(Suomeksi) 100 kesäfillaria käyttöönne, olkaa hyvä!

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What to do and where to stay in Vantaa?

You are coming to the BRQ Vantaa Festival? Great! But what else there is to see and experience in Vantaa in the summer? Here are a couple of ideas for your visit in Finland. We also have a nice accommodation tip for you, so please keep reading!

See our festival programme here

Buy concert tickets in our online store



Fazer Experience Visitor Centre

Fazer Experience vierailukeskus

Step under the shade of cocoa trees, spot the giant bunny and sense the fragrance of grain. Enjoy the guided exhitibion tour, give an unforgettable children’s birthday party or attend an inspiring meeting, celebration or event with us. Fazer Experience Visitor Centre offers joy and experiences for all the senses and all ages!

Fazer Experience vierailukeskus

It is also possible to do shopping in the store or enjoy the sweet and savoury treats that the bakers and pastry chefs conjure up along with high-guality handmade bread, chocolate and pastries in Fazer Café.

More information on Fazer Experience Visitor Centre



Heureka plasmaputki

Science Centre Heureka offers joy of discovery and fun experiences for all ages! Heureka introduces science in an engaging and interactive way. Visitors can experience science through spectacular hands-on exhibitions, planetarium films, learning programmes and events. Heureka’s Basketball Rats are a must-see!

Heureka rottakoripallo

Heureka is one of Finland’s most popular recreational centres, attracting an average of 300,000 visitors each year. There is always exhibitions about many different themes. During summer season exhibitions extend outdoors to Science Park Galilei.


Entrance ticket includes an access to all exhibitions and planetarium shows as well as to daily programmes. You can also visit Heureka Shop and have a lunch or snacks at restaurant Café Einstein.

More information on Heureka




Kuusijärvi is a popular all-season outdoor recreational center. By summertime a large sandy beach and by wintertime the beautiful cross-country skiing landscape with the invigotaring ice swimming possibilities, are the foundations for Kuusijärvi’s popularity. Kuusijärvi has the only public smoke saunas in the city of Vantaa and is a must-do for all visitors in Finland. Saunas are open daily around the year.


More information on Kuusijärvi

Kuusijärvi in Facebook


Where to stay during visit?

If you need recommendations concerning accommodation in Vantaa, we have good news for you! Clarion Hotel Helsinki Airport is a stylish but laid-back hotel located in the new district of Aviapolis, 2 km from the Helsinki-Vantaa airport terminals and just a few metres from the Aviapolis station. The hotel has been designed to provide a warm, homely and exclusive atmosphere. It is very easy to travel from Clarion Hotel Helsinki Airport to Tikkurila and Helsinki Central Railway Station from where you will be able to reach the BRQ Vantaa Festival venues easily, so the hotel will be a good choice for your visit in Vantaa.

Clarion Helsinki Airport Hotel

More information on Clarion Hotel Helsinki Airport


Yhdistyksen perustajajäsenet Seppo Koivisto, Pipsa Toikka ja Kimmo Metsä (pj)

Yhdistyksen perustajajäsenet Seppo Koivisto, Pipsa Toikka ja Kimmo Metsä (pj)


(Suomeksi) BRQ Vantaa Festivalin Kannatusyhdistys kutsuu jäseniä

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Kyläraitilla vanhimmat talot pihapiireineen kertovat maalaiskylän elämästä 1700-luvun lopulta lähtien.

Kyläraitilla vanhimmat talot pihapiireineen kertovat maalaiskylän elämästä 1700-luvun lopulta lähtien.


(Suomeksi) Kirkonkylän pihat ja puutarhat

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Kreeta-Maria Kentala. Photo: Lauri Oino

Kreeta-Maria Kentala. Photo: Lauri Oino


(Suomeksi) Barokkiviulumusiikin helmiä

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Young talent emerging BRQ Vantaa

This year’s festival programme is full of interesting little gems. The soulful playing by the masterful harpsichordist Pierre Hantaï has hardly left anything to be desired and the Bach interpretations by violinist Rachel Podger are a pure delight. Beside the official programme BRQ Vantaa has an extremely interesting feature this summer. Among all these respected artists that have already earned their place in the Early Music scene, the festival has decided to introduce new talents by organising a series of Fringe concerts. BRQ Vantaa is proud to be the first Early Music festival in the Nordic countries to exhibit new talent in a full Fringe series.


