Thursday 28 September – Sunday 1 October 2017

The world-famous contemporary classical festival Nordic Music Days will land on UK shores, and take over Southbank Centre’s site, for the very first time this September.

The Nordic spectacular showcases pioneering contemporary compositions by Nordic composers and sound artists, performed by some of the UK’s most exciting ensembles and soloists, alongside a wide-ranging programme of talks, workshops and family events. Almost all performances and events are free to attend.

The globally renowned contemporary classical music festival Nordic Music Days celebrates new Nordic music and was founded in 1888 to promote musical collaboration between the Nordic countries. Held annually in one of the Nordic capitals, Nordic Music Days will make its UK debut this year as part of Nordic Matters, Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of arts and culture from across the Nordic regions. The festival introduces UK audiences to the best contemporary Nordic music, encourages collaboration between Nordic and UK musicians and composers, and provides a platform for experimentation through a series of workshops and performances. The festival will also see the return of The Virtual Orchestra: Sibelius 360, the acclaimed 360 degree virtual reality experience that places viewers at the heart of the Philharmonia Orchestra on the Royal Festival Hall stage.

Highlights include:

  • Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra, performing Sibelius’ 6th and 7th Symphonies alongside works by contemporary Icelandic composers Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Daníel Bjarnason (28 September)
  • A collision of cutting-edge electronica and visuals with traditional Nordic influences at Late Night Nordic Sounds, featuring performances from Swedish artists TMRW and Gidge, with visuals by Annie Tådne (30 September)
  • The Riot Ensemble presenting a concert of works by five Nordic contemporary composers including Kaija Saariaho from Finland, Djuro Zivkovic and Ole Lützow-Holm from Sweden, Bára Gísladóttir from Iceland and Ruben Sverre Gjertsen from Norway (30 September)
  • Manchester’s acclaimed ensemble Distractfold presenting a concert inspired by Nordic forests, using non-traditional instruments such as transducers and solenoids (29 September)
  • One of the world’s leading vocal ensembles for new music, Exaudi, performing joiks, the traditional folk songs of the Sami people, as well as a Joik Big Sing where visitors can get involved (29 September–1 October)
  • Finnish musicians Pekka Kuusisto and Ilona Korhonen presenting a concert inspired by traditional Finnish music including runosong, the oldest known Fenno-Baltic singing style (28 September)
  • A large-scale musical sculpture inspired by the colours and movement of the Northern lights, by British artist Paul Jefferies (28 September–1 October)
  • The Nordic Lights Lounge - an immersive sonic experience that invites visitors to listen to electronic music by Nordic composers including Ann Rosén, Osmo Tapio Räihälä, Mirjam Tally, Camilla Söderberg and more (28 September–1 October)
  • Free yoga accompanied by Nordic music on the Clore Ballroom (30 September & 1 October)

Nordic Music Days also focuses on creative workshops for children and adults, encouraging experimentation and collaboration between Nordic and UK musicians. Each day throughout the festival, twenty composers and musicians from the UK and Nordic Countries are invited to short writing sessions led by Martin Q Larsson, composer and Artistic Director of Nordic Music Days, to create new pieces of music within one hour which will be performed in pop-up Work in Progress concerts across the site. Music Maze offers an innovative series of creative music-making workshops that offer young people of all abilities the chance to try their hand at composing music, with each workshop culminating in a live performance of an original piece on Southbank Centre’s Riverside Cafe stage.

Talks and seminars throughout the festival will explore a wide range of topical issues in contemporary music today, including New Music: The Burning Questions, a three part series of seminars that explore issues for composers today from both a UK and Nordic perspective. Hosted by the Council of Nordic Composers, in collaboration with three UK music organisations, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), Sound and Music and PRS Foundation, these seminars include wide-ranging sessions on diversity and women in music, international opportunities for composers and artist-led programming.


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