Carl Herko
Vice President, Media & Public Relations

February 15, 2008



(PORTLAND, Ore.) — Two hot young musicians from Finland, one of classical music’s best-loved major masterpieces and a composition not heard at an Oregon Symphony performance in 75 years all come together Mar. 8-10 in a Classical series concert that is sure to be an audience favorite.

The rarity is En Saga, the first symphonic tone poem written by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, a work that conjures up Norse mythology and the swashbuckling adventures of ancient Vikings. It gets its first Oregon Symphony performance since 1933.

The two young musicians from Finland – both rising stars internationally – are 27-year-old guest conductor Pietari Inkinen, the newly appointed music director of the New Zealand Symphony who is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting talents among the next generation of conductors, and violinist Pekka Kuusisto. In 1995, at age 19, Kuusisto was the first Finn to win the Sibelius Violin Competition; today, though he’s barely into his 30s, his reputation continues to soar as he piles up accolades for the spontaneity and freshness of his playing.

In their joint Oregon Symphony debut, they’ll collaborate on a work that both artists have specifically asked to perform together: Igor Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto in D major. The music is both restless and introspective, full of Stravinsky’s angular melodies, and audience members can count on a stellar interpretation from Kuusisto, a violinist whose range covers everything from folk music to jazz and chamber music to electronica.

Rounding out the program is one of the best-loved masterworks in all of symphonic music, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F minor. After its American premiere, one New York critic wrote: "The Fourth Tchaikovsky Symphony proved to be one of the most thoroughly Russian, i.e. semi-barbaric, compositions ever heard in the city.” But later listeners have been kinder, and today the Fourth – with its mighty blasts of sound from the brass and the bassoons at its opening and close – is among the most frequently performed symphonic works across the globe.

Three performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Mar. 8 and 9, and 8 p.m. Monday, Mar. 10, in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Tickets are available for $15 to $93 at the Oregon Symphony Ticket Office, 923 SW Washington St., in downtown Portland. Ticket office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at (503) 228-1353 or (800) 228-7343 during the same hours, or online at any time from the orchestra’s web site,

Tickets are also available through or by calling (503) 790-ARTS. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are available through the symphony’s group sales hotline, (503) 416-6380. Student rush tickets are also available for $10.

Classical series concerts of the Oregon Symphony are sponsored by Lufthansa, with media support from The Oregonian, KINK-FM and KBPS All Classical Radio.

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