Jan Söderblom is currently the Artistic Director of the Finnish Chamber Orchestra and the Artistic Director of three annual music festivals. He holds the position of 1st Concertmaster of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and also performs as a guest conductor or concertmaster with several Scandinavian and European orchestras. Whether conducting, directing or playing, Söderblom’s artistic vision clearly communicates a personal narrative where history and the present, culture and nature meet in a distinctive and compelling way.
Among several Finnish professional orchestras Söderblom has performed as the soloist with eg. the Swedish Radio Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra and Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. Having a fundamental passion for chamber music, he was a founding member of the New Helsinki Quartet in 1982. The quartet has been awarded in several competitions and performed in many of Europe’s most prestigious venues.
It was always evident that conducting would play a significant role in Jan Söderblom professional identity. While forging a career as a soloist and chamber musician, he enrolled at the Sibelius Academy’s renowned conducting class with Jorma Panula and Leif Segerstam. Consequently, his dual career as taken a turn towards conducting. With engagements including all the major Finnish orchestras he has been the guest conductor at orchestras such as the MDR Sinfonieorkester in Leipzig, the Danish National Chamber Orchestra and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. In opera, Jan Söderblom has collaborated with eg. Swedish Royal Opera, Norrlandsoperan and Finnish National Opera.
Finnish music was born in the forest. Finnish music was born in the forest. Jean Sibelius heard the echoes of both his great symphonies and his aphoristic piano pieces in birdsong and humming trees, and it was from nature’s mysterious seduction that the thrilling story of the Wood Nymph was born. For Outi Tarkiainen, inspired by the nature of Lapland, the forest provides a hiding place, a platform for spiritual growth and a home for ancient stories. Outi Tarkiainen is one of the fastest rising Finnish composers of her generation internationally.
New, old, borrowed
It sounds antique, it has an ancient name and a patinated surface – but is it old? While Ottorino Respighi and Alfred Schnittke’s series resonate with the glories of early Baroque, Anna Clyne’s Rest These Hands brings about goosebumps with sounds from beyond history. The concert takes listeners on a journey into a past that may never have existed. The programme culminates in the performance of the youngest performer of the Naantali Music Festival of all times, violinist Lilja Haatainen, who is only 12 years old but has already won her share of international competitions.
Four of the concert’s enduring favourites tell stories of life and death. While Mozart’s quartet rings with uninhibited joy, Johannes Brahms’s trio, composed in memory of his mother, is an ethereal picture of beautiful memories. Jörg Widmann’s Jagdquartett, one of the most performed pieces of our time, takes us on a terrifying hunting trip from which there is only one way out.
Sound of Passion
“These notes of mine kiss all of you. They call for you passionately,” wrote Leoš Janáček to his young beloved in the cover letter of his string quartet. Richard Wagner’s haunting Tristan and Isolde also deals with lust and longing for one’s beloved. American composer Amy Beach’s piano quintet, full of late Romantic passion, has become a favourite with audiences and critics alike in recent years.
Mozart, the entertainer
As well as operas and concertos, W. A. Mozart composed unrivalled light music that was played all over Europe’s courts and spas. The playful Divertimento for three wind instruments was written for the common amusement of a group of friends, while the Divertimento in E-flat major was probably the world’s first string trio. Light or not, every note carries the weight of Mozart’s unique touch.