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Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra Delights at Lincoln Center

The new season at Lincoln Center of the excellent Juilliard Orchestra opened auspiciously on the evening of Tuesday, September 5th, at the splendid Alice Tully Hall, with a program where its members played alongside excellent musicians from the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra of Helsinki, under the expert direction of the renowned Esa-Pekka Salonen, in the last of three collaborative concerts with the two ensembles in celebration of the centennial of Finnish independence.

 The unifying thread of the program was, aptly, the music of Jean Sibelius, whose Seventh Symphony influenced the first two works of the concert, beginning with the compelling Radical Light by the eminent, late composer Steven Stucky— who had joined the Juilliard faculty in 2014 —which was notable for its brilliant orchestration and was inspired by a poem by the greatly esteemed A.R. Ammons.
Also of interest was the Finnish conductor's own composition, the virtuosic cello concerto,Mania,dazzlingly performed by the Finnish-Dutch soloist, Jonathan Roozeman, who had received his early training at the Academy. He went on to present a delightful encore, the finale of Gaspar Cassadó’s Suite for Cello.
It was the second half of the evening, however, that proved to be the most extraordinary. The concluding work on the program was the very seldom performed, complete score of the wonderful Lemminkäinen Suite (Four Legends of the Kalevala)of Sibelius, which left a more vivid impression than anything that had come before. An enormously appreciative audience earned a fabulous encore, the same composer's unutterably lovelyValse Triste,closing an exceptional concert.

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