The oldest continuously running music event in the Nordic countries returns to Helsinki with the theme ‘Diversity is Unity’ and a nod to Scotland

Every year, each of the Nordic countries in turn has the opportunity to roll out a magnificent showcase of current trends in contemporary composition for hungry audiences. As there are five Nordic countries, each country only gets to do this every five years. Now, this November, it is Finland’s turn.

There is no other event in the world that brings together such a large number and broad range of contemporary composers of art music as the Nordic Music Days. Lasting only four days, the festival is tightly packed yet manages to incorporate all manner of collisions with visual arts, very free jazz and prog rock. More than 40 composers are featured.


This festival has been held since 1888, less regularly in the 20th century but annually since the 2000s. Last year, it was Sweden’s turn to host the event, and in an unprecedented twist the Swedes decided to take the show on the road to London. Finland, not to be outdone, is extending a similar geographical handshake in a gesture of solidarity to ‘Brexit losers’ – Scotland.The Avanti! Chamber Orchestra performs the Clarinet Concerto of Scottish composer Helen Grime at its festival concert. 

At the other orchestral concert opening the festival on Wednesday 7 November, composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, who passed away in 2016, is remembered with a performance of his Cello Concerto no. 2, Towards the Horizon, his last work in this genre, by cellist Marko Ylönen and the Helsinki Philharmonic under Klaus Mäkelä.


G Livelab, the hot live music venue that has treated Helsinki audiences to fabulous performances for some two years now, features three late night gigs, the first of which leans heavily towards jazz under the unfettered leadership of the Finnish-Norwegian combo Liberty Ship.

Another space that is a hot topic in current discussions is the Amos Rex art museum, which opens this August. This opening will establish an eagerly awaited venue for contemporary visual arts, and the Nordic Music Days intends to bring artistically ambitious rock music similarly back into focus. The festival concludes with a prog rock concert on Saturday night, a bridge-building event as it features the first appearance in Finland since 2006 of Anekdoten from Sweden.



Ticket sales information to be added during summer.



Soon you will find here a list a must do's and a whole other interesting things, events and places to visit while you are in Helsinki.



This year Helsinki is hosting the Nordic Music Days, from 7th to 10th of October. The festival, founded in 1888, is one of the world’s oldest ongoing music festivals. It is administered by the Nordic Composers Council with each of the Nordic countries taking turns to manage the festival’s practical arrangements. Nordic Music Days serves as platform for international exchange between ensembles, musicians and repertoires in order to spread the music of Nordic composers.



Producer Hanna Kosonen
+358 40 528 4876

Press & Media Tatu Tamminen
+358 40 553 35 24

Executive Director (The Society of Finnish Composers)
Annu Mikkonen
+358 9 44 55 89