schubert and Schumann.

Masters of the younger generation and the most beautiful chamber music

Our Artistic Director Arto Noras has pursued a long and distinguished career as a professor of cello, and we shall once again have an opportunity to join him in the company of young competition winners. The title of the Masters on Stage concert will describe the evening perfectly, as Tami Pohjola (violin), Jonathan Roozeman (cello) and Ossi Tanner (piano) are joined by Hartmut Rohden (viola), Arto Noras (cello) and Ralf Gothóni (piano). We can firmly anticipate a moving and exhilarating experience for both the artists and their audience.

As a leading cellist of the younger generation, Daniel Müller-Schott is a worthy addition to the illustrious cohort of artists at Naantali Music Festival this summer. Performing for the first time at Naantali, he is a prodigy who won the international Tchaikovsky competition for young artists at the tender age of 15 years, and it will be our pleasure to witness his artistry in no fewer than five concerts at Naantali Church. Another distinguished new guest at Naantali will be the French violinist Olivier Charlier, who will feature in several chamber music ensembles during the festival. Rymättylä Church will provide the venue when we welcome the international early music specialist ensemble Musica Poetica to our festival for the first time.

Every year the Vallis Gratiae Academy attracts gifted young string instrumentalists to its training and master classes under the guidance of Naantali Music Festival artists. This summer we shall have an opportunity to hear the stars of the future in an evening Youth Concert at Raisio Church and an afternoon concert at Naantali Spa.

One new concert venue this year will be Casa Haartman in downtown Naantali. Designed by Erik Bryggmann and completed in 1926 as a home for the artist Axel Haartman, the building is now preserved as an officially listed cultural landmark. Casa Haartman will host three afternoon concerts of chamber music, with the admission price also including a guided tour of the building arranged by the Åbo Akademi University Foundation.

Unique specialities add spice to a strong concert package

The core of Naantali Music Festival comprises a strong group of leading artists, including Arto Noras, Elina Vähälä, Jaakko Kuusisto, Patrick Gallois, Michel Lethiec, Joseph Kalichstein, Juhani Lagerspetz and Ralf Gothóni. A further contingent of nearly thirty famous musicians will assist these virtuosi in creating a unique festival experience.

This summer the leading violinist Jaakko Kuusisto will arrive with a special ensemble for dinner and watchnight concerts on a Tango Nuevo theme with singer Maria Ylipää, guitarist Marzi Nyman, accordionist Niko Kumpuvaara and double bassist Ville Herrala. We can look forward to masterful, passionate and heartfelt interpretations of the best-loved compositions of Piazzolla.

The Turku Opera Chamber has prepared a programme of spellbinding operatic arias for a Sunday afternoon festival concert. Sopranos Annukka Kuivisto, Maikki Säikkä and Anni Niemelä will join tenor Kimmo Turunen and baritone Akseli Vanamo in performing popular operatic arias by Mozart, Verdi, Donizetti and many other composers. Marko Autio will provide piano accompaniment, and the concert will be hosted by the Artistic Director of the Turku Opera Chamber, soprano Kaisa Ranta.

A music festival cruise to the island of Seili will combine the love of festival visitors for music and the sea, incorporating the beauty of the summer archipelago en route and an opportunity to hear the fascinating history of Seili Island on arrival. The highlight of the day will then be a Naantali Music Festival concert with Hagaï Shaham (violin), Hartmut Rohde (viola), Arto Noras (cello), Michel Lethiec (clarinet), Jussi Särkkä (bassoon) and the distinguished horn artist Radovan Vlatković.

The highly popular Naantali Children’s Music Festival will be arranged again for the fifth time between 7 and 10 June 2018 in association with Save the Children Finland. The full programme for this event will be announced at the beginning of March.

Tickets for Naantali Music Festival will be available from Lippu.fi ticket outlets from Tuesday 30 January.

For further details please contact:
​​​​​​​Tiina Tunturi, Executive Director
+358 44 516 1718