Susanna Mälkki heads to Belgium this week with The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tero Saarinen Company for two concerts. The concerts at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels (October 10) and the Concertgebouw in Bruges (October 11), are part of the official cultural program of Finland’s EU Presidency.

The concert program includes two works by Sibelius: The Swan of Tuonela and his Symphony No. 5. Also on the program is Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s cello concerto En forme de pas de trois. While writing his Fifth Symphony, Sibelius saw sixteen wild swans flying over the Finnish landscape. The experience completely enchanted him and inspired his tone poem, The Swan of Tuonela.

Choreographer Tero Saarinen’s Zimmermann Trio, which was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Helsinki Festival, received its Finnish premiere last August as interpreted by HKO and TSC. The piece weaves together live music, dance, and visual design in a compelling way that is typical of Saarinen’s art. Tero Saarinen Company dance soloists Jenna Broas, Misa Lommi, and David Scarantino share the stage with cellist Oren Shevlin.

Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony is a triumphant and heroic work, which he composed to celebrate his fiftieth birthday. At its premiere, Sibelius himself conducted the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. For more information about Sibelius’ work and the many great events throughout the week, click here.