March residency to feature musicians and songs of Finland

(L to R): Aulikki Eerola, Pertti Eerola, and
(L to R): Aulikki Eerola, Pertti Eerola, and Eija Jarvela.

Three revered Finnish musicians from the faculty of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, will be in residency at the School of Music during the first week of March to present master classes, workshops, and discussions on Finnish music education. The week will be capped by a concert at Luther Memorial Church on Saturday, March 8th, at 1 pm. All events are free and open to the public.

This residency is designed to provide American singers and educators with a connection to Nordic repertoire and to the world-renowned Finnish music education system. The musicians, two singers and one coach/pianist/organist/choral conductor/composer, will work with individual singers from around the state, giving presentations on Finnish diction at the language diction class, Finnish song literature at the graduate song repertoire seminar, and the music education in Finland at a music education class. They will also be in residency at UW-Milwaukee for three days, presenting similar classes.

SCHEDULE UPDATE FOR MADISON, posted Feb. 19:

Sunday, March 2   2:00-5:00 Master Class for singers and collaborative pianists (Music Hall)

Monday, March 3  11:00-11:50 Presentation on Finnish song repertoire  (2531 Humanities)

Tuesday, March 4  11:00-11:50 Presentation on Finnish diction (2451 Humanities)

1:10-2:25 Presentation on Finnish music education system (2411 Humanities)

Saturday, March 8    1:00 concert at Luther Memorial Church (1021 University Avenue), including a world premiere of a work for two voice and organ

followed by gathering in church basement to talk with audience

Aulikki Eerola is Professor of Voice at the Sibelius Academy, and has had a distinguished career in opera, concert, and recording, including singing Pamina at Savonlinna, and winning awards in the Robert Schumann Competition and the Hugo Wolf Competition in Salzburg. Her studies include two years at the Vienna Academy of Music and the Vienna Conservatory, where she worked with legendary pianist and coach Erik Werba. She has presented concerts of lieder in Europe, Canada, the United States and Russia. She has performed live and for radio recordings on the BBC as well as the Austrian, French, German, Danish, Polish and Swedish radios. Her discography includes thirty recordings (Finlandia, Fuga, APJH).

Pertti Eerola is music director of Johannes Church in Helsinki, where he serves as organist and conductor of the chamber choir and orchestra. He has performed in lieder recitals with artists including Martti Talvela and Jorma Hynninen. He has been the official competition pianist for the Lappeenranta Singing Competition, the Timothy Black Rock competition, and the Hugo Wolf Competition. He has performed in concert as a piano soloist, organist and chamber musician throughout Europe, the US, China and Singapore. Pertti Eerola is featured on more than 30 CD recordings with artists including Martti Talvela, Soile Isokoski, Jouko Heikkilä and Aulikki Eerola. He has worked in recordings as a pianist, organist and conductor. He has served as coach of the Finnish National Opera and the Savonlinna Opera Festival, and has been on the faculty of the Sibelius Academy since 1984.

Eija Jarvela is on the faculty in Vocal Arts and Vocal Pedagogy at the Sibelius Academy. She received her musical training at the Sibelius Academy, graduating with diplomas in Voice Performance and Vocal Pedagogy, Doctor of Music in Performing Arts. She studied German Lied in Vienna with Erik Werba, and completed her studies in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has appeared as soloist with the Finnish National Opera and other companies around Finland and also in recitals in Finland, many European countries, Brazil and México. Teaching engagements include master classes, lectures and workshops in Finland and also in Brazil, México and France. During her doctoral studies she broadened her knowledge to acoustical aspects of the singing voice leading to a paper, “Conveyed Intention, A study of some acoustic aspects as related to production and perception of certain sung vowels.” Her interest in pedagogical research has led her into collaborative work with colleagues representing various instruments and aspects of teaching.

