Northern Lights

Wed 22/11/2023 19:00 - 21:00


Anna Clyne's cello concerto revolves around the verses of the Persian mystic Rumi. Inbal Segev plays the concerto with dark tone and deep insight. (Gramophone).

“Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance, when you're perfectly free.” Anna Clyne's cello concerto revolves around the verses of the Persian mystic Rumi. Inbal Segev plays the concerto with dark tone and deep insight. (Gramophone). A rarely heard early version of Sibelius's fifth symphony is preceded by an overture, the strings of which are tied by a band of visiting folk musicians.

Thomas Dausgaard

Thomas Dausgaard (born 1963), is a Danish conductor. He was Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from 2016 to 2022. Additionally, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra from 2014 to 2019, and Music Director from 2019 to 2022. 

As a guest conductor, Dausgaard has engaged with eminent orchestras worldwide. He is a regular presence at esteemed festivals, such as the BBC Proms, Salzburg Festival, Ravinia Festival, and Tanglewood Festival.

Dausgaard mixes classical music with diverse genres. He brings folk musicians to Sibelius, Stravinsky, Brahms, or Bartok. He melds Mahler with klezmer music, Debussy with gamelan ensembles, and Rachmaninoff with orthodox chants. Several of these programmes have been presented at the BBC Proms.

Dausgaard holds several titles of Honorary Conductor. He has been honoured with the Danish Cross of Chivalry and elected as a fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in Sweden.

Before this concert, Dausgaard has directed The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014 and 2018. 

Thomas Dausgaard - Official website of conductor Thomas Dausgaard

Inbal Segev

A unique occasion for the Helsinki Music Centre audience, the cellist Inbal Segev makes her debut with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra performing Anna Clyne’s DANCE, a concerto originally co-commissioned and premiered by her. In 2020, Segev recorded DANCE with Marin Alsop and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The album was an instant success, with its most popular movement having received over ten million listens on Spotify, as of today.

Inbal Segev’s recordings and performances cover a wide-ranging repertoire from contemporary music to classical works. Segev came to international attention at the age of 18 when she made debuts with both the Berlin Philharmonic and Israel Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta. Since then, she has appeared as soloist with pre-eminent orchestras, collaborating with many of the world’s foremost conductors. In addition, she is appraised for her recitals and as a dedicated chamber musician.

Today, the Israeli-American Segev resides in New York. She holds degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School. 

Inbal Segev

Timo Alakotila

Timo Alakotila (born 1959) is a Finnish musician and composer. Alakotila served as a teacher at the Pop & Jazz Conservatory from 1983 to 2014 and at the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts in Helsinki from 1989 to 2013.

At this concert, Alakotila plays the harmonium. In collaboration with conductor Thomas Dausgaard, he has arranged the prelude to Sibelius’ symphony. At the 2019 BBC Proms, Dausgaard conducted Sibelius' Fifth Symphony with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. As a prelude to the Symphony, Finnish folk music performed by Timo Alakotila and his colleagues was featured.

Kantele player Anna-Karin Korhonen and singers Tero Pajunen, Ilona Korhonen, and Minna-Liisa Tammela, are Masters and Doctors of Music trained at the Sibelius Academy. They are composers, lyricists, choir conductors, educators, sound designers, arrangers, instrumentalists, and singers. In the 2019 Proms, Vilma Timonen played the kantele, whereas Anna-Karin Korhonen now performs on it. Hoffrén, Ilona Korhonen, and Tammela were part of the original lineup.

Timo Alakotila - Composer & Musician

Edvard Grieg: Two Nordic Melodies, Op. 63

It was only after he became interested in the folk music of his native Norway that Edvard Grieg (1843–1907) really found a voice of his own; its melodies, harmonies and rhythm would thereafter colour his music. He also made many arrangements of Norwegian folk tunes, thus helping his rise to become ‘Norway’s national composer’. His biographer Henry T. Finck wrote, “The essential feature of Norwegian folk songs, as compared with German ones, is a deep melancholy, which can suddenly veer into wild, uninhibited humour.”

The Two Nordic Melodies for string orchestra date from 1895. The melody of one is not actually folk music at all, having been composed by the French Ambassador to Norway, Fredrik Due, and Grieg later named it In Folk Style. The other one is an introduction and scherzo: a dreamy Cow-call followed by a boisterous Peasant Dance. Grieg had already used both melodies in his Norwegian Folk Songs and Dances suite for piano of 1869.

Anna Clyne: DANCE

DANCE was a chance for Anna Clyne (b. 1980), herself a cellist, to explore the instrument’s potential. It alludes to a poem by the 13th-century Persian poet and mystic Rumi, each line of which provides the heading for a movement: “Dance, when you’re broken open. / Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. / Dance in the middle of the fighting. / Dance in your blood. / Dance, when you’re perfectly free.”

“Concertos,” says Clyne, “tend to get off to a dramatic start with a lot of energy, but I wanted to do the opposite, to start with very tender and delicate music. I imagined the fragility of being shattered apart. The second movement is much faster, a lot more aggressive. The third movement imagines discovering a moment within the chaos. It’s a slow, repeating cycle above which the cello plays a soulful melody. The fourth movement presents music in contrast to the previous, more delicate one, and the last almost stands alone from the rest of the concerto and ends with a very simple melody.”