Castello Consort

Castello Consort. Photo: Tim Schutte.

Fringe events gives the young and unexperienced artists an opportunity to take the stage. The concept took form at the Edinburgh International Festival in the 1940s, when a handful of uninvited theatre groups staged their own productions on the “fringe of the actual festival”, hence the term. Since then the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been expanding and developing into one of the most important Fringe festivals in the world. Also other festivals have taken Fringe events as a part of their repertoire. Among the early music scene this has been the case at the Utrecht and Boston Early Music Festivals in which Fringe concerts have become a traditional part of the programme.

The idea of a Fringe series at BRQ Vantaa first sparked after the Open Stage concert organised for the first time in summer 2014. This gave the early music amateurs and young professionals an opportunity to get a platform for their skills. The decision of organising a full series was made. Several potential musicians applied for the Fringe series from every corner of Europe. From a large body of talented musicians the final selection was made by the artistic director Markku Luolajan-Mikkola. “I was torn because I wasn’t able to invite everyone I wanted – the quality was amazingly high.” The three selected ensembles and soloist range from musicians concentrating on Baroque to artists mixing both old and modern music.

Quartet Revoiced_facebook

Quartet Revoiced!

Castello Consort, a Dutch trio named after the Italian composer Dario Castello, concentrates mainly on the music of the 17th and 18th centuries. The core of the ensemble formed at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague includes a harpsichord, a Baroque cello and a Baroque bassoon but it expands according to the repertoire. The Italian harpsichordist Alberto Chiari has performed successfully in his home country and won the Luca Marenzio prize in 2013, at only at the age of 21. This year’s speciality in the Fringe series is the German flute quartet Quartet Revoiced. The ensemble does not only restrict itself to early music but wants to build bridges between yesterday’s and tomorrow’s music. The quartet combines the rich sound of early flutes with modern works with creativity and virtuosity. The Polish group Overtone is specialised in Baroque music. The trio with a violin, viola da gamba and harpsichord aims to bring forth the diversity and nuances of the 17th and 18th centuries as well as rediscovering forgotten music.

For the young musicians the concert trip is fully self-funded. They will get a front row seat at the Finnish early music scene. This is how all the Fringe concerts have a free entrance and therefore are an extremely easy and painless way to get to know the world of early music a little better. All donations for the young artists are encouraged. You are very welcome to come enjoy the fresh and inspiring performances of these young and talented future stars of early music!

Anni Bouyahia


BRQ Fringe 2015

TUE 4 August 7 pm, St. Lawrence Chapel Castello Consort

THU 6 August 5.30 pm, Nyknapas house Alberto Chiari

SAT 8 August 5.30 pm, St. Lawrence Chapel Quartet Revoiced!

SUN 9 August 6 pm, St. Lawrence Chapel Overtone


(Suomeksi) Miksi kannattaa lennättää klavikordi Vantaalle?

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Omniwerk and Ilpo Laspas, a duo of endless possibilities


Thursday evening the excitement was finally over when, for the very first time, Ilpo Laspas played the intriguing instrument in front of an audience in a concert organized with the support of Vantaan Energia. At the beginning of the concert, the festival’s creative director Markku Luolajan-Mikkola announced that the brand new instrument, built by Jonte Knif and Jukka Ollikka, aided by the irreplaceable technical consultation of Peter Jokinen, had been named Omniwerk, coined by Harri Erämetsä for the name competition.


Laspas’ playing enthralled. It was one of those rare concerts where reigned both a deeply focused and a wonderfully joyous atmosphere so that from time to time one could hear enthusiastic bits of laughter. It seemed as if Laspas had taken us to a journey not only through several decades but also numerous genres, even mythologies.

Ilpo Laspas and Omniwerk are without a doubt a duo to follow!


After the performance, audience members had the rare chance of playing Omniwerk and asking questions from Knif and Ollikka. The enthusiasm was nearly tangible and curious audience members were surrounded the instrument for over an hour after the concert had ended.

“The instrument sounded fantastic – thanks to Ilpo!” Lauri Porra, the musician and composer who commissioned the instrument commented. He wishes that Omniwerk could be part of Classical music liberating itself from some its conventions, something that is already well on its way.