The residency of three members of the Sibelius Academy faculty in March is the latest part of voice professor Mimmi Fulmer’s research and performance of Nordic song repertoire. The granddaughter of immigrants from Finland and Sweden, Professor Fulmer has received grants from the American-Scandinavian Foundation, the Finlandia Foundation, and the UW-Madison Graduate School to pursue her work on classical, sacred, traditional, folk, and children’s songs in Finnish, Swedish, and Norwegian. Her CD, “Voyage Home: Songs of Finland, Sweden and Norway” was released on Centaur Records earlier this year. She is editing a two-volume anthology of songs in Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish, including phonetics and recordings of the spoken texts, to be published by Subito Music in 2014.

The March 8th concert at Luther Memorial Church will be followed by a gathering in the church basement to talk with audience, organists, church music directors, singers, and others. The repertoire will feature Finnish music for voice, piano, and organ.

All events are free and open to the public; see details below or download them here.   Sponsors include the Finlandia Foundation, the Kemper-Knapp Bequest (UW-Madison), the Vilas Trust (UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee), the Department of Scandinavian Studies (UW-Madison), and the Association of Church Musicians (Madison).

Finnish music strongly reflects the seasons, as life is shaped by the long winter and the longing for spring. Quiet, loneliness, and isolation are frequent themes, and the deep tradition of folk music  is a beloved touchstone of cultural and musical identity.  Music has  also been shaped by history and wars, during which traditions, land and even the language has been taken over by other countries.  With the comprehensive music education and community involvement in music-making in Finland, the boundaries between classical and popular music are much more porous than in the United States.

The roots of Nordic music are found in folk music.  After centuries of political turbulence, music was  a key element in forging a strong national identity for Finland during the late 19th century.  Songs allowed music-lovers to enjoy music in their homes, and strengthen ties created by poetry and music that reflected national sensibilities.  Thus songs illuminate the hard-won cultural, language, and political identities for these countries. The Kalevala (a book and epic poem set to music) helped inspire the national awakening that let to Finland’s independence from Russia in 1917.  The composer Jean Sibelius’s “Finlandia” (1899) played a role in the drive for independence as well.

From around 1200 until 1809 Finland was a part of Sweden.  In the second half of the 19th century, Finnish was recognized as the official language in Finland and the Finnish-language secondary-school system was founded.   Today Swedish remains the second official language of Finland.

The Kalevala is a keystone to Finnish culture and identity.  Held to be the national epic of Finland, it consists of 22,795 verses.  It was usually sung to tunes built on 5 notes, with lines consisting of 5 beats.  Despite the vast geographical distances separating the individual singers, the poetry was always sung in the same meter, with 8 syllables per line (Kalevala meter).  The most famous example of the Kalevala’s influence upon another author is J.R.R. Tolkien, who claimed the Kalevala as a source for writings which became the Silmarillion. It has inspired many musicians, ranging from composer Jean Sibelius to Finnish rock and metal bands.

In contemporary Finland, there are strong traditions of historically significant music as well as rock music and the tango.  In fact, Finland is divided between the north (devoted to the tango) and south (producing numerous rock bands).   Hundreds of music and song festivals take place throughout the country, especially during the summer, when well-attended concerts take place in churches and other venues, from the smallest village to the largest cities.

We hope you will join us for this very special event! For more information, contact Mimmi Fulmermkfulmer@wisc.edu

Sibelius Academy Faculty Artist Residency, March 2014

ALL EVENTS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

 University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sunday, March 2   2:00-5:00 Master Class for singers and collaborative pianists (Music Hall)

Monday, March 3  11:00-11:50 Presentation on Finnish song repertoire  (2531 Humanities)

Tuesday, March 4  11:00-11:50 Presentation on Finnish diction (2451 Humanities)

1:10-2:25 Presentation on Finnish music education system (2411 Humanities)

(Wednesday March 5-Friday March 7: classes and recital at UW-Milwaukee)                                

Saturday, March 8    1:00 concert at Luther Memorial Church, followed by a church gathering with audience members, organists, church music directors, singers, and others.

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