Sibafest, the flagship event of the University of the Arts Helsinki's Sibelius Academy, is set to take over the Music Centre in Helsinki on January 26-27, 2024. This festival marks the beginning of a year packed with nearly a thousand concerts, offering a unique experience that goes beyond traditional performances. Sibafest invites the public to explore the behind-the-scenes world of music education, encompassing rehearsals, workshops, and backstage tours.
The festival is a celebration of the talents of Sibelius Academy's students, teachers, and the audience, with interactions and collaborations at its core. Visitors will have the chance to engage in a variety of immersive activities. They can participate in rehearsals of the opera "The Marriage of Figaro," join a Brazilian rhythms workshop, try their hand at playing the organ, dance at a techno concert, peek behind the curtains of a symphony orchestra, and engage in panel discussions. Sibafest's genre range is impressively broad, spanning from early music to techno.
"Sibafest is an invitation for the audience to try something new. Whether it's improvising in an opera, participating in a songwriting workshop, or joining a large side-instrument orchestra where you can’t play your primary instrument, there's something for everyone," says Merzi Rajala, the festival's artistic director.
This year's Sibafest provides a rare opportunity to delve into the background of music education. For the first time, the public will be extensively involved in the concerts' preparatory stages, including rehearsals and workshops alongside the students.
Most of the festival's events, including dozens of concerts, rehearsals, workshops, and discussions, are free to the public. The only paid event is the concert by the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo, on January 27th. The "Resurrections" concert will feature works by Messiaen, Beethoven, and Bartók, with solo performances by violinist Iidamari Ahonen, cellist Artturi Aalto, and pianist Tsotne Sidamonidze. Prior to the concert, the orchestra will open its backstage doors to offer an insight into the orchestra's functioning, led by students, producers, and conductor Sakari Oramo.
Celebrating its tenth iteration, Sibafest showcases the Sibelius Academy's internationally renowned concert activities. Performing is an integral part of the Academy's curriculum, and the festival provides a window into the multifaceted nature of music studies.
Sibafest 2024 promises to be a memorable event, offering an unparalleled glimpse into the dynamic and diverse world of the Sibelius Academy, and the depth and breadth of musical education and performance.