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Ristiveto Festival: The most beloved and detested tunes


The Ristiveto Festival at Ateneum presents a series of concerts that will transport audiences through the years in the spirit of Helene Schjerfbeck - from the glowing colours of the late Romantic period towards the more reduced expression of the 20th century. Finnish talents will be joined by an international guest, the Swiss-born cello virtuoso Thomas Demenga. The artistic directors of the festival are pianist Emil Holmström, cellist Markus Hohti and violist Eriikka Maalismaa. The concerts will be performed in the exhibition halls of Ateneum on the last weekend of September.

Saturday 29 September at 20.30: The most beloved and detested tunes

Familiar tunes, from virtuoso classics to popular melodies, performed by artists from the festival in the Restaurant Tablo Ateneum - programme to be revealed at the concert.

Tickets: 20/15 € (under 18s: 10 €; discount with S Bonus Card: -3 € from full price) from Ateneum Info.


Ristiveto Festival - background information

In music, as in other art forms, a fascinating period of change took place between the years 1880 and 1930. The language of music was completely redefined amidst the "cross draft" (= ristiveto) of these years, resulting in everything from megalomaniac compositions à la Mahler to progressive music that anticipated a new era.

It is common these days to divide the compositions of this period into their own clichéd categories: the melodic expressiveness of Debussy, the Finnish lakeside imagery of Sibelius, the rending modernism of Schönberg. What is interesting is that these artists composed their major works in roughly the same years - they followed the same debates, read the same authors and viewed the same paintings.

Despite the relatively brief distance in time, the sound of classical music changed radically in the 1900s. Whereas before, string players played on gut, today metal strings are the norm. Pianists before could choose from countless piano brands whose acoustics were designed for smaller halls, rather than the massive concert halls of today.

The Ristiveto Festival takes us back closer to the sounds of the early 20th century. Emil Holmström plays a 114-year-old Steinway, Jan Söderblom, Eriikka Maalismaa, Atte Kilpeläinen and Markus Hohti string their instruments with gut, and Christoffer Sundqvist arrives with his German clarinet. Joining us on this journey are cello virtuoso Thomas Demenga and pianist Paavali Jumppanen, along with Finnish soprano Pia Freund.


The participating musicians all share an interest in the traditions of classical music and a desire to get the most out of the music. Jan Söderblom is a violinist and conductor who currently heads the Pori City Orchestra and has performed as a violinist just about everywhere. Eriikka Maalismaa is the second lead violin of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and is active also in the Jousia Ensemble. Atte Kilpeläinen performs with Meta4 and is leader of the viola section of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Christoffer Sundqvist is solo clarinettist of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and also performs with PlusEnsemble. Cellist Markus Hohti is an active chamber musician and sought-after guest performer at festivals. Emil Holmström is a versatile pianist and keyboard player whose performances vary from intimate lied evenings to urban concert collages.

Special guests

Thomas Demenga

Swiss cellist Thomas Demenga is an internationally known soloist who is known for his unique interpretations and insightful concert programs. He has performed with numerous major orchestras, including the Berliner Symphony Orchestra, the Berner Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In 2003 he was the "artiste étoile" at the Lucerne Festival. In 2002 Thomas Demenga completed a disc set for the ECM label that combines Bach's solo cello series with new works of music. Since 1980 he has served as Professor of Cello at the Basel Music Academy.

Pia Freund

Pia Freund is one of the most noted Finnish singers today. She has played several roles at the Finnish National Opera since 1992 and performed a particularly impressive interpretation of the music of Kaija Saariaho at concerts around the world. Freund performs regularly with well-known conductors and orchestras, and she has become known for her expressive and knowledgeable musicianship.