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Heartily welcome to our new home pages.

Pelléas et Mélisande, op 46 is playing in the background. I am sitting in our summer cottage in the Korppoo archipelago on a weekend in May. The sun is shining and the sea is glittering in its breathtakingly beautiful way, as it usually does. The preparations for the forthcoming summer´s Sibelius festival are well underway. Here in Korppoo, Sibelius spent a couple of summers in his early years, making music and composing, and must have enjoyed the bright archipelago nights and the glittering seascape. In this landscape, for example, the Korpo Trio and the Hafträsk Trio saw the light of day, compositions which still startle their audiences with their freshness and brightness of youth.

All in all, Jean Sibelius composed over 600 compositions during his lifetime. During the first sixteen years of our festival in Korppoo already more than 270 of them have been performed here. We have also enjoyed more than twenty world premieres. It seems that in our festivals we are moving from one year of celebration to another. In 2015 we celebrated the 150th anniversary after the birth of Sibelius, in 2016 the 150th anniversary of Ferruccio Busoni´s birth, and in 2017 we celebrated the centenary of Finland’s independence. This summer we will have the 150th anniversary of Oskar Meri kanto´s birth – and our programme will commemorate him.

Oskar Merikanto was one of the leading figures in Finnish music around the turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries. Merikanto´s natural clarity and melodic touch, as well as the folksong-like style of composing made the compositions so widely loved. The popularity was even further enhanced by the use of Finnish poetry and language in the songs.

I wish you all enjoyable and personal moments in the beautiful Korppoo Manor with the music of Jean Sibelius and Oskar Merikanto.

Petri Kirkkomäki
Executive Director

Sibelius i Korpo - Sibelius Korppoossa - Sibelius in Korppoo festival


Distinguished Concert Listener,

a warm welcome to our concerts at the 17th Edition of the Sibelius in Korpo festival! Three years ago, in 2015, we celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Sibelius’s birth. This year, in 2018, the 150th Anniversary of Sibelius’s fellow composer Oskar Merikanto is commemorated. 

The Sibelius family spent many an inofficial, prolonged musical soirée at the famous music salon of Korpo Gård in the summer of 1887. We are grateful to the today hostess of the manor, Tuulikki Wahe-Rohrbach, who together with her youngsters Kira and Juhani, Gesa and Markus, once again is letting us visit this beautiful house.

Sibelius och Merikanto

Sibelius and Merikanto were practically the same age, and it is told, that they were surprisingly good friends as colleagues. Sibelius’s Kullervo Symphony was premiered on 28 April 1892, and Sibelius must have appreciated, that Merikanto made an excellent description of his new, nationally oriented Kalevala romantic style in the newspapers. Accordingly, Sibelius wrote an encouraging, witty characterization of Merikanto’s famous ‘Waltz of the Summer Evening’, as it was published for the first time in 1895. As a frequently performing pianist, Merikanto played the first performance of Sibelius’s important Piano Sonata in F major, Op. 12, also in 1895.

The Piano Music Four Hands Complete

During three concerts this year, the complete repertoir of Sibelius’s and Merikanto’s piano music four hands is performed. Sibelius wrote only one original piece in the genre, called Adagio, dedicated ‘Rakkaalle Ainolle’ (‘To My Beloved Aino’). It is dated 10 august 1931, the 60th Anniversary birthday of Aino Sibelius, the composer’s wife. As an opinion of some musicologists, this Adagio is stylistically fascinating, as it possibly contains turns from the lost eighth symphony. It also marks the end of Sibelius’s vast period of active composing, from 1881 to 1931. After this followed the so called ‘Silence of Ainola’. Only six years earlier, Sibelius composed his last melodrama, A Lonely Ski-Trail (B. Gripenberg), and we are thrilled to hear our famous theatre director Ralf Långbacka reciting this!

