• Experience Finland’s celebrated Lahti Sibelius Festival, devoted exclusively to Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) and this year featuring the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra under Neeme Järvi
• Visit a range of fascinating sites associated with Sibelius, including Ainola, his family home close to Lake Tuusula
• Take in the cultural highlights of Helsinki, including the intriguing monument dedicated to the composer, designed by sculptor Eila Hiltunen
Depart Heathrow 1125 on British Airways, arriving Helsinki 1620. Transfer to GLO Hotel Kluuvi for two nights. Evening lecture: Setting the Scene – A Musical Overview of our Visit.
Morning walking tour of Helsinki: University Library (exterior), Lutheran Cathedral (exterior), Town Hall, Market Square, Esplanade, railway station. Afternoon: Rock Church and Sibelius Monument. Evening: optional concert in Helsinki (subject to performances).
Hvitträsk (built in the National Romantic period by the architects Saarinen, Lindgren and Gesellius as a home and studio). Transfer to Lahti for four nights at Hotel Mukkulan Kartano. Evening festival performance at Sibelius Hall featuring Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Dima Slobodeniouk (conductor) and Baiba Skride (violin): Overture in A minor, Violin Concerto, Svanevit orchestral suite.
Morning lecture: Finding Freedom – Sibelius and the Drive towards Finnish Independence followed by visit to Villa Ainola (Sibelius’s house). Evening festival performance at Sibelius Hall featuring Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Neeme Järvi (conductor): Romance in C major for string orchestra, Music for the play Death: Scene with Cranes and Valse triste, Symphony No 3, Symphony No 4.
Morning lecture followed by cruise to Lake Vesijärvi. Afternoon festival performance at Kalevi Aho Hall featuring Meta4, Antti Tikkanen (violin), Minna Pensola (violin), Atte Kilpeläinen (viola) and Tomas Djupsjöbacka (cello): String Quartet in D minor Op 56. Evening festival performance at Sibelius Hall featuring Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Dima Slobodeniouk (conductor) and Baiba Skride (violin): In memoriam, Six humoresques for violin and orchestra, Symphony No 6, Symphony No 7.
Late morning festival concert at Sibelius Hall ‘Sibelius on a Sunday Morning’ featuring Minna Pensola (violin), Heini Kärkkäinen (piano), Kaari Martin and Minna Tervamäki (dance): On a String – An Interpretation of the Sibelius Violin Concerto. Afternoon: guided tour behind-the-scenes at the Sibelius Hall.
Morning: private recital by Viola Uotila. Depart Helsinki 1710, arriving Heathrow 1820.