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FRSO to perform all ten Mahler symphonies in the 2018/2019 season

RSO Mahler-sarja logo
RSO Mahler-sarja logo Gustav Mahler

Forthcoming season also one of great pianists – from Evgeny Kissin to Yuja Wang

The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra is to perform all ten Mahler symphonies in the 2018/2019 season in a cycle titled Mahler x 10 – the first complete Mahler symphony project to be carried out at the Helsinki Music Centre. “No one symbolises Europeanism more fully than Mahler,” says Chief Conductor Hannu Lintu. “Woven into his life and work are all the inter-nation traumas and dreams that have moulded our modern and civilised Europe.” Other highlights of next season are the visits by top pianists, for the FRSO will be welcoming such artists as Evgeny Kissin, Sir András Schiff, Yuja Wang and Fazil Say as its soloists.

Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand” at the Helsinki Festival

The FRSO Mahler cycle begins at the Helsinki Festival on 24.8., when Hannu Lintu will conduct the “Symphony of a Thousand”, No. 8, with a giant ensemble plus eight vocal soloists and a choir of 250 singers. The soloists are all Finnish and include Camilla Nylund, Johanna Rusanen-Kartano, Lilli Paasikivi, Tommi Hakala and Mika Kares.

Also conducting Mahler will be the FRSO’s honorary conductors Sakari Oramo and Jukka-Pekka Saraste, and guests Manfred Honeck, David Zinman and Ryan Wigglesworth. The soloist in the fourth symphony will be Pelageya Kurennaya from the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg – a singer already making an impressive career. Golda Schultz, highly acclaimed at the New York Metropolitan, will be the soloist in No. 2.

Evgeny Kissin to give his first performance of a Liszt piano concerto

The forthcoming FRSO season is one of great pianists. Audiences at the season’s opening concerts on 5. & 6.9. can hear the great Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin give his very first public performance of Liszt’s first piano concerto. Sir András Schiff, who has already appeared with the FRSO a number of times, will be the soloist in Beethoven’s first piano concerto and will also conduct the orchestra. Charismatic Yuja Wang will star in the Schumann piano concerto and Fazil Say, also known as a human rights activist, in a concerto by Ravel. The other top pianists appearing with the FRSO include Seong-Jin Cho, Stephen Hough and Olli Mustonen.

Not all the FRSO soloists are pianists. Amihai Grosz, principal viola in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, will play the Bartók viola concerto with Tugan Sokhiev conducting. Ilya Gringolts will perform the Beethoven concerto at three concerts conducted by Klaus Mäkelä, and cellist Li Wei Qin will be the soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations.

Finnish premiere of Zimmermann’s vocal symphony Die Soldaten

In addition to the Mahler theme, the programme for the season will feature great works for orchestra and Finnish premieres. The vocal symphony version of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s opera Die Soldaten, the second symphony by Thomas Larcher – sometimes hailed as Mahler’s successor – and Tyondai Braxton’s TELEKINESIS can all be heard for the first time in Finland. Baritone Matthias Goerne, Artist in Residence of the New York Philharmonic for the 2018/2019 season, will sing Shostakovich’s settings of poems by Michelangelo – a work Shostakovich regarded as his sixteenth symphony. Other great orchestral frescoes in the season’s repertoire will include the second and third symphonies by Lutosławski, the sixth symphony by Rautavaara, and Totentanz by Thomas Adès with the composer himself to conduct it.

The first symphony commissioned from Kimmo Hakola years ago will be premiered in December. Among the other new works for orchestra are ones by Sebastian Hill and Ville Raasakka. The soloist in the premiere of the trombone concerto by Jukka Tiensuu will be the FRSO’s own ace trombonist Darren Acosta, and that in the premiere of the cello concerto jointly commissioned by the FRSO and the NDR Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg will be Nicolas Altstaedt.

Discs of Lutosławski, Zimmermann and Kokkonen

The partnership between the FRSO, Hannu Lintu and the Ondine label has most recently resulted in a disc of Sibelius tone poems and songs that won the International Classical Music Award in 2018. The close collaboration continues and in the forthcoming season will include the last works in the complete recording of the works of Lutosławski and the start of a project recording the Bartók piano concertos with Olli Mustonen. The orchestra will also be recording orchestral works by Zimmermann and Joonas Kokkonen’s Requiem. For Hyperion, the FRSO is to record all the Beethoven piano concertos with Stephen Hough, and BIS is to release a CD of orchestral works by Sebastian Fagerlund.

Yle to transmit FRSO concerts round the world

All the concerts in the FRSO series will be broadcast live on the radio Yle Radio 1 and streamed in the internet at Yle Areena, where they can also be accessed later. Individual works or parts of concerts will also be shown on Sundays on Yle Teema with repeats on Saturdays on Yle TV 1. Some of the recordings have been sold for international distribution via the ARTE Concertonline service.