Concerts held in Victor Borge Hall – named in honor of the legendary Danish entertainer and in recognition of his generosity to Scandinavia House – are supported in part by The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, The Louise and Karl Andrén Fund for Musical Performance, The Victor Borge Hall Endowment Fund, and The Dunard Fund.
Thursday, November 20, 8 pm
To mark the U.S. launch of the international arts publication Music & Literature Magazine, Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho presents a concert with musical guests devoted to exploring and celebrating her marvelous and expansive career. The evening also honors the volume’s other featured artists – Chinese writer Can Xue and Norwegian author Stig Sæterbakken.
Acclaimed flutist and longtime collaborator Camilla Hoitenga, violinist Aliisa Barrière, and other musical guests join Saariaho to perform the composer’s Laconisme de l’aile for solo flute (1982), Nocturne for solo violin (1994), and other chamber music, including a world premiere. Readings and presentations by Taylor Davis-Van Atta, publisher of Music & Literature Magazine, and several prestigious writers accompany the musical performances.
About Kaija Saariaho
Kaija Saariaho (b. 1952, Helsinki) is today one of the world’s most significant contemporary composers. She studied at the Sibelius Academy with pioneering modernist Paavo Heininen and, with Magnus Lindberg and others, Saariaho founded the progressive “Ears Open” group. She continued her studies in Freiburg, with Brian Ferneyhough and Klaus Huber, at the Darmstadt summer courses, and, from 1982, at the IRCAM research institute in Paris. Her studies and research at IRCAM have had a major influence on her music and her characteristically luxuriant and mysterious textures are often created by combining live music and electronics.
Saariaho has written for many of the world’s finest musicians, including the Kronos Quartet; violinist Gidon Kremer; cellist Anssi Karttunen; and soprano Dawn Upshaw. Her work has also been commissioned by world-renowned ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Orchestre de Paris; the Berlin Philharmonic; and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
She has also received several internationally distinguished awards, including the Grawemeyer Prize (2003); the Nemmers Prize in Music Composition (2007); the Wihuri Sibelius Prize (2009); and the Léonie Sonning Music Prize (2011). In 2013 Saariaho was awarded the Polar Music Prize. In 2015 she will be the judge of the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award.
Saariaho has primarily lived in Paris since 1982.
Co-presented by Music & Literature Magazine and in collaboration with the Consulate General of Finland in New York and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General, New York.
Sunday, December 14, 4 pm
Bass Patrick Guetti, recipient of the ASF Birgit Nilsson Award (2014), presents an afternoon of music by W.A. Mozart, Franz Schubert, Giuseppe Verdi, and Richard Strauss, in addition to a variety of festive holiday classics. The concert includes a traditional Saint Lucia procession.
About the ASF Birgit Nilsson Award
The ASF Birgit Nilsson Award was established in 1988 on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of New Sweden, the first Swedish settlement in the U.S. It was endowed through the proceeds of a gala concert in April 1988, honoring Ms. Nilsson, the legendary Swedish soprano. Previous recipients of the award include Sydney Mancasola, Christine Goerke, Earle Patriarco, Alan Held, and Ben Heppner.
About Patrick Guetti
A New Jersey native, Patrick Guetti received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at The Catholic University of America. Guetti received the ASF Birgit Nilsson Award at the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
He has appeared at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) as Tom in Un Ballo in Maschera; the title role of Don Quixote; Prince Gremin and Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin; Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Arkel in Pelléas et Mélisande; and Crespel and Wilhelm in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. He has also sung José Tripaldi in Osvaldo Golivjov’s Ainadamar with Opera Philadelphia; the Commendatore in Don Giovanni in Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance program; Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with the Bel Cantanti Opera Summer Festival and with The Catholic University of America. During the summers of 2013 and 2014 he was an Apprentice Artist with the Santa Fe Opera. In the fall of 2014, he made his company debut with The Dallas Opera as Fifth Jew in Francesca Zambello’s production of Salome, with Deborah Voight singing the title role. The 2014-15 season will see Guetti cover roles in Tosca and The Passenger at Lyric Opera of Chicago before joining the Ryan Opera Center program in April 2015.
Thursday, February 19, 8 pm
$20 ($15 ASF Members)
Finnish composer Sampo Haapamäki makes his New York recital debut with a concert of works presenting his chamber music, including Logo for violin and live electronics (2013); Connection for string quartet (2007); Haljennut for vocalist and string trio (2004); Highway for flute and piano (2002); Wide for clarinet, piano, violin, viola, and cello (2001); and Avenue for alto saxophone and piano (2000).
About Sampo Haapamäki
Sampo Haapamäki (b. 1979, Finland) holds a Masters in Music from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and obtained his Ph.D. in Musical Arts from Columbia University in 2012. He took part in an annual composition and music technology course at IRCAM - Centre Pompidou in Paris. Haapamäki composes chamber music, vocal music, electronic music, concertos, and orchestral music. He was the Tapiola Sinfonietta's Composer-in-Residence for the 2011-12 season.