“Would this kind of a project have happened at another time?” Porra thought out loud. A thought-provoking question indeed. It turns out that Omniwerk fits into a fascinating frame of reference when it comes to the history of music and ideas.

“Interpretations are completely dependant on the performer. How could we claim to have any certainty on how did a composer mean any given piece to be played? Chances are you can play it however you want! Many things have stayed in our collective memory through courts. However, the only thing that we really know about performing Classical music is that many performances where held at taverns and what really happened is a mystery.”

“What is Classical music?” Porra wonders and leaves all his listeners speechless. What he seems to be saying is that when it comes to interpretations of Classical music, only the sky is the limit. Today Ilpo Laspas gave an enchanting example of just that.


Porra sees that both in music and the cultural life in general, there is the danger of sticking to old conventions. There is a need for innovators, visionaries. The time being, according to Porra, there is strong willingness in the Classical music scene to find new, exciting point-of-views. This is what Omniwerk presents to him.

“It would be nice if the instrument would not stay hidden in my appartment”, Porra comments playfully and explains that there is a lot of interest for Omniwerk, especially when it comes to recording deals. The range of interested parties is fascinating: Rock music, Classical music, film music, you name it.

No chances that Omniwerk would get to spend lazy days any time soon!



Photos: Ari Vihervaara

Text: Karoliina Vesa


To begin with, pure joy and dazzling performances


Both the audience and the performers felt that Monday was a ravishing day of music at Vantaa. With their concert North & south, light & shadows, organized with the support of the Embassy of Spain in Helsinki, Ensemble Nylandia and its international guests captured the imagination of listeners of all ages.


Sofia Fernholm

Sofia Fernholm and Juho Myllylä enjoyed the high quality of playing. Last year at BRQ Vantaa Festival, Myllylä was very impressed by the Italian Ensemble Micrologus. The two young flutists are in fact going to perform at BRQ as well, in Saturday’s Open Stage -concert, a brand new concept at BRQ Vantaa Festival!


Juho Myllylä

“The moment Esfahani started to play, it was as if the heartbeat of the music had gotten more intense. What a dazzling performance! Also, never have I seen the cello being played like a guitar!” board member of BRQ Vantaa ry Kaarina Suonperä muses.


Board member of BRQ Vantaa ry, Kaarina Suonperä, creative director of the festival festival, Markku Luolajan-Mikkola, and one of the youngest audience members at the festival

She was also delighted to see so many music enthusiasts at Vantaa on such a beautiful summer evening.

The musicians were also happy with how the concerts went.

“The audience responded very nicely”, Guadalupe López-Íñiguez happily commented. She was also thrilled about working with the other musicians who performed at the concert and the repertoire that seemed to be entertaining for the audience.

“When we first heard Maggie play, it was the best sound we could imagine”, López-Íñiguez praises Urquhart.

Kuva 4

Guadalupe López-Íñiguez and Maggie Urquhart

When it comes to Urquhart, she felt that the audience really enjoyed the program and that there was an uplifting atmosphere.

“It is really fun to play with other people! We worked very well together and even though everyone has a strong personality, we got a great, unified sound”, Urquhart summed up, beaming.

Tuesday’s two concerts were packed with stellar performances as well: first took place Mahan Esfahani‘s solo recital, organized with the support of Vantaan Energia, and then BRQ Vantaa Ensemble’s and Maggie Urquhart’s Bass Explorations.


Mahan Esfahani

After the concert, the great harpsichordist shared his thoughts about performing at BRQ Vantaa Festival.

“It was a very beautiful experience, performing here”, Esfahani sums up. “The audience was really paying attention to my playing, which is always nice.” He is already looking forward to another set of performances in Finland.

“I loved the concert! It completely made me re-think orchestral music”, Susan Elbow from the Embassy of the United States told. “I usually listen almost exclusively to orchestral music, but Esfahani is so proficient… It is dazzling how much he can express with the harpsichord! His playing just swept you along.”

Esfahani & Elbow

Susan Elbow, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the United States of America and Mahan Esfahani, harpsichordist

When it comes to state of Classical music in the world, Elbow comments the following:

“In the United States, Classical music is everywhere, not just in the bigger cities. When it comes to Asia, it is wonderful how musicians in many countries such as Japan and China take inspiration from great European composers and let is shape the music scene in their countries. Also, it is delightful to see how Bach and other great European composers still nowadays inspire so many people.”

