The oldest continuously running music event in the Nordic countries returns to Helsinki with the theme ‘Diversity is Unity’ and a nod to Scotland

Every year, each of the Nordic countries in turn has the opportunity to roll out a magnificent showcase of current trends in contemporary composition for hungry audiences. As there are five Nordic countries, each country only gets to do this every five years. Now, this November, it is Finland’s turn.

There is no other event in the world that brings together such a large number and broad range of contemporary composers of art music as the Nordic Music Days. Lasting only four days, the festival is tightly packed yet manages to incorporate all manner of collisions with visual arts, very free jazz and prog rock. More than 40 composers are featured.

This festival has been held since 1888, less regularly in the 20th century but annually since the 2000s. Last year, it was Sweden’s turn to host the event, and in an unprecedented twist the Swedes decided to take the show on the road to London. Finland, not to be outdone, is extending a similar geographical handshake in a gesture of solidarity to ‘Brexit losers’ – Scotland.The Avanti! Chamber Orchestra performs the Clarinet Concerto of Scottish composer Helen Grime at its festival concert. 

At the other orchestral concert opening the festival on Wednesday 7 November, composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, who passed away in 2016, is remembered with a performance of his Cello Concerto no. 2, Towards the Horizon, his last work in this genre, by cellist Marko Ylönen and the Helsinki Philharmonic under Klaus Mäkelä.

G Livelab, the hot live music venue that has treated Helsinki audiences to fabulous performances for some two years now, features three late night gigs, the first of which leans heavily towards jazz under the unfettered leadership of the Finnish-Norwegian combo Liberty Ship.

Another space that is a hot topic in current discussions is the Amos Rex art museum, which opens this August. This opening will establish an eagerly awaited venue for contemporary visual arts, and the Nordic Music Days intends to bring artistically ambitious rock music similarly back into focus. The festival concludes with a prog rock concert on Saturday night, a bridge-building event as it features the first appearance in Finland since 2006 of Anekdoten from Sweden.



Wed / Nov 7th

Helsinki Philharmonic /
Klaus Mäkelä, conductor /
Marko Ylönen, cello

7:00 PM // Helsinki Music Centre (Mannerheimintie 13 A)
Daniel Bjarnason (IS): Over Light Earth
Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928–2016): Cello concerto nr 2, ”Through the Horizon”
Britta Byström (SE): Segelnde Stadt
Jimmy López (FI): Peru Negro


Liberty Ship

10 PM // G Livelab (Yrjönkatu 3)
Esa Pietilä (sax)
Olavi Louhivuori (dr)
Håvard Wiik (p)
Ole Morten Vågan (bs)

Thu / Nov 8th

Performers TBA

6 PM // Amos Rex (Lasipalatsi square, Bio Rex)
Kaj Duncan David (DK): Relay
Maija Hynninen (FI): Freedom from Fear
Fredrik Gran (SE): Vox Terminus
Perttu Haapanen (FI): Lost Boys


Helsinki Chamber Choir

7:30 PM // Amos Rex (Lasipalatsi square, Bio Rex)
Olli Moilanen (FI): Ruskan värjäämät lehdet
Ørjan Matre (NO): Orphic Songs
Hans Gefors (SE): Umi sono mono
Karin Rehnqvist (SE): When I Close My Eyes I Dream of Peace



10 PM // G Livelab (Yrjönkatu 3)
Asta Hyvärinen (FI): Tone Hazard
Rebecka Sofia Ahvenniemi (NO): An Ode to a Tree
Jan Martin Smørdal (NO): All Play
Christian Winther Christensen (DK): Four Hyper-Realistic Songs for Quintet
Joakim Sandgren (SE): objets saisis
Itzam Zapata (FI): Glitch or the Aesthetic Failure

Fri / Nov 9th


2 PM // Place TBA
Trine Boje Mortensen (DK)
Kate Molleson (SCO)
John Storgårds (FI)


performer TBA

5 PM // Temppeliaukio church (Lutherinkatu 3)
Albert Schnelzer (SE): Aqua Songs
Helen Grime (SCO): Three Whistler Miniatures
Timothy Page (FI): Hypha
Rune Glerup (DK): Six Movements for Piano Trio
Anna Thorvaldsdottir (IS): Shades of Silence


Avanti! /
Anna-Maria Helsing,
conductor / Lauri Sallinen, clarinet

7 PM // Temppeliaukio church (Lutherinkatu 3)
Farangis Nurulla-Khoja (SE): Ni d'ici-ni d'ailleurs
Bjørn Bolstad Skjelbred (NO): Wave-Chains (Liquid Reconstruction 1)
Helen Grime (SCO): Clarinet Concerto
Lars Klit (DK): Furui obakeyashi
Magnus Bunnskog (SE): Traum
Eivind Buene (NO): Sea Change


– performers TBA

10 PM // G Livelab (Yrjönkatu 3)
Tyler Futrell (NO): Pas de deux
Ville Raasakka (FI): Gardener
Kristine Tjøgersen (NO): GLAM
Thomas Bjelkeborn (SE) & Koray Tahiroglu (FI): KET

Sat / Nov 10th

Uusinta Ensemble

6 PM // Tiivistämö (= Suvilahti district building n:o 5, Kaasutehtaankatu 1)
Loïc Destremau (DK): COM unTime
Kari Beate Tandberg (NO): Porphyry Imitations
Sami Klemola (FI): Concrete
Adam Vilagi (FI): Hunger
Jouni Hirvelä (FI): Fracture Mechanics
Ida Lundén (SE): Tyskamossarnas sugluft


9 PM // Tiivistämö (= Suvilahti district building n:o 5, Kaasutehtaankatu 1)
Jeavestone (FI)

10:30 PM
Anekdoten (SE)



Right to changes reserved.

Twitter  |  Facebook