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Tampere Biennale begins on Wednesday

Kapellimestari Eva Ollikainen nojaavassa asennossa

The Tampere Biennale festival of modern art music is held from 10 to 14 April 2024 with concerts at Tampere Hall, in churches, at museums and in clubs around the city centre. The event also has a presence in the heritage landscape around Tammerkoski rapids in the form of urban art and a sound story.

The famous sculptures on Hämeensilta bridge began to entice passers-by to enjoy contemporary music on Tuesday with the inauguration of the sound art work Hämeensillan laulavat veistokset [Singing sculptures on Hämeensilta bridge], conceived by Minna Leinonen, artistic director of the Tampere Biennale, and designed by Jussi Suonikko. Music commissioned by the Tampere Biennale is also heard on Frenckell Square as of Wednesday morning, with the Frenckell carillon playing the festival theme composed by Mioko Yokoyama.

The concerts proper kick off on Wednesday night with a rare visit by the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra in the Small Auditorium at Tampere Hall, conducted by Eva Ollikainen. Later in the week, the same venue will host Marko Ylönen & Friends, an exceptional lineup of leading Finnish musicians, and Ireland’s most prominent contemporary music group, Crash Ensemble. The Tampere Philharmonic will perform in the Main Auditorium at Tampere Hall under Estonian conductor Olari Elts.

As of Thursday, music performances will begin at lunchtime. Kantele player Eva Alkula performs with clarinettist Reetta Näätänen at Museo Milavida, and on Friday the same venue hosts flautist Johanna Suvenmetsä, guitarist Olli Hirvanen and poet Johanna Venho. Another merger of poetry and music is on the programme at the lunchtime concert at the Sara Hildén Art Museum on Saturday – a promenade concert featuring cellist Sirja Nironen and poetry reading by Antti Tiensuu.

Sold out performances of the audio story

Thursday also sees the introduction of Äänitarina Tammerkoskella [Sound story along Tammerkoski], a combination of narrative, dance and music that will be given four performances during the festival. This unique and innovative sonic walk goes along both banks of the rapids and features a mystery story written by Salla Simukka and narrated by Seela Sella. The music and sound design are by Tytti Arola and Þorkell Nordal; the choreography is by Samuli Roininen. Friday and Saturday performances are now sold out, but there are still tickets left for Thursday and Sunday performances. Please note that only advance tickets are available for these performances. Sales will close one hour before each performance unless the performance has sold out earlier.

From Thursday, audiences are also welcome to come to the Finlayson Terde, where the interactive sound installation Naiad highlights the unique relationship and history of the Tammerkoski rapids and the city of Tampere. This work was created by Juulia Haverinen and Esther Calderón Morales, students at the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki.

Choir music and evening clubs

Saturday brings two church concerts for fans of choral music. The opera Birgitta by Hannu Pohjannoro to a verse libretto by Johanna Venho is a modern reading of the visions of Medieval mystic Saint Birgitta. It is given its world premiere in a concert version by Tampere Cappella and TampereRaw at Alexander’s Church. In the evening, Tampere Cathedral is filled with the sound of Key Ensemble conducted by Jutta Seppinen, with a programme of compelling works from Finland, Norway, the USA, Iceland and Ukraine.

Club nights are on the programme from Wednesday to Friday. Ville Ranta, a cartoonist who has won awards for his bold opinion pieces, creates live drawings based on evocative contemporary works at G Livelab, the music being delivered by accordionist Niko Kumpuvaara and singing sax player Joonatan Rautiola. The award-winning Hietsu is Happening! appears at the TTT Club, while the electroacoustic group defunensemle offers an evening of surprises at the Old Custom House.

The final day of the festival is dedicated to young music lovers. The Tampere Biennale Family Day at Culture House Laikku includes composition and instrument workshops for children and two concerts for the whole family. The first of these features students from music institutes around Finland performing works by young composers and new educational music, while the second is a programme of new live music adapted to new animations.

Link to the programme

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