Also two Finnish master harpsichordists, Ilpo Laspas and Petteri Pitko were very taken by the concert and agreed that listening to other musicians perform is an important part in gaining inspiration as an artist.

Petteri Pitko & Ilpo Laspas

Petteri Pitko and Ilpo Laspas

Today at 7 p.m. Laspas is performing a unique concert where he will be playing a brand new, exquisite instrument. A world-premiere, that is! For further information on this exciting concert, read our blog post on the mysterious instrument:

and read more about the long-awaited concert:

The second concert of the evening, Bass Explorations was visibly a very touching experience. Three ladies who have come to BRQ Vantaa Festival also times before were particularly pleased with the interesting composers in the repertoire, such composers that even avid music enthusiasts are not familiar with all of them. They praised Urquhart’s mad skills and enjoyed the eye-opening program that they thought might have been eye-opening also more generally to the public.


Artistic director Markku Luolajan-Mikkola proposes a toast to a day of exquisite concerts

The harpsichordist Ilpo Laspas was in the audience of this second concert as well. He admired both how well the concert worked as a whole and the virtuosity of Urquhart. He was certainly speaking for quite a many persons in the audience when summing up his feelings of the day:

“One could have listened to such music forever and ever!”


Photos: Ari Vihervaara

Text: Karoliina Vesa


Interview with Mahan Esfahani

Kuva: Marco Borggreve

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Today at 7 p.m. BRQ Vantaa Festival will have the great pleasure of hosting Mahan Esfahani‘s solo recital. In this interview, the harpsichordist shares his views on music, values, hard work and why his concerts might feel like a Dutch apartment.

What inspired you to become a musician? In your blog, you write that there is a strong element of following one’s own path.

As I grew up, music was always in the house. This atmosphere got me used to being around of people and performing. Importantly, it also taught me that music is foremost about communicating. Music –  if you can’t communicate it, what is it? Classical music is rarefied in society; early music created a niche for itself. When it comes to playing, integrity is one of the most vital. But integrity, one of the most important things can be conveyed to anyone, not only to specialists of Classical music.

How come you chose the harpsichord out of all the instruments in the world?

I like to say that it was a way of rebelling against my father who used to be a piano player. On a more serious tone, I heard the sound of the harpsichord for the first time when I was eight or nine. It was Wanda Landowska play Bach. It was precise, sexy, immediate, rhythmic. That’s how I knew it was my instrument.

What makes the harpsichord special as an instrument?

It is very precise. The strings are plucked, so the sound is pure, and that also makes the difficulty of the harpsichord: either it is on or it is off. You must also be a master of timing. Playing the harpsichord could be compared to articulation in speech. It is important that I let the harpsichord speak to me, without having any preconceptions, just listening to it. It’s the same with the audience. There is a general tendency of prescriptiveness. The audience needs to join me in listening what the harpsichord has to say, without preconceived ideas.

One of your great ambitions has been to perform the first book of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and you have compared the book to the First Testament. Could you elaborate on this? Also, what is the fascination with Bach’s music all about?

We usually say that Bach is the root of music, when actually he is the culmination of music. This is naturally a Romantic way of putting things, thinking about the beginning and the end. Bach teaches you how to have values, both in art and in life.

Do you take inspiration from other art forms?

Quite a bit. I read a lot, and I also write some poetry of my own. I’m fond of the big Russian masters: Tolstoy, Chekhov, Bulgakov, Pushkin, Akhmatova… I must be reading Slavic writers more than anyone else! Also, reading history fascinates me. When you think about it, history is just a big Romance and War novel. For some reason unknown to myself, I picture Mondrian‘s work while playing Frescobaldi and Russian literature while playing Bach. As humans, we have a prehistoric willingness to tell stories, and to try to make sense of the things we don’t understand.

How do you choose your repertoire?

To be perfectly honest, I play what I want to play. The way I see it, the audience has come to see my mood. It’s like in Holland where people don’t have curtains so everyone can see what they are eating. That’s what my concerts are, basically. Sure, there is the fourth wall, but sometimes I like to break it down and talk to the audience. I don’t really play a certain kind of music for a certain kind of an audience – I always play challenging music. People are always receptive, they sense integrity no matter what.

