To celebrate Jean Sibelius’ birthday and Finnish Music Day, Susanna Mälkki conducts the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and cellist Lauri Kankkunen in a dynamic program that will feature the world premiere of Kimmo Hakola’s WAKE!. With performances on December 8 and 9, you can watch this concert live and on-demand through Yle Radio 1, Yle Areena, and the HKO Screen app. Additionally, watch live and discuss through the orchestra’s YouTube channel

Kimmo Hakola’s new composition is part of the Helsinki Variations series and refers to Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia, an early version called Finland Awakes. WAKE! challenges the human race to wake up to a more responsible way of life and to end the selfishness that is destroying human life. 

The concert will begin with the Overture to Ingeborg von Bronsart’s opera Jery und Bätely, which was a big hit in Germany in the late 19th century. Esa-Pekka Salonen’s epic Cello Concerto follows, with Sibelius’ Finlandia concluding the evening. Known as a patriotic tone poem, Finlandia was composed in 1899 as a protest against increasing censorship in his home country of Finland.

Photo credit: Jiyang Chen