We warmly welcome the Nordic Music Days to Helsinki!
When this event was first held in 1888, Edvard Grieg was at the height of his career, and scarcely anyone had yet heard of Sibelius or Nielsen – their time would come later.
The past 130 years have seen huge upheavals in art music and in society at large. This has generated the diversity that helps this venerable event remain dynamic and relevant even today. A rolling festival gathers no moss.
Nordic diversity is more than just a buzzword. There are obvious differences in style (though not in quality) between the kinds of music being made in the various Nordic countries. There are also differing conceptions of the function and goals of art music, and of course there are great differences even within the countries. Bringing all these styles and interests to the table at a joint Nordic festival unites us. Diversity is richness.
The Nordic Music Days is an unusual contemporary music event: the works for its programme are selected through a joint application process. This involves curating that is by no means an easy task: I myself have reviewed 466 proposed works! Such a large body of compositions covers an enormous range of styles and structures, a cross-section of the kind of music being written in the Nordic countries at this moment. The festival will thus feature a plurality of music, including small and unusual ensembles, electronics and sound art, topped off by prominent names in Nordic jazz and progressive rock – a veritable cornucopia of brilliant Nordic art music.
If the lock on your front door at home is broken, how would you solve the problem? Surely you would not start by knocking your own house down bit by bit until the broken lock is the least of your problems? This, however, is pretty much what the UK has done, and we here in the Nordic countries were poleaxed at the fact that the British people were gladly willing to shoot themselves in the foot. The people of Scotland did not want Brexit, and in tribute to this the 2018 Nordic Music Days includes a shout-out to Scotland. We are pleased to welcome Scottish composer Helen Grime, who is one of the most fascinating names in British music today!
We would like to take this opportunity to give cordial thanks to all our partners. What makes a festival is its composers, performers and audience members – each and every one of us. Our diversity is our strength!
Osmo Tapio Räihälä
Nordic Music Days 2018