Had you chosen another profession instead of your current one, what would it be?

A difficult question. Perhaps a diplomat, or working in the government. Or the clergy, I have no idea why. Perhaps because in all these professions, it’s about communicating with people A linguist would have been interesting, too, but I wouldn’t have want work in academia. The more I travel, the more I see that people are the same. Everybody has good goals.

What advice would you have for young, aspiring musicians out there?

My only advice is this: just work hard. When you work hard, energies will find their way and something remarkable will happen. You need to focus on the right things – you need to focus on the main thing, the music, not on being sociable or on your looks. You need to focus on what’s right. Music deserves that kind of attention. You need to have the right values. Music teaches you that.



Interviewer: Karoliina Vesa






The Latvian Radio Choir opened BRQ’s festival week 2014

The opening concert of BRQ Vantaa Festival 2014 enraptured the audience and ended with a long standing ovation. The conductor Sigvards Kļava already made the choir march off the stage, but the audience remained adamant and got them to return for an extra number. The concert programme, which stretched from Byrd to Pärt, clearly made a deep impact here in Finland.

Aplodit / Standing ovation (foto: Ari Vihervaara)

Aplodit / Standing ovation (foto: Ari Vihervaara)

As a festival bloggist, I will always remember this concert not only for its quality but also because I’ve never had a worse starting point for my job. As a friend of choral music, I had awaited this opportunity eagerly. But then I got mixed up about the right bus to catch at the bus stop, which resulted in my having to walk to the concert through Tammisto, and it definitely wasn’t a 400-metre walk, as suggested by the bus driver, but up to 2 km. And that was 2 km in awkward sandals. So when I finally made it to St. Lawrence, I was markedly sweaty and cross.

Entering the church I was certain that my evening was spoilt. Due to necessity, I’d write a few routine lines in the blog, and that would be the end of it.

But, to my great surprise, things turned out differently after all. The timeless beauty of Knut Nystedt’s Bach meditation ”Immortal Bach”  brought tears even into the angry bloggist’s eyes. In these circumstances, the effect could obviously be achieved only by a superb performance, and this we got. The choir had spread out on stage as well as on its side and the balcony, creating a very good surround sound. I’ve noticed before that I definitely have a soft spot for Nystedt.

Thomas Tomkins’s “When David heard” was another highlight for me. The altos of this choir have a very full-bodied sound, and at times the Tomkins alto part really brought them to the fore. I also appreciated the fact that some pieces like Pärt’s ”Da Pacem Domine” employed a very slow tempo. Maybe that’s what we crave for in (post)modernity, and too seldom get to experience.

Sigvards Kļava conducted with great plasticity that was a joy to watch. Of course, Bach’s “Jesu meine Freude” called for rhythmically very precise singing, and here Kļava held the choir in his firm grip.

Pyhän Laurin interiööriä / St. Lawrence interior (foto: Ari Vihervaara)

Pyhän Laurin interiööriä / St. Lawrence interior (foto: Ari Vihervaara)

The concert programme fitted perfectly together with the unique ambience of St Lawrence, and the audience, who had turned up in great numbers, obviously agreed with me. So our thanks are due to the Latvian Embassy and the Riga2014 Foundation for helping to make it all happen.

Text: Suvikki Honkkila

Maggie Urquhart


Interview with Maggie Urquhart

Violone artist and bassist Maggie Urquhart plays three concerts during BRQ Vantaa Festival 2014: the first one with Ensemble Nylandia on 4th August, and then two concerts in BRQ Vantaa Ensemble on 5th and 7th August 2014. This is quite an undertaking, especially as the Viennese repertoire included calls for a fair amount of strength to play.

Maggie Urquhart first studied the classical bass. Later, after two years in the European Youth Orchestra with Claudio Abbado, she became curious about the history of the bass and the large group of bass instruments referred to as the violone.

As there were then no bows or strings commercially available for the violone, Urquhart learnt to make these herself. Holland began to seem like the logical place to move to, and soon Urquhart was playing in different groups while also studying in The Hague with Anthony Woodrow.

The violone whizz answered BRQ media team’s questions about her career and the pieces chosen by her for the festival programme.

Have you been in Finland or played a concert here before?

