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Time of Music Festival theme in 2017 is Art & Autonomy

The upcoming edition of Time of Music Festival (Viitasaari, Finland) will focus on the theme of Art & Autonomy. Though the theme resonates with centenary celebration of Finland’s independence this year, it is a universal theme addressed by international speakers and performers. Both the discussions and the artistic programme tackle questions such as: What is the role, value and appreciation of art in our world? How to maintain the autonomy of art and possibilities to co-operation in a time that favors competition and short term wins? How does digitality affect the autonomy of arts?

Time of Music’s two day seminar deals with contemporary challenges of art, identity and autonomy, the first day’s working language being English and the second day’s Finnish. The key speaker of the first seminar day on Thursday 6th July is Sir John Tusa, who is a prominent writer and thinker, former managing director of the BBC World Service and the Barbican Arts Centre. He has written a body of books about cultural policy, cultural management and their assessment in Britain. Other speakers are composer, oboist Cathy Milliken, who ran several years the Berlin Philharmonics’ education programme, and Mark Applebaum, Professor of Composition and Theory at Stanford University and an expert in hybrid arts. The second day on Friday 7th July, working language Finnish, speakers such as artist, writer Teemu Mäki, PhD., lecturer Pekka Toivanen from University of Jyväskylä and researcher, journalist Sini Mononen present the challenges of arts today and tomorrow in Finland.

The guest composer of the festival is James Dillon. The award-winning artist is self-taught as a composer and has studied mathematics, art and design, linguistics, piano and computer music. During his career he has received four Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Awards and honors and an honorary doctorate from the University of Huddersfield in 2003, and he is a guest lecturer and composer in well known institutions like Darmstadt Ferienkurse and Voix Nouvelles, Royaumont as well as elsewhere around the world. Dillon’s compositions are heard in several festival concerts and he tutors a course for composers.

A rare portrait concert of a Finnish composer presents Sebastian Hilli. This young composer won the Toru Takemitsu composition competition in 2015 and is at the moment creating a commission for Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and a choir of 500 singers. Hilli’s pieces are performed by the Finnish Uusinta Ensemble and Canadian Quatuor Bozzini, both visiting ensembles of the festival. Another guest ensemble is Talea Ensemble from New York. The ensemble, excelling in contemporary music, has premiered many important works in the US and is a frequent guest in Europe, though first time in Finland. At Time of Music they will perform guest composer James Dillon’s New York Triptych among other pieces. A third international guest ensemble is POING, a saxophone – accordion – double bass trio from Norway.

The largest ensemble at Time of music will consist of players of International Ensemble Modern Academyn, the Ulysses Network and Sibelius Academy. This ensemble is a residence ensemble for conductor course lead by Susanna Mälkki, Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The final concerts of the course July 8-9 present works by Pierre Boulez, Thomas Adés, Harrison Birtwistle and Jonathan Harvey among others.


Time of Music Festival is organized in Viitasaari, Finland 4th-9th July 2017. The concert programme will be published in May at