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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rare Orchestra Announces Rare U.S. Tour

Jean Sibelius, surprised as anyone else
 that they've found the score of his Eighth Symphony.
Inspired by Daniel J. Wakin's excellent article in the New York Times on questionable orchestras and their planned tours of North America, Superconductor is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the first North American tour by the world-famous Olematon Akatemia Sinfoniaorkestri.

The group will be touring under the direction of its current music director, Lupää Johtaja. Mr. Johtaja has worked with the 120-piece touring ensemble since 1999, and originally joined the orchestra as a second triangle player.

The company's summer repertory includes Bruckner's Concerto for Two Wagner Tubas and String Orchestra, The Asteroids, a tone poem by Gustav Holst, Franz Liszt's Fourth Piano Concerto for the Left Pinkie and the Richard Strauss waltz Schlagobers. The orchestra will also be playing an abbreviated version of John Cage's 4'33" as its nightly encore.

Based in the world-class Kusta Lumi Concert Hall, newly built on the outskirts of Kemijärvi, Finland, this  ensemble is particularly revered for its performance of the recently discovered Eighth Symphony of Finnish national composer Jean Sibelius. The score, long thought destroyed, was found underneath a FinnBot pinball machine in a public house on the outskirts of Rovaniemi. A recording is forthcoming on Teldec Records.

Founded on February 30, 1973, the Olematon Akatemia Sinfoniaorkestri is an internationally accredited ensemble, which spent most of the 1970s and '80s on goodwill tours of the eastern end of the former Soviet bloc. Their first music director was the much-loved Sonni "Paska" Valehtelija. In addition to his chamber arrangement of Arnold Schoenberg's cantata Gurre-Lieder, Mr. Valehtelija was known for conducting concert versions of rare operas, including Richard Wagner's Wieland der Schmied, Giuseppe Verdi's Re Lear and Leos Janacek's The Cunning Little Agent, a dark comedy which is the flip side to the composer's The Makropolous Case.

Tour stops include Bodie, CA, Berlin, NV, Medicine Mound, TX, and Centralia, PA before returning to Europe to play a summer festival in Belchite, Spain. More information about this orchestra can be found at this site.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.