An international prize-winning composer, Haapamäki has received numerous awards, including the Gaudeamus International Composers Award (2004); the International Society of Contemporary Music – Young Composer Award (2005); and the Teosto Prize (2006).
This concert is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation. Co-presented with the Finlandia Foundation, New York Metropolitan Chapter and supported by the Hilppa Roby Fund for Finnish Cultural and Educational Programs at Scandinavia House.
Thursday, March 5, 8 pm
$20 ($15 ASF Members)
The Pierrot-style New York New Music Ensemble presents an evening of music that spans the distinguished career of celebrated Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, including Duft for solo clarinet (2012); Calices for violin and piano (2009); Trois Rivières: Delta for solo percussionist and electronics (2001); Gates (1991); Petals for cello and electronics (1988); and Jardin Secret II for harpsichord and electronics (1986).
About New York New Music Ensemble
Since 1976 New York New Music Ensemble (NYNME) has commissioned, performed, and recorded important, current, and up-and-coming composers, acting as the means by which many of these composers have become better known and appreciated by the public. Currently the ensemble features Daniel Druckman, percussion; Chris Finckel, cello; Stephen Gosling, piano; Jean Kopperud, clarinet; and Linda Quan, violin.
NYNME has been recognized and supported by many noteworthy American foundations, including The Jerome Foundation, Harvard’s Fromm Music Foundation, the Mary Flagler Cary Trust Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Koussevitzky Music Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, among others.
The ensemble has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and South America to perform, teach, and record. Its members have participated in many college residencies, including at Long Beach City College, the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and the University of Pittsburgh, and have appeared at both national and international festivals, including the Ravinia Festival, the June in Buffalo Festival, and The Thailand International Composition Festival.
NYNME has recorded over 20 CDs of new and important chamber works and continues to record many works written for the ensemble. In March 2014 Naxos released a volume of works performed by NYNME of pieces by Richard Festinger. In early 2015, Albany Records will release a CD of works by the late Jonathan Harvey, performed by NYNME.
Thursday, January 15, 7 pm & Thursday, February 5, 8 pm | Series continues spring 2015
$25 ($20 ASF Members)
Swedish pianist and artistic director Per Tengstrand – now in his fifth season of musical programming at Scandinavia House – performs a series of concerts with distinguished guest musicians. The series highlights the repertoire of Scandinavian chamber music and its composers.
Markings & Music – In Celebration of Dag Hammarskjöld
In 1961, on Jan Eliasson’s 21st birthday, Dag Hammarskjöld the Swedish Secretary-General of the U.N., died in a plane crash. “I heard the news on the radio. At that moment I decided that I must work at the United Nations and follow his path in diplomacy. He was one of my heroes and role models,” said Eliasson.
In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the U.N. and in honor of one of its most highly respected Secretary-Generals, Per Tengstrand joins current U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson on stage as the two friends reminisce about this extraordinary life, with music inspired by readings from Hammarskjöld’s Markings (1963).
Resuming the Beethoven Sonata cycle, in this concert Tengstrand reaches Beethoven's so-called “middle period” – a timeframe that includes many of the famous and most popular of the composer’s sonatas. This evening is comprised of the most famous of them all: Piano Sonata No. 14, Op. 27, No. 2 (1802), more widely known as the "Moonlight" sonata, and the popular “Funeral March” sonata Piano Sonata No. 12, Op. 26 (1800-01) and Piano Sonata, No. 13, Op. 27, No. 1 in E-flat major (1800-01).
Tengstrand also hosts a pre-concert talk 45 minutes prior to the start of this concert.
About Per Tengstrand
Per Tengstrand (b. 1968, Växjö) is a Swedish pianist and artistic director of Music on Park Avenue: Evenings with Pianist Per Tengstrand at Scandinavia House. He began playing the piano at six years old and entered the Malmö Academy of Music at age 16, studying under Hans Pålsson. In 1985 Tengstrand was accepted at the Conservatoire de Paris in the class of Dominique Merlet. He continued private studies with Dominique Weber and Romuald Sztern to prepare for international piano competitions.
Tengstrand has received numerous honors and awards, including First Prize at the 1997 Cleveland International Piano Competition. He was named a laureate of the Geneva Competition (1996) and a laureate of the Paris International Long-Thibaud Competition (1996). Tengstrand was the recipient of the 1997 Anders Wall Foundation Scholarship and was awarded the 1999 Musician Award by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee. While at the Conservatoire de Paris, Tengstrand received the Premier Prix, Premier Nommé, and the Prix Spécial du Jury and was awarded the Prix de Virtuosité at the Geneva Conservatory. In 2005 he was decorated with the “Litteris et Artibus” Medal by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden for outstanding service to the arts. He is also the recipient of the 2014 Lunds Studentsångförenings Solistpris (LSS) Award, one of Sweden’s biggest musical awards.
Recent career highlights include performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major during Neeme Järvi’s final subscription concerts with the New Jersey Philharmonic; performances with the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap; the Residentie der Leonard Slatkin; and the Madison Symphony Orchestra, under Edo de Waart. Tengstrand has recorded the complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas for his Mindfeel label.
