October is wrapped up with the sounds of big symphonic composers. The HPO Sinfonietta takes on the rich Adagio-part of Mahler’s unfinished tenth symphony, pays tribute to Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with the composer’s first symphony, and interprets Sibelius the Lover-suite with its rich sounding string section. Iannis Xenakis’ hypnotic solopiece for percussion transforms two art forms into a duet, when HPO percussion section leader Xavi Castelló Aràndiga takes the stage with Tero Saarinen Company dancer Oskari Kymäläinen.
A conductor born and bred in Helsinki, Susanna Mälkki grew up to the accompaniment of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2004 she received her first invitation to conduct the orchestra of which she would become Chief Conductor in autumn 2016. Her path to the conductor’s podium passed through the cello classes of the Sibelius Academy and the Edsberg Institute in Stockholm, however, and the position of principal cellist in the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. She made her conducting breakthrough in 1999, at the Helsinki Festival, and her first regular conducting appointment was as Artistic Director of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra. Her Music Directorship of the celebrated Ensemble Intercontemporain (2006–2013) established her as a profound interpreter of music of the present day.
Susanna Mälkki has conducted the world’s finest orchestras. In season 2017-18 she made her debut at the Vienna State Opera season and took over as Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Musical America voted her Conductor of the Year 2017.
Xavi Castelló serves as the principal percussion in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra since 2013. He started playing percussion at the age of 8 years old in his home town and graduated with honours in 2008 in the CSMC (Tenerife). He continued his studies in the CSMA (Aragón) with Wieland Welzel, Franz Schindlbeck and Jean Geoffroy and in the Madrid Okho academy with Raúl Benavent and Esaú Borreda.
He has won the third prize in the Marimba competition “Ciudad del Paso” (La Palma, 2007) and the first prize in the IV International Percussion Competition “Perkulliria” (2011).
He is a founder member of the Helsinki Chamber Soloists and the Helsinki Percussion Ensemble.
Tero Saarinen has had a distinguished international career both as a dancer and a choreographer. He has made more than 40 creations, for Tero Saarinen Company and other prominent dance groups.
Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT1), the Batsheva Dance Company (Israel), Ballet Gullbenkian (Portugal), the ballets of Lyon, Lorraine and Marseille (France), the Gothenburg Opera Ballet (Sweden), the National Dance Company of Korea (South Korea), the Finnish National Ballet, and many others have featured Saarinen’s works in their repertoires. His key works for Tero Saarinen Company include the company’s international breakthrough Westward Ho! (1996), Saarinen’s Stravinsky reinterpretations Petrushka (2001) and HUNT (2002), Shakers-inspired Borrowed Light (2004), Morphed (2014) to music by Esa-Pekka Salonen and most recently Jean Sibelius’ Kullervo (2015) in collaboration with the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. Saarinen’s collaboration with Susanna Mälkki and HPO began with Zimmermann Trio (2018).
As a choreographer Saarinen is known for his unique movement language, ’an inventive mixture of grotesqueness and beauty’ that plays with balance, and off-balance. His internationally acclaimed choreographies have often been described as total artworks. Saarinen has received numerous acknowledgements of his work as an artist, both in Finland and abroad.
Tero Saarinen Company, founded in 1996, has established its position as one of the leading European contemporary dance companies. It has toured at prestigious venues in more than 40 countries on all continents. Core TSC activities also include Saarinen’s creations for other prominent dance groups, an international teaching program focused on TERO-technique, presenting dance companies in Helsinki, community outreach projects and residencies at the TSC Studio.
Oskari Kymäläinen graduated from the Ballet School of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet in 2019. Kymäläinen has danced in works by Jorma Uotinen, Hanna Brotherus and Pori Dance Company among others. His collaboration with Tero Saarinen Company began in spring 2020. Kymäläinen will do his civil service at Tero Saarinen Company in 2020–2021.