Total attendance for the Sibelius Festival almost 6,000

Festival audience came from 15 different countries including Japan and Australia

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s 18th International Sibelius Festival in 2017 celebrated the centenary of Finland’s independence with a five-day event at the Sibelius Hall (30 August–3 September). The festival’s concerts attracted a total audience of approx. 4,500, and including parallel events the total reached almost 6,000. The festival was attended by several groups from Great Britain, and attendees came from a total of fifteen countries including Australia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, the United States and all over Europe. Part of the national ‘Finland 100’ programme, the festival was covered by journalists not only from Finland but also from countries including Austria and Russia.

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra gave three concerts under its principal conductor and the festival’s artistic director, Dima Slobodeniouk, and there was a guest appearance on Friday 1 September by The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – which has a strong Sibelius tradition of its own – with its new, Lahti-born conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali. The programme also included three chamber concerts and other Sibelius-themed events such as a screening of the film Sibelius. Before the opening concert students from the Lahti Conservatory performed in the Sibelius Hall’s Forest Hall, and on Thursday there was a panel discussion on the theme of climate change. An offshoot of the festival took place at Sibelius’s home, Ainola and, for the first time in the festival’s history, a concert also took place at the Lahti Conservatory’s Felix Krohn Hall.