I’m hugely looking forward to coming back to Finland! I was there the first and only time in 1989 for the festival in Joensuu with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. I remember a very friendly reception and not being able to take part in the orchestra outing on rubber rafts down the river since I had my first daughter aged 1 with me!

What made you choose the double bass/ violone as your instrument? What is best about your instruments?

My mother took me to a concert of Bach’s ‘Brandenburg concertos’ when I was 11. I fell in love with the double bass and the music and asked straight away if I could play the bass. The girls’ grammar school I was about to begin at had a lovely Old French bass which they lent out to me for the holiday and when I began at the school 6 weeks later, I began right away in the school orchestras.

The sound of the bass has a richness which encompasses the low fundaments and a huge range of upper harmonics ­─ it’s magical!

How do you see the role of double bass/ violone in an ensemble or orchestra?

It’s the backbone. In the baroque period especially, the bass line was the foundation. Often the bass part is just as tricky as the upper voices, just played on rather more unmanageable instruments.

In the classical period, the orchestral bass line is obviously more simplified. It’s interestingly only then that we see the real emergence of a solo repertoire for the violone/contra bass with the Viennese classical repertoire beginning around 1766. The role of the bass in chamber (divertimento) music also flourishes in this period as it projects so well.

What other projects than BRQ Vantaa festival have you got on your list for this summer?

It’s not really a holiday this year! Earlier this summer, I taught at the Amsterdam Early Music Summer school. At the same time, I gave a presentation about the 8′ violone and a short concert at the Bass2014, also in Amsterdam. In August I have two projects with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century including semi-staged productions of ‘Cosi fan tutte’ as well as concerts at the Warsaw Chopin Festival, where we play Beethoven, Chopin and Grieg piano concertos on period instruments and the Mozart ‘Jupiter’ symphony.

Meanwhile, I’m researching the early history of the violone as part of a newly set up research program for teachers in Holland. Simultaneously, I’m looking at the role of the 8′ and 16′ violone in J.S. Bach’s music.

How were the programmes chosen for Vantaa?

Guadalupe (López-Íñiguez) and Markku (Luolajan-Mikkola) asked me to choose music based around the violone. This kind of chance to make programs around the bass line is exceptional. Normally the upper instruments are highlighted, and if we do our job well as bassists, we are not particularly noticeable or celebrated. We support and enhance the other lines.

For the BRQ concerts, I thought of two mainly used violones: firstly the 8′ G violone which is a large viola da gamba. In northern Germany, the G violone was used comparatively late ­─ till the end of J.S. Bach’s life. Secondly the Viennese violone, which started to appear at the end of the 17th century and has a large amount of solo and chamber music written for it from about 1760-1800.

I wanted to play with my colleagues Sirkka-Liisa (Kaakinen-Pilch) and Markku, so this German repertoire seemed ideal for their instruments. The viola d’amore has a special and beautiful sound. Few people play it, but happily Sirkka-Liisa does. Its colour blends with the unique sound of the Viennese bass.

Could you tell us more about the pieces you selected?

I built the program around the function of the small violone definitely as a continuo, and possibly, solo instrument. Buxtehude used this violone as his continuo bass, but also wrote the beautiful duo for violone and viola da gamba.

The first Dittersdorf concerto which I’ll play is probably the first concerto we have for the Viennese bass, but not the easiest. It makes good use of the chords and harmonics of the instrument, but it is very rarely played, although all modern bassists use the second concerto for orchestral auditions.

The Hardt piece lies on the lower strings of the bass gamba, and I think it may have been performed on the violone. We see the same range in J.M. Nicolai’s ensemble pieces, and apparently he played the violone himself.

What are you looking forward to from your visit to Finland?

Mostly, I’m looking forward to these concerts and playing with my Finnish colleagues. We have a lot of music to prepare together, after which I give two days of masterclasses before leaving, so there won’t really be time for seeing Finland.

Maggie Urquhart performs at BRQ Vantaa Festival on 4th, 5th and 7th August 2014.

Text: Helen Metsä and Suvikki Honkkila


(Suomeksi) Tulossa hieno kuorovierailu Pyhän Laurin kirkossa

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Sweeten it up!