Thomas Dausgaard / Timo Alakotila: Prelude to Sibelius 5

In 2019, Thomas Dausgaard had been engaged to conduct the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in performances of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto and Symphony No. 5 at the London Proms. Also on the programme for the concert were the premieres of Preludes to both works highlighting the affinity between Finnish folk tunes and the music of Sibelius. Dausgaard had sent Timo Alakotila, a Finnish composer and leading expert on Finnish folk music, various melodic motifs from the Sibelius symphony and concerto and Alakotila duly began trawling through collections of Finnish folk music to see what correspondences he could find. “Sibelius studied folk music and borrowed ideas from it, so it seemed a great idea to connect it with his symphony and concerto,” says Alakotila, who himself played the harmonium at the Proms. With him were Pekka Kuusisto, the soloist in the concerto, three singers, and a player of the Finnish folk instrument, the kantele.

Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 5 in E Flat Major, Op. 82

In his diary for April 1915, Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) reports that he has spent the evening working on his Fifth Symphony. It was, he said, as if God the Father had tossed pieces of mosaic down from heaven and set him the task of putting the pieces together. This proved to be no easy task, and one that kept the maestro busy for years. Even after the highly-acclaimed first performance in 1915, he was still not satisfied; he revised the Symphony and the third and final version was not premiered until 1919, by the HPO with Sibelius himself conducting.

One of the most popular works in the Sibelius repertoire, the Fifth Symphony sounds misleadingly “simple”. It is every musical analyst’s dream, being strictly logical in its construction. Originally casting it in four movements, Sibelius gradually warmed to the idea of combining the first two. Taking the lead in the finale is the magnificent “swan theme” on the brass, and the symphony culminates in six laconic blasts on the orchestra.

Violin 1
Jan Söderblom 
Eija Hartikainen 
Katariina Jämsä 
Maiju Kauppinen 
Elina Lehto 
Ilkka Lehtonen 
Jani Lehtonen 
Kari Olamaa 
Kalinka Pirinen 
Petri Päivärinne 
Elina Viitasaari 
Totti Hakkarainen
Jukka Merjanen
Dhyani Gylling
Anna Husgafvel
Tuomas Ikonen

Violin 2
Anna-Leena Haikola
Maaria Leino 
Heini Eklund 
Teppo Ali-Mattila
Liam Mansfield
Terhi Ignatius
Harry Rayner
Virpi Taskila
Anna-Maria Huohvanainen
Taru Kircher
Sanna Kokko
Katinka Korkeala
Sophia Miettunen

Torsten Tiebout 
Petteri Poijärvi 
Aulikki Haahti-Turunen
Kaarina Ikonen
Tiila Kangas
Ulla Knuuttila
Carmen Moggach
Mariette Reefman
Liisa Orava
Jaakko Laivuori
Laura Világi

Lauri Kankkunen 
Tuomas Ylinen 
Beata Antikainen
Mathias Hortling
Veli-Matti Iljin
Jaakko Rajamäki
Ilmo Saaristo
Saara Särkimäki
Joanna Hanhikoski
Fransien Paananen

Ville Väätäinen 
Adrian Rigopulos
Tuomo Matero
Mehdi Nejjoum-Barthélémy
Paul Aksman
Juraj Valencik
Vilhelm Karlsson
Päivi Korhonen
Jenny Villanen

Jussi Jaatinen
Nils Rõõmussaar

Osmo Linkola 
Anna-Maija Korsimaa
Heikki Nikula

Mikko-Pekka Svala 
Erkki Suomalainen

Mika Paajanen 
Jonathan Nikkinen
Joonas Seppelin
Heidi Savikuja

Thomas Bugnot 
Mika Tuomisalo
Obin Meurin

Valtteri Malmivirta 
Jussi Vuorinen
Victor Álvarez Alegria

Ilkka Marttila

Tomi Wikström 

Xavi Castelló Aràndiga
Elmeri Uusikorpi



Thomas Dausgaard
Inbal Segev
Timo Alakotila
Tero Pajunen
Ilona Korhonen
Minna-Liisa Tammela
Anna-Karin Korhonen


    Edvard Grieg
    Two Nordic Melodies
    Anna Clyne
    Dance for cello and orchestra
    Thomas Dausgaard / Timo Alakotila
    Prelude to Sibelius 5th symphony
    Jean Sibelius
    Symphony No. 5 (Original Version 1915)
Series I
Musiikkitalo Concert Hall
Thomas Dausgaard
Inbal Segev
Timo Alakotila
Tero Pajunen
Ilona Korhonen
Minna-Liisa Tammela
Anna-Karin Korhonen
Edvard Grieg
Two Nordic Melodies
Anna Clyne
Dance for cello and orchestra
Thomas Dausgaard / Timo Alakotila
Prelude to Sibelius 5th symphony
Jean Sibelius
Symphony No. 5 (Original Version 1915)