Merikanto produced even nine different kind of piano pieces four hands. As 17 years old he wrote the comprehensive fantasy over the Finnish folk song Tuoll’ on mun kultani, impressive piano writing. In 1898, as the only competitor, he took part in a competition with Pohjan neiti (‘The Maiden of the North’), a complete opera in Finnish language, the first of its kind in Finnish musical history. From this opera he arranged three piano pieces four hands, and especially Sammon taonta (‘The Forging of Sampo’) is interesting, the obsessed pulsation of which is foreshadowing the equivalent rhythmic passion of later futurists.

The Kantele Music Complete

Helkähdys (‘Twang’) for two kanteles, is the only original kantele piece Merikanto wrote, but many of his popular songs and piano pieces are often performed on kantele, as we shall hear.

Sibelius composed two original kantele pieces to his wife’s cousin, Elin Ailama Järnefelt. She had lost both her legs in a real terrorist attack, often erroneously, too modestly referred to as the ‘Train accident in St Andrea’ in 1896. In 1899, the birthday of the author Juhani Aho was celebrated in the house of the painter Pekka Halonen. On this occasion, Sibelius spontaneously composed an additional melody to the the 5-stringed kantele playing of Halonen’s mother.

Folke Gräsbeck
Artistic Director





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Sibelius iN korpo festival

The Festival Sibelius in Korpo has taken place since 2002. During these 16 years, 2002–2017, more than 270 compositions by Jean Sibelius have been performed, 26 of them as world première performances. The festival has gained a reputation as a special forum for Sibelius’s music – at the concerts rare compositions from his youth are heard alongside well-known masterpieces. The aim is to shed light on the various stylistic phases of Sibelius’s œuvre. Since the start in 2002, the programmes have been designed by the festival’s artistic director, pianist Folke Gräsbeck. Since 2012, baritone Petri Kirkkomäki has been director of administration.  

‘The Sibelius siblings lifted Uncle Pehr’s square piano into the fishing boat, and they played piano trio on the waves. Janne played the violin, Christian the cello and Linda the piano.’ 

Historical background

The Sibelius family spent summer holidays in Korpo in the Åbo (Turku) archipelago in 1886 and 1887. The first summer the family stayed on the big northern island of Norrskata, at the Vidix House, situated on the beautiful Hafträsk Bay. The second summer was spent in the centre of the Korpo church village, at Korpo Manor. Sibelius composed a major piano trio each summer, in 1886 the ‘Hafträsk’ Trio, JS 207, and in 1887 the ‘Korpo’ Trio, JS 209. Both works are the foremost compositions from their respective years. In addition, Sibelius composed around 20 other works. These have formed the basis of the festival’s concert programmes. 

The festival takes place regularly on the penultimate weekend of July. Since 2011, concerts have been arranged on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In addition, a welcoming ceremony has been held on Saturday afternoon at the Sibelius monument (depicting the young Sibelius with his violin). The monument was unveiled in 2006 at the centre of the church village, close to the medieval Korpo Church. Orchestral and choir concerts have been held at the church, while other concerts have been arranged mainly at Korpo Manor (1805), designed by the Italian architect Charles Bassi. The manor’s famous musical salon is located upstairs, and provides an excellent acoustic. In this salon, the Sibelius family members spent many lengthy musical soirées during the summer of 1887. Their hostess Ina Wilenius, a talented pianist, was also an active player. In 2003, a high quality Grotrian Steinweg grand piano was acquired, and many of the concerts have been broadcast by Finnish Radio.



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Pictures from SIBELIUS IN KORPO throughout the years

Sibelius opera “The maiden in the tower”, the muncipality house of Korpo, 2015

Brahe Djäknar at the Sibelius statue, 2015

Brahe Djäknar and Florakören, conductor Ulf Långbacka

Monica Groop and Folke Gräsbeck, 2015

The artists and the executive director after the festival 2017

Sue Knighton - Australia

Sue Knighton and The Flinders Quartet 2015 - Australia

Satu Jalas, 2016

Satu Jalas plays with Sibelius' violin, 2016

Folke Gräsbeck, 2016

Folke Gräsbeck and Sebastian Silén, 2016

Folke Gräsbeck and Satu Jalas, 2016

Mari Palo and Folke Gräsbeck, 2017


2002 – 2017



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