His 2014-15 concert season includes engagements with Norddeutsche Radio Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig; the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, Switzerland; and the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.
Tengstrand makes his home in Princeton, New Jersey with his wife and collaborator, pianist Sha-shan Sun. They comprise the Tengstrand-Sun Piano Duo, which has enjoyed great success following their first prize at the 2003 Murray Dranoff International Two-Piano Competition. The duo has released three CDs on the Mindfeel label, and he has recorded a solo CD for ProPiano of Alexander Glazunov’s The Seasons (1900) and his Konzertwalzer (a world premiere).
About Jan Eliasson
H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, was born in Gothenburg, Sweden. He graduated from the Swedish Naval Academy in 1962 and earned a Master's degree in Economics and Business Administration in 1965.
From 2007 to 2008, Eliasson served as the Special Envoy of the U.N. Secretary-General for Darfur. Prior to this, he served as President of the 60th session of the U.N. General Assembly and as Sweden's Ambassador to the U.S. from September 2000 until July 2005. In March 2006, Eliasson was appointed Foreign Minister of Sweden and served in this capacity until the elections in the fall of 2006.
Eliasson served, from 1994 to 2000, as Sweden's State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, a key position in formulating and implementing Swedish foreign policy. He was Sweden's Ambassador to the U.N. from 1988 to 1992, and also served as the Secretary-General's Personal Representative for Iran/Iraq.
The first U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Eliasson was also involved in operations in Africa and the Balkans. He took initiatives on landmines, conflict prevention, and humanitarian action. From 1980 to 1986, he was part of the U.N. mediation missions in the war between Iran and Iraq, headed by former Prime Minister Olof Palme. In 1993 to 1994, he served as mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Prior to his appointment as Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson also served as Chair of Water Aid/Sweden and a member of the U.N. Secretary-General's Advocacy Group of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The 2015 Music on Park Avenue concert series is supported in part by a generous grant from The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.
Thursdays @ 8 pm, January 22, March 12, & May 7, 2015
$25 ($20 ASF Members), Series pass: $60 ($45 ASF Members)
Internationally acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Siegel returns for his eighth season of Keyboard Conversations® at Scandinavia House. Each evening is comprised of informal commentary on the music and its composers, a full performance of each work, and concludes with a short Q & A session. The accessible format enriches audience understanding of classical music for the newcomer and seasoned listener alike.
Due to his gift for writing beautiful melodies, Edvard Grieg was nicknamed “the Chopin of the North.” Hear his invigorating 4 Norwegian Dances, Op. 35 (1880), the charming Lyric Pieces, Op. 12 (1866-67), and the soulful Ballade in the Form of Variations on a Norwegian Folksong in G minor, Op. 24 (1876), and Frédéric Chopin's invigorating Polish dance the Mazurka, the fervent Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23 (1835-36), and the Grande polonaise brillante in E-flat major, Op. 22 (1831).
In dulci jubilo (BWV 729), J.S. Bach’s exhilarating chorale prelude; Robert Schumann’s exuberant Novelletten, Op. 21, No. 2 in D major (1838); the vivacious Waltz in A-flat major, Op. 42 (1840) by Frédéric Chopin; Frühlingsrauschen, Op. 32, No. 3 (Rustle of Spring) (1896) by Norwegian composer Christian Sinding; Festpræludium (1900) by Danish master Carl Nielsen; Finnish composer Selim Palmgren’s May Night (No. 4) from Spring, Op. 27 (1906-07); and Sergei Rachmaninoff's stupendous transcription of Fritz Kreisler's beloved Liebesfreud from Three Old Viennese Melodies (1905).
Featuring J.S. Bach’s joyful Toccata in D major, BWV 912 (1710); Beethoven’s genial Piano Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp major, Op. 78 (1809) and the humorous 7 Variations on “God Save the King,” in C Major, W00 78; and Brahms’ lilting 16 Waltzes, Op. 39 (1865), moving 3 Intermezzi, Op. 117 (1892), and the virtuoso Variations on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 35 (1863), based on the famous Caprice No. 24 in A minor by Niccolò Paganini (1802-17).
Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel: Concerts with Lively Commentary is made possible in part by a grant from The Evelyn Sharp Foundation.
Tuesday, November 18, 6 – 8 pm
Free | #IcelandArt
The 3rd Floor Gallery is open late with extended hours once a month. Enjoy new Nordic music, grab a refreshment, and explore the current exhibition ICELAND: Artists Respond to Place after hours, while socializing with other art enthusiasts.
See also ICELAND: Artists Respond to Place in EXHIBITIONS section.
Ongoing, 5 – 10 pm (Last seating @ 9 pm)
$41 per person ($36 ASF Members)
Pairing top-notch Scandinavian cinema and music with fine Nordic cuisine, Smörgås Chef @ Scandinavia House continues its popular Dinner & a Concert prix-fixe 2-course dinner menu. Available from 5 to10 pm (the last seating is at 9 pm), this ongoing offer features a selection of favorite dishes including herb-roasted chicken, cured gravlaks and Swedish meatballs, and include one admission to that evening’s concert.