Nordic Soundscapes

Aurora Borealis above a snowy forest plain
Philharmonia Orchestra

An ear to the natural world

The Philharmonia’s autumn series Nordic Soundscapes explores the relationship between music, nature and the climate crisis from a Nordic perspective.

The orchestra’s Principal Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali, who loves to walk, forage, hunt and meditate in the forest around his home in Finland, delves into his deep connection with the music and landscapes of his homeland. Fellow Finns Esa-Pekka Salonen and Emilia Hoving also conduct key concerts.

Sibelius’s music, inextricably entwined with Finnish national identity, is a vital thread through the series. As well as three of his symphonies, there’s a rare chance to hear his ‘choral symphony’ Kullervo, performed by the YL Male Voice Choir from Helsinki, the choir that premiered many of his works.

Grieg and Nielsen feature too, their music rubbing shoulders with UK premieres by composers from across the Nordic region who are making their mark on the present and the future of orchestral music.

Three of the concerts feature mesmerising underwater footage of the Nordic coast, on the Royal Festival Hall’s huge screen. Joakim Odelberg’s short films, accompanied by vivid scores by Mats Larsen Gothe, Miho Hazama and Outi Tarkiainen, highlight the impact of humans on fragile marine ecosystems.

In four Sunday afternoon sessions entitled Notes on Nature, artists, environmental experts and campaigners lead open discussions on some of the challenges and dilemmas facing us as we confront the climate crisis, and the role of the arts as a catalyst for change. Hear provocative points of view and join in the debate, over coffee and cinnamon buns.

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