NYKY Ensemble & Klangforum Wien: Georg Friedrich Haas, in vain

Musicians from the Austrian contemporary music ensemble Klangforum Wien, comprised of 24 soloists from 10 countries, arrive to Helsinki to work and perform with NYKY Ensemble of Sibelius Academy as part of the international visitors programme of the Sibelius Academy

You can watch a free recording of the concert on Youtube, 31 December until 23:59.

Concert introduction

During the period the students of NYKY Ensemble will work with the coaching of musicians from Klangforum Wien on Georg Friedrich Haas’s composition in vain (2000). The ensemble on stage will consist of half players from NYKY Ensemble and half from Klangforum Wien.

in vain is a large-scale, almost symphonic piece, which has often been mentioned as one of the first cult pieces of 21st century contemporary music. The programmatic aspects in the work are connected to an idea of a struggle, a struggle which is endlessly continued “in vain”. The composer has mentioned that during its conception, the work was a desperate answer to the worrying rise of right-wing populist politics during the 1990’s in Austria, the composer’s home country. 

The large-scale form of the piece is a journey between musical opposing forces: frantic, stormy musical motion and frozen stasis, the ordinary equal tempered tuning system and pure sounding microtonal just intonation, light and darkness. The frantic music in the beginning seems to be constantly trying to reach a destination without being able to depart from its starting point. In the middle section, a stationary and pure music in just intonation suggest an arrival to a primeval musical utopia. However, the utopia is broken, and the struggle shows its futility, when a chaos little by little lurks back into the music. 

in vain includes also an immersive visual experience.  The music begins in an ordinary concert lighting and gradually shifts to complete darkness in the hall, as the music plunges to new sounding worlds. 

Please note that the performance includes short sections of darkness, and some flashing lights.


Emilio Pomarico, conductor

Klangforum Wien 
Thomas Frey, flute
Markus Deuter, oboe            
Bernhard Zachhuber, clarinet                                                
Lorelei Dowling, bassoon
Christoph Walder, horn
Michael Büttler, trombone
Alex Lipowski, percussion
Florian Müller, piano
Georgios Lolas, accordion
Dimitrios Polisoidis, viola
Benedikt Leitner, cello

NYKY Ensemble 
Stella Michael, flute
Taavi Orro, clarinet
Ita Nagode, saxophone
Heidi Savikuja, horn
Henrik Kolehmainen, trombone
Touko Leinonen, percussion
Maaria Pulakka, harp
Mieko Kanno, violin
Serguei Gonzalez Pavlova, violin
Yonatan Quemado, violin
Mariette Reefman, viola
Hannes Jämsä, cello
Aleksi Ruonavaara, double bass

Klangforum Wien

Klangforum Wien is one of the most remarkable international contemporary music ensembles. The educational co-operation with NYKY Ensemble and Klangforum Wien begins with the in vain period in Helsinki and continues during spring 2022 as NYKY Ensemble travels to Vienna to work with the ensemble, featuring performances of two new works by composers of the Sibelius Academy.

picture: Tina Herzl

NYKY Ensemble

NYKY Ensemble is a contemporary music ensemble of the Sibelius Academy established in 2009. The artistic director is Professor Tuija Hakkila. The ensemble gives regular performances and serves as a forum for contemporary music projects introducing students to past and current trends in contemporary music.

Further information: Janne Kivistö, janne.kivisto@uniarts.fi

Klangforum Wien’s teaching visit and its concluding concert are part of the International Visitor program launched at the Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts in 2019. It complements the regular bachelor’s and master’s studies offered by the Sibelius Academy by inviting artists who represent the highest talent level of their respective fields to come and teach in Finland. The distinguished visiting artists work alongside students and teachers at the Sibelius Academy mainly in periods of one year or two years at a time. The international visitor programme has been supported by the Jane and Aatos Erkko foundation and Jenny and Antti Wihuri foundation.

Music – of a more recent variety

The students of the Sibelius Academy perform in over 700 concerts each year. The concerts of the internationally renowned academy open doors for future top artists and offer unforgettable experiences.


8.10.2021 at 19:00 – 20:15


Helsinki Music Centre

Töölönlahdenkatu 16

00100 Helsinki



Fully booked

Further information

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