Dress rehearsal

Ollikainen & Sibelius’s Legends

feat. Gabriela Montero and NACO

Eva Ollikainen © Nikolaj Lund
Gabriela Montero
Eva Ollikainen
Music Classical music Piano
  • SOFIA GUBAIDULINA Fairytale Poem
  • Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovsky Piano Concerto No. 1
  • Sibelius Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22
  • In-person event

In recognition and thanks for invaluable donor support, the NAC Orchestra grants insider access to donors to audit a working rehearsal in Southam Hall. Often, an artist or member of the artistic team gives insights into the creative process and invites questions from donors. Seating is limited.

The artistry of Venezuelan-born pianist and NACO creative partner Gabriela Montero might well defy description, but it is always magically rewarding. Her masterful execution of classical repertoire and her uncanny ability to improvise complicated musical pieces in real time, often based on themes suggested by her audience, make her truly a one-of-a-kind musician. In Montero’s hands, Tchaikovsky’s beloved Piano Concerto No. 1 moves effortlessly between the enchanting, the titanic, and the lyrical.

The Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina’s Fairytale Poem was inspired by the Czech children’s story of a piece of chalk destined to write boring mathematical equations and language exercises all day, despairing that it would ever reach the dream to which it aspired—to create “wonderful castles, beautiful gardens… and the sea” before it became too small to continue. “It seemed so symbolic [of] an artist’s fate,” Gubaidulina wrote.

One of composer Jean Sibelius’s most essential works, Four Legends, Op. 22 is an aural panorama that portrays the picaresque exploits of Lemminkäinen, a questionable but engaging hero of Finnish mythology. The Four Legends marked a true turning point for the composer, leading to the “most fertile, confident, and colorful writing for orchestra thus far in his career” (sfsymphony.org).

All this under the baton of superb Finnish conductor Eva Ollikainen, whose infectious enthusiasm and nuanced technique have led her to the podiums of prominent orchestras worldwide. She is currently Music Director and Artistic Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Conductor of the Orchestra della Toscana.