Sibafest: Sakari Oramo & Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra: New Beginnings

When composing their works, composers featured in the concert were faced with something new and fascinating

We will comply with coronavirus restrictions

Based on an order issued by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland, the events of the University of the Arts Helsinki have been cancelled for the public until 31 January 2022. We will comply with the Agency’s guidelines, and the concerts will be arranged live in a safe manner as soon as possible.


  • Gershwin: An American in Paris
  • Brahms: Viulukonsertto Op. 77
  • Sibelius: Symphony no 1


  • Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra
  • Sakari Oramo, conductor
  • Adrian Ibañez-Resjan, violin


The Sibelius couple had overcome their marriage crisis and in January 1905, Jean headed over to Berlin with a new lease of life to compose and conduct his works. The incidental music for Pelléas and Melisande can be considered the key work of the Symbolist period of Sibelius on a road that led to the birth of Symphony No. 4 and Luonnotar (Daughter of Nature).

Throughout his short life, George Gershwin continuously mastered new things. After starting his career as a pianist, Gershwin turned into a singer and, thereafter, a master of Broadway musicals. He was, however, fascinated by classical music. The tremendous success did not prevent him from constantly developing his skills in harmony, musical form and orchestration. Gershwin was warmly welcomed by Paris and the composers Prokofjev and Poulenc based in the city. In the 1920s, he had already established himself as the most well-known composer of the United States. As a musical souvenir from the journey, the symphonic poem American in Paris was created, which describes the amazement and homesickness of an American tourist during a visit to Europe.

In his Violin Concerto, Johannes Brahms continued in the same vein as in his Piano Concerto No. 1 by integrating the solo section into the symphonic story told by the orchestra.

Violinist Adrian Ibañez-Resjan, on the other hand, will be facing new challenges when aiming in the Sibelius Violin Competition in May.

In the early 20th century, Paris treated foreign composers differently. In the early summer of 1900 when Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) arrived there with the orchestra of Robert Kajanus in order to participate in the World’s Fair programme, important critics had already started their summer vacation. The composer’s arrival was not as much of a celebration as it had been in Berlin earlier. But Paris did not discourage the composer who remained open to different influences. In 1905, Sibelius was back in Berlin, where he became familiar with Claude Debussy’s Nocturnes. He was working on stage music for a major Symbolist work, Maurice Maeterlinck’s (1862–1949) play Pelléas et Mélisande (1893). The composer immediately understood what the play was about and the result ended up being a sophisticated work exuding Symbolism that surprised the listeners completely.

George Gershwin was a perfectionist: eight years passed between the commissioning of the Porgy and Bess opera and the completion of the composition, because Gershwin wanted to fine-tune his work until he was convinced that it met all the principles of an excellent classical opera. Gershwin introduced something new to the musical life of the United States by combining completely different idioms: blues and symphonic orchestra music.

Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra’s concert culminates in Violin Concerto (Op. 77) by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), dating back to 1878, which he composed for his long-term friend, the Hungarian Jewish József Joachim (1831–1907). For 25 years already, the friends had shared an interest old music, as both Joachim and Brahms studied the work of Renaissance and Baroque composers in order to fine-tune their counterpoint. Adrian Ibañez-Resja shines as the soloist of the piece.

TRIVIA: In addition to the Violin Concerto, what else did Brahms and Joachim have in common in 1878? Answer: They both grew a beard.

Further information: Márta Schmidt

Sibafest – Recovery Tour

The tour of twenty concerts fills the gap left by the pandemic with live music of various genres. Sibafest begins at the Helsinki Music Centre on 17 January 2022 and continues throughout the spring until 5 May 2022 in Helsinki, Järvenpää, Seinäjoki and Kuopio. The stage is taken by students of the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki. Sibafest, now organised for the ninth time, is the biennial main event of the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki. The event presents the Academy’s internationally high-quality concert activities.


5.2.2022 at 16:00 – 18:00


Concert Hall

Mannerheimintie 13a

00100 Helsinki

Helsinki Music Centre


11,50–35 €

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Further information

We want to create a safe event experience even during the corona. Please read the safety instructions here before arriving at the event.


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