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Author: Jessie Bauters

CU College of Music joins worldwide celebration of Finland’s birthday

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence, the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music this fall will highlight the music and folk traditions of the Nordic country in a series of concerts and faculty exchanges with Finland’s Sibelius Academy.

The celebration starts with a Faculty Tuesday performance featuring Finnish music and its influence on the work of one composition student. Faculty Tuesday: Finnish Celebration is Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m. in Grusin Music Hall.

Conor Brown is a second-year master’s student and the first recipient of the College of Music’s Finnish Jubilee Composition Scholarship. Spearheaded by Composition Chair Daniel Kellogg and donors Don and Maria Johnson—a local architect and dancer with ties to Finland—the scholarship began as a commission for a student to write a piece to celebrate the country’s 100th anniversary, happening this year.

Brown spent 10 days in the capital city of Helsinki and north of the Arctic Circle, learning from experience and the people around him. The on-the-ground learning led to his piece, which Professor of Clarinet Daniel Silver, graduate quartet in residence the Ajax Quartet and vocalist-accordionist Alicia Baker will premiere on Oct. 24 at Faculty Tuesdays.

This won’t be the only performance of the piece: Later in October, it travels down U.S. 36, where the same group will perform on the CU Denver campus, and east to Washington, D.C., where the College of Music has been invited to perform at the Finnish Embassy.

Dean Robert Shay says in addition to celebrating Finland’s culture, the hope is that this fall’s events will help nurture a partnership between the college and Finland’s Sibelius Academy.

“Part of the vision of the ‘College of Music Advantage’ is to create impactful partnerships with a handful of leading international schools, to provide our students and faculty with opportunities to make connections and gain insights into other approaches to musical study,” Shay said.

In what the college hopes is the first of many exchanges with the academy, Daniel Kellogg joined Shay and Director of Orchestras Gary Lewis on a trip to Helsinki in October. He says the chance to observe composers, conductors and educators at one of the most highly regarded musical institutions in the world doesn’t come up every day.

Faculty Tuesday: Finnish Celebration is Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m. in Grusin Music Hall. In addition to Conor Brown’s “Ladun hiihin lau lajille,” the program includes works by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and others.