Helsinki Festival programme is complete – The Night of the Arts brings music to the parks

The Night of the Arts kicks off Helsinki Festival with a round of concerts broadcast to three parks in Helsinki. Several concerts have been added to the classical music programme, for example, the premiere of the trumpet concerto created through the collaboration of Kaija Saariaho and Verneri Pohjola. Huvilanranta is open to the public for over five weeks, and Huvila’s concert series is opened by Yeboyah and friends.

Kicking off Helsinki Festival and offering free programme to the residents of the city, the Night of the Arts will be celebrated throughout Helsinki on Thursday, 17 August. This year, the Helsinki Festival motto “art belongs to everyone” gets a new interpretation as the concerts of the Festival’s first nights are broadcast in real time to three parks in the city centre for residents to enjoy. The Music in the Parks series begins on the Night of the Arts with a concert by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Jukka-Pekka Saraste at Musiikkitalo, continuing on the following days with the 50th birthday concert by The Tallis Scholars at Temppeliaukio Church (18 August) and Jonna Tervomaa’s Suljettu Sydän concert at Huvila (19 August). The concerts will be broadcast on three nights to Tähtitorninmäki, Mustikkamaa and Sinebrychoff Parks. The Music in the Parks series is realised together with Helsinki Festival’s main partner Elisa.

Helsinki Festival’s opening work, an inclusive film project by Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, will be screened at Kansalaistori on the Night of the Arts. Celebrating their 20th anniversary as artists, the Kalleinens selected screenplays for final scenes of disaster movies through an open call, and the call for actors is currently ongoing. The selected scenes will be filmed during the summer, and the project’s climax will be the screening of three final scenes of disaster movies set in Kansalaistori, accompanied by live music performed by Cleaning Women.

At the heart of the Night of the Arts are events produced by the residents of Helsinki themselves. The open call for events opened today on the Night of the Arts website.

Finnish additions strengthen the classical music programme

In addition to the already-published international classical music guests, Helsinki Festival will host several concerts by Finnish orchestras and ensembles. The concert series begins with the concert of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra broadcast to the parks of Helsinki on the Night of the Arts, with Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducting the works of three composers from Helsinki, namely Lotta Wennäkoski, Einojuhani Rautavaara and Uuno Klami. With four performances at Dance House Helsinki, Ajamana is a work commissioned by Tölöläb and Awake Percussion from Juhani Nuorvala, a composer they both admire. The Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera celebrates its 60th anniversary with a concert that features the cantata Faust et Hélène by Lili Boulanger and Symphony No. 5 by Gustav Mahler. The collaboration between Kaija Saariaho and Verneri Pohjola started in early 2022 and climaxes in the premiere of Saariaho’s trumpet concerto Hush at Musiikkitalo on 24 August. The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Susanna Mälkki.

Huvilanranta opens three weeks before Helsinki Festival

Last year, Huvilanranta, a large festival centre open to the public, was opened around the iconic Helsinki Festival venue of Huvila. This year, the terrace area opens three weeks before Helsinki Festival begins. The free Huvilanranta offers a changing restaurant selection as well as music played by topical and interesting DJ pairs from Helsinki for the duration of the entire festival.

Huvila’s wide-ranging concert series consists of international guests and performances by Finnish artists marking their special days, the opening evening of which is on Thursday, 17 August. The special-length concert begins earlier than normal and stars Yeboyah, F, Hassan Maikal, Pesso, Yrjänä, Figaro and DJ Renaz Ebrahimi. The entire Huvila programme is now complete and opening acts have been confirmed: for example, the Dumari ja Spuget & Blosarit concert’s opening act is Hammond organ artist Kalle Salonen with his new ensemble that includes Jukka Gustavson of Wigwam fame and Pekka Gröhn from J. Karjalainen’s band. The opening act for the Agatha 2 concert by Kerkko Koskinen, Linda Fredriksson and UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra is Iisa, who performs her only gig of the summer at Huvila.

Two performing art works as part of the Performing HEL showcase event

Helsinki Festival is involved in the Performing HEL event that showcases performing arts for Finnish and international markets. Taking place between 31 August and 3 September, the event will feature the collaborative Helsinki Festival performances ONSTAGE – The Concert by Tiia Kasurinen and Two Phone Calls by Tuomo Rämö, a work commissioned for Helsinki Festival’s performing arts programme last year. This documentary work is based on two important phone calls made by Aleksey Navalnyi and Donald Trump in recent years. ONSTAGE – The Concert is an exploration into the world of stage charisma and alter egos that combines dance work with a club gig.

Helsinki Festival’s friendship festivals, Alakulttuuripäivä, Art goes Kapakka, Helsinki Contemporary Opera Festival, Outsider Art Festival, Poetry Moon, SAMPO Festival, Teatteri Sirkus Suosalo and Viapori Jazz, also provide diverse programme.

Helsinki Festival will be celebrated 17 August – 3 September 2023. The event programme is complete and tickets to all performances and concerts are being sold by Ticketmaster or Huvilanranta is open 28 July – 3 September. More of the Huvilanranta programme will be published during the spring.

Helsinki Festival’s main partners are Helsingin Sanomat and Elisa, the sponsor is Accenture and service partners include Akun tehdas, Bryggeri, Heku, Marski by Scandic and Renault.

Image: Kaija Saariaho / Christophe-Abramowitz