“Hats off, twice: to Vänskä for following his own path to unique results, and to the Tapiola Sinfonietta for surpassing itself.”
(Annamari Salmela, Helsingin Sanomat 20 December)
“The members of the Tapiola Sinfonietta are personalities who lent a personal touch to the rich fabric of the symphony. I have never heard the horizon-bending wind passages in the fugal storm of the finale so bold and so modern.”
(Jukka Isopuro, Helsingin Sanomat 30 May)
The orchestra toured abroad again in January, this time visiting the Seoul International Music Festival in South Korea. The programme included works by Sibelius, Beethoven and Schubert, and the soloists were Ju-Young Baek (violin), Na-Young Baek (cello) and Ralf Gothóni (piano), who also conducted.
The season ticket concerts in Tapiola Hall received excellent reviews; one of them was conducted by Osmo Vänskä, Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra, with Evgeny Sudbin as soloist, and another by Antotello Manacorda with soprano Anu Komsi as soloist.
The Sibelius 150 anniversary year was conspicuous in the orchestra’s repertoire. In January, the orchestra gave a concert performance of Sibelius’s opera The Maiden in the Tower and his incidental music to the ballet pantomime Scaramouche. Both works had been newly rearranged by conductor Tuomas Hannikainen, and the latter provided by a cinematic visualisation whose production team included video artist Marikki Hakola.
“…a magical dialogue of images and music on an almost pitch-black stage.”
(Auli Särkiö, Rondo Classic 12 November)
“This recording (…) feels tight and exciting (…). Helena Juntunen is outstanding in the title role both vocally and emotionally and Jorma Hynninen makes much of her compromised father (…) Anna Liisa is something special and deserves wide circulation outside its native land.
(Mike Ashman, Gramophone September 2015, ‘Editor’s Choice’)
“Conducted by Jan Söderblom, the Tapiola Sinfonietta has a broad and multi-layered sound, sizzling with energy even in the quietest moments.”
(Samuli Tiikkaja, Helsingin Sanomat 19 August)
The opera Anna Liisa, written by Veli-Matti Puumala in the late 1990s, was finally given the recording it deserved as the Tapiola Sinfonietta participated in a studio recording for the Ondine label. The critics generally regarded this as a praiseworthy cultural act, and Limelight magazine in Australia nominated it for Disc of the Year.
The chamber music series Taiteilijat lähikuvassa [Artists in closeup] was retitled Hetkiä [Moments], and the concerts were rescheduled from Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon. At the first recital, paintings by the orchestra’s bassoon Bridget Allaire-Mäki inspired by works on the programme were projected onto the screen.
The programme for the season focused on multi-discipline projects, bold crossover and selections for a wide variety of listeners. At the April Jazz festival, the orchestra performed The Rolling Stones Project by Tim Ries, sax player with the Rolling Stones. The concert was conducted by Marzi Nyman, with Tim Ries himself and vocalist Anna-Mari Kähärä as soloists.
In the first of two concerts in November, the orchestra performed works by Frank Zappa, one of the most highly diverse musicians of modern times. The soloists were guitarist-singer Marzi Nyman, the orchestra’s principal horn Tero Toivonen and percussionist Arttu Takalo. The Zappa! concert was a season ticket concerts and formed part of the doctorate of conductor Jukka Iisakkila, which focused on absurdism in music.
The second November concert was titled Ola, Topi & Tapsa 300 vuotta in reference to the combined centenaries of three major names in Finnish popular music – singer Olavi Virta, songwriter Toivo Kärki and singer-songwriter Tapio Rautavaara. Their unforgettable tunes were performed by singers Paula Koivuniemi, Tuure Kilpeläinen and Maria Ylipää.
The children’s concert tradition continued with the fairy tale concert Pieni Tulitikkutyttö [The Little Match Girl] organised with Unga Teatern, with music by Sofia Finnilä arranged and conducted by Jussi Lampela.