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Time of Music offered unforgettable concert experiences and spatial works

Time of Music would like to warmly thank everyone for last week’s festival! Many thanks to the audience, artists, partners and our staff! Held in Viitasaari July 4–9, the festival’s highlights were the visits of London Sinfonietta and other top ensembles, premieres of new works and impressive spatial works. The contemporary music festival built around the theme “Voices and Spaces” received enthusiastic reactions from the audience.

The biggest concerts of the summer were held right at the beginning of the festival on July 4–5, when London Sinfonietta performed Hans Werner Henze‘s classic work Voices for the first time in Finland. Mezzo-soprano Carina Vinke and tenor Peter Tantsits sang as soloists in the great work dealing with social issues, and the concerts also featured world premieres by six international contemporary composers. Praised by both the public and critics, the 21st Century Voices concerts were recorded by the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, and they will be heard in September on the YLE Radio 1. The project was a part of the Sounds Now project of the European Union’s Creative Europe programme, and commissioned works will be performed later this year in the United Kingdom at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and London’s Southbank Centre.

In addition to London Sinfonietta, three other top international ensembles were heard at Time of Music. The Canadian string quartet Quatuor Bozzini performed both in their own concert and together with volunteer music hobbyists and professionals in James Tenney‘s In a Large Open Space. The latter gathered a large audience at the Viitasaari Church to enjoy a unique sound and space work. 

Performed by the British Riot Ensemble, Georg Friedrich Haas’ Solstices offered the audience a surprising and unforgettable experience in a pitch-dark concert hall at Viitasaari Areena. The Swedish ensemble Norrbotten NEO, on the other hand, performed in the final concert of the festival as well as in the portrait concert of this summer’s composer in residence, Liza Lim from Australia.

In addition to the commissioned works of the 21st Century Voices project, the festival also premiered Tuomas Kettusen‘s Wheel of Fortune, which is a joint commission of Time of Music and the Dutch Gaudeamus festival. The final concert of the composition course also offered premieres by a total of ten young composers.

John Cage‘s 1983 visit to Viitasaari was remembered in many ways this summer. Cage’s music was heard, for example, in the final concert of the John Cage: Song Books course lead by the composer-singer Joan La Barbara, where the students of the course charmed the audience with parts of Cage’s Song Books collection. On the other hand, Cage’s work Weather Reports, which takes a stand e.g. on climate change, was performed by the Riot Ensemble. The public’s interest was also aroused by the Always Topical John Cage photo exhibition. The exhibition presenting Cage-related photos by the Viitasaari-based photographer Mauri Kuokkanen is on display in the Viitasaari library until 28th of July.

The Influential Voices seminar, organized in collaboration with the city of Viitasaari, opened perspectives on music and arts as social influencers. The seminar discussed, among other things, the human rights situation of artists and the possibilities of arts to take a stand on environmental issues. During the day, the joint Aikamme musiikki keskus (Contemporary Music Centre) project between the city and Time of Music was presented. The goal of the project is to establish a year-round operator in Viitasaari, which would combine, among other things, expertise in arts, music and digitalization. The seminar, which was mostly held in Finnish, can still be viewed on the YouTube channel of the city of Viitasaari.

A total of over 1,100 listeners participated in the events of Time of Music this summer. Organized for the 41st time, the festival is Finland’s longest-running annual contemporary music festival. The next festival will take place July 2–7, 2024.


Executive Director Kristiina Penttinen, kristiina.penttinen[at], +358 40 564 5501Artistic Director Johan Tallgren, johan.tallgren[at], +358 40 742 6345