LuostoClassic 2016 brought the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, soprano Soile Isokoski and Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks to the Finnish fells
LuostoClassic, now being held for the 14th time, ran from August 11 to 14 at Pyhä-Luosto and Sodankylä. The programme for 2016 included five open-air and nine indoor concerts, plus a composer meeting and a guided musical nature tour.
The Lapland Chamber Orchestra, the visiting orchestra this August, is a familiar guest at LuostoClassic. An award-winning orchestra, gave two performances at Luosto under its Artistic Director-conductor John Storgårds. The soloist at Aittakuru was Japanese-Canadian violinist Karen Gomyo, and at the festival’s closing concert at Ukko-Luosto top soprano Soile Isokoski, who made her first appearance at LuostoClassic. The Lapland Chamber Orchestra Wind Quintet struck up the festival’s first notes at the opening concert at Ahvenlampi.
The guest composer at this year’s LuostoClassic was one of the greatest of today, Latvian Pēteris Vasks, who made 70 this spring. There were eight works by this prolific composer on the festival programme. At the public lecture on Saturday morning he was interviewed by fellow-composer Kalevi Aho. The other composers on the programme clocking up round figures in 2016 were Einar Englund (1916–1999), born 100 years ago, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), born 260 years ago.
The Fine Artist of LuostoClassic 2016 was Sodankylä based Helena Junttila, who is one of the best-known contemporary artists in Lapland. The painter has become known by her Sumi ink drawings and paintings, which elaborate the human mind. The Timeless Landscape of Mind -exhibition was open 10.–14.8.2016 at the lobby of Lapland Hotel Luostotunturi and conference room Jänkä from 11 am to 6 pm (free entrance). Artist Junttila was present during the exhibition opening hours. She told about her art and work on Saturday the 13th of August at 2 pm in Lapland Hotel Luostotunturi, conference room Jänkä (free entrance).
Helena Junttila: Encounter, acrylic on paper (2014), 59 x 78 cm
As in the past two years, chamber music was very much to the fore in the programme for the summer 2016, and chamber ensembles made up of guest artists performed at a number of concerts. Representing this summer’s non-Finnish artists were violinist Karen Gomyo and the Grupo Vandalus, Japanese-Australian Hiyoli Togawa, viola, and American Doron Sherwin, cornett. The Finnish artists were Soile Isokoski, soprano, Mark Gothóni, violin, Timo Korhonen, guitar, Martti Rautio & Ilkka Paananen, piano, Eero Palviainen, lute, and LuostoClassic’s Artistic Director Marko Ylönen, cello.
LuostoClassic has traditionally been a classical music festival, but this August there were three rich deviations from this policy. One was a living legend in Finland’s light music: Pave Maijanen. At the Classics concert by Maijanen and the Polaris String Quartet at Ukko-Luosto on Friday evening audiences could hear settings by him of poems by Unto Kupiainen. By contrast, the Uppo Nalle musical play performed by the Northern Opera Company entertained families at the Kopara Reindeer Park on Saturday afternoon.
Vandalus – Flamenco oriental on Saturday evening struck a completely new spark when two elements – fiery flamenco and the eastern Mediterranean – engaged in steamy dialogue at the Lapland Hotel Luostotunturi. The programme was in the hands of the Grupo Vandalus, a multinational group of players and dancers led by flamenco guitar wizard Raúl Mannola, a Finn who has strong connections with Spain. The other players are Michel Gasco, Arabic lute, Alberto Centella, flute, Pancho Brañas, percussion, Sonia Cortés, flamenco singer and Eleonora Bayaz, dancer.
The Youth LuostoClassic Orchestra Camp for young players in Lapland was held for the third time on August 7–14. During the festival these youngsters had a chance to demonstrate their skills at the Music Goes to the Fells nature trail and the camp’s closing concert in Sodankylä Church.
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The classical music compass points north – to LuostoClassic waiting in the fells
A good 100 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle lies the beautiful Pyhä-Luosto region. And it is here, surrounded by wild arctic scenery, that LuostoClassic will fill the air with music for the 15th time in August 2017.
LuostoClassic is a ground-breaking classical music event held in unique open-air arenas set in the magical, mysterious fells of Lapland. Visitors may wonder at the acoustics of the Ice Age screes at Aittakuru, enjoy the peace and quiet by the Ahvenlampi waters, share their concert with the curious Kopara reindeer or laze among blueberries on Luosto Fell. The LuostoClassic concerts are the harmonious combination of a passion for music and stunning scenery.
LuostoClassic dates back to 2003, the year in which Kalevi Aho’s Luosto Symphony was premiered on the fell-side. The Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary in style in August 2012, when its main guest was the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. One of the best-known orchestras in Europe, the BBC Philharmonic made its first appearance in Finland at our very own Ukko-Luosto. Our other visiting orchestras have included the Finnish Radio Symphony (twice), the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Guards Band, the Sinfonietta Rīga, the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and numerous guest artists from Finland and abroad.
In the early years, the focus at LuostoClassic was on orchestral concerts, but the event has gradually evolved into an all-round classical-music festival in which the emphasis is, in terms of the number of concerts, on chamber music. The reception for chamber music has been excellent, as proved by the fact that many of the concerts in 2015 were sold out.
The Pyhä-Luosto region will once again be filled with classical music in August 2017. The concert venues are already familiar to festival audiences: Ahvenlampi, Santa’s Hotel Aurora, Aittakuru, the Lapland Hotel Luostotunturi, the Vaisko Restaurant, the Chapel of the Northern Lights, the Kopara Reindeer Park, Sodankylä Church and the majestic open-air platform at Ukko-Luosto. Last year another venue was added to the list: Sodankylä Old Church, built in the 17th century.
We invite all classical music lovers to join us on a musical visit to Lapland – LuostoClassic, naturally, now for the 15th time!
LuostoClassic will be held for the 15th time in the Pyhä-Luosto region of Finnish Lapland and at Sodankylä on August 10–13, 2017.