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Naantali Music Festival 2017 will be a brilliant celebration of the Finnish centenary year, world premieres and birthdays

The 38th Naantali Music Festival will bring its unique ambience to the early summer scenery of Naantali and to the surrounding districts and archipelago between 6 and 17 June 2017. Pride of place this year goes to the centenary of Finnish independence and to the 70-year musical odyssey of our distinguished Artistic Director, Professor Arto Noras, whom we shall honour by making a false start to the 2017 festival to mark his 75th birthday on Friday 12 May with the concert Vita brevis – ars longa, 75 years with Arto and 70 years with his cello! at Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki. This unusual event will feature soprano Marjukka Tepponen and conductor Ralf Gothóni, together with a 36-instrument cello orchestra largely comprising first and second-generation students of Professor Noras. Another concert celebrating Arto Noras will be arranged at Naantali Church on Friday 9 June, where Professor Noras will perform in three ensembles: with clarinettist Michel Lethiec, violinist Elina Vähälä, and cellists Frans Helmerson and Ivan Monighetti. The concert will also include a performance of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Concerto Grosso No. 1, for three cellos and orchestra. The Turku Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by Penderecki in person and by Okko Kamu. Naantali Music Festival will end in highly distinguished company when former Finnish President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari speaks for peace at the closing concert on Saturday 17 June. President Ahtisaari will celebrate his 80th birthday less than a week after this event.

Three world premieres from Olli Kortekangas and Aulis Sallinen

Naantali Music Festival will also provide an opportunity this year to hear a total of three world premiere performances of works from leading Finnish composers. Part of the official Finnish centenary programme, the VIA-oratorio by Olli Kortekangas was composed for five soloists, two choirs, organ and orchestra. Our concert performance will feature soprano Suvi Väyrynen, mezzosoprano Melis Jaatinen, tenor Tuomas Katajala, baritone Ville Rusanen, bass Nicholas Söderlund, the Emo Ensemble, the Key Ensemble, organist Kari Vuola and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vänskä. The work was commissioned by the National Ecclesiastical Board of Finland to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The closing concert on Saturday 17 June will provide an opportunity to hear The Sea of Peace, a new clarinet quartetto by Aulis Sallinen. Another new Sallinen composition is a song cycle based on a poem by Helvi Juvonen to be premiered by soprano Johanna Rusanen-Kartano, baritone Ville Rusanen and pianist Pami Karvonen at the Kultaranta garden concert on 15 June. Naantali Music Festival has enjoyed exclusive permission since the early 1980s to arrange outdoor concerts in the grounds of Kultaranta, the official summer residence of the President of Finland. Our Kultaranta concert in 2017 will also include a recitation of Finnish poetry based on Behold the Northern Sky, an anthology by First Lady of Finland Jenni Haukio that is due for release in the spring. The recitation will feature the leading Finnish actor Esko Salminen.

International orchestral guests and world-class recitals

A wide range of top class chamber music is always the best thing about Naantali Music Festival, and our programme this summer will include works representing not only Finnish, but also other cultural influences, as evidenced by concert titles such as an Evening in Paris, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty and a Viennese Evening concert. The Hamburger Camerata orchestra conducted by Ralf Gothóni will visit Naantali Music Festival for the first time with a concert programme including the Bizet-Shchedrin Carmen Suite and Felix Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto, featuring soloists Ralf Gothóni on piano and Ju-Young Baek on violin.

The festival programme will also include three consecutive days of top class recitals from pianist Grigori Sokolov, soprano Soile Isokoski and violinist Cho-Liang Lin, who will perform a programme of music by Mozart, Franz Schubert and Beethoven with Ralf Gothóni at a violin afternoon concert in Rymättylä Church on Sunday 11 June. Grigori Sokolov will turn his artistic attention to Mozart on Monday 12 June as he graces Naantali Music Festival with his distinguished presence for the fifth time. Half a century has now elapsed since Sokolov began his career with concerts in Finland after winning the 1966 International Tchaikovsky Competition. A recital on Tuesday 13 June will feature renowned soprano Soile Isokoski with a programme including music from Finnish composers Toivo Kuula, Yrjö Kilpinen and Aulis Sallinen. Our festival will turn to a lighter programme on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 June, with Sting concerts at the Naantali Spa Ballroom and dinner at the Kaivohuone restaurant. Kaivohuone will also be the venue for an afternoon concert on Saturday 17 June, when soprano Mari Palo will perform with the Total Cello Ensemble.

Naantali Music Festival archipelago cruise to Örö Fortress Island, Vallis Gratiae Academy and Naantali Children’s Music Festival

In association with Matkapojat travel, Naantali Music Festival will organise a wonderful Music Festival Cruise to the uniquely scenic and historic Örö Fortress Island for a concert of chamber music masterpieces in the company of our leading artists Arto Noras, Michel Lethiec, Bruno Pasquier, Jaakko Kuusisto and Elina Vähälä.

The annual Vallis Gratiae Academy for talented young string musicians is arranged in partnership with Naantali Music Festival, and also provides a forum for festival artists to take master classes. The Academy will present its concluding free admission concert in Raisio Church at 10 p.m. on Wednesday 14 June, and performances from students will also commence at 3 p.m. every day between 8 and 15 June at Naantali Spa.

Naantali Children’s Music Festival will be organised in association with Save the Children for the fourth time between 8 and 11 June, with a varied cultural programme for the whole family.

Tickets for Naantali Music Festival concerts are on sale at Ticket Service Finland, Naantali Tourist Information and Ars Musica in Turku.

For further details please contact:
Tiina Tunturi, Executive Director
tiina.tunturi@naantali.fi, tel. +358 44 516 1718

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