This year, after all festival concerts Finnish Fazer will offer its renown chocolate to all of BRQ Vantaa´s artists. In this blog Fazer´s Partnerships and Heritage Manager, Liisa Eerola tells a story of Fazer´s history, Karl Fazer and the renown Fazer blue chocolate.

The taste world of Helsinki citizens changed drastically, when 25-year-old Karl Fazer opened a French-Russian café in Kluuvikatu, Helsinki on 17 September 1891.  Karl Fazer studied in St. Petersburg, Paris and Berlin, and from these trips he brought with him the recipes that were initially used for the making of ice cream and pastries. Karl Fazer considered himself a confectioner, and from the very  work made by hand was appreciated in the company. Art was very much present in the family anyway, family members often played music together and Karl’s brother Edward was a co-founder of the Finnish Opera, together with Aino Ackté.


In 1894, 120 year ago, Karl Fazer began manufacturing chocolate, which is considered the beginning of the Finnish confectionery industry. Nowadays Fazer’s chocolate factory is located in Vantaa, where a 100 000 kg of chocolate is manufactured daily.

Karl Fazer chocolate (also known as Fazer Blue) was launched in 1922 and it is an integral part of the Finnish culture, just like the sauna, salmiac or rye bread. When Karl Fazer launched the Fazer Blue chocolate, he used Ecuadorian Arriba cocoa, simply because it was the best cocoa available. This is why Arriba is still used in the chocolate classic. Cocoa grows in all continents that are located along the equatorial region and its taste varies depending on its habitat. The basic flavour of Arriba cocoa is characterised by a flowery, fruity and nutty aroma. Test tasters check the roasting, acidity and aroma, and make sure that there are no undesirable flavours.

The colour blue was a very important colour for founder Karl Fazer, for him it symbolized Finland’s nature and an independent fatherland. The chocolate gets its charm from fresh milk, cocoa beans and its unique recipe, which Fazer received from a business associate as a thank you for a favour he did.  Today the quality of Finland’s most beloved chocolate is supervised in Vantaa by the fourth generation of Karl Fazer’s heirs.

BRQ Vantaa is honoured to have Fazer as its partner and a private chocolate supplier. We believe that the musicians will also thank Fazer too after the concert!

Text: Liisa Eerola
Manager, Partnerships and Heritage
Fazer Group

kuva 20



A renown instrument builder Jukka Ollikka is working on a new instrument that combines the best features of historical geigenwerk and lautenwerk.  This brand new instrument will be premiered at BRQ Vantaa Festival on August 7th and it will be played by a harpsichord virtuoso Ilpo Laspas.

This new instrument doesn´t yet have a proper NAME and this is where we need YOUR help. We want you to suggest a name to this new instrument! The best name suggestion will WIN a Magical Keyboards -series ticket (value 75 euros) to four concerts at Chapell of St Lawrence. All participants will also enter a lottery of two tickets to the world premiere of the new instrument on August 7th at 7 pm.

SEND your name suggestions and your contact details (name, address, e-mail, phone number) to by August 1st. The winners will be contacted personally. A professional panel will choose the name of the new instrument and it will be announced in the world premiere concert on August 7th.

We have followed he development of the new instrument in our festival blog with pictures and stories. We wait enthusiastically to see the instrument in action and we will follow its journey with regular blog posts.

Buy ticket to the world premiere of the new instrument here.

Buy a Magical Keyboards -series ticket here.


Magical Keyboards -concerts at the Chapell of St. Lawrence (Pappilankuja 3, Vantaa)

Keyboards: Mahan Esfahani
Tue Aug 5th at 7 pm The Chapel of St. Lawrence (Pappilankuja 3, Vantaa)
Mahan Esfahani, cembalo (Iran)

Keyboards: ???
Thu Aug 7th at 7 pm The Chapel of St. Lawrence
Ilpo Laspas, new instrument

Keyboards: Wien 1790
Fri Aug 8th at 7 pm The Chapel of St. Lawrence
Tuija Hakkila, fortepiano

Keyboards: Carl Philipp Emmanuel
Sun Aug 10th at 6 pm The Chapel of St. Lawrence
Aapo Häkkinen, clavichord and harpsichord



Interview with Guadalupe López-Íñiguez

Guadalupe López-Íñiguez will be performing at BRQ Vantaa Festival on August 4th in the concert titled North & South, Light & Shadows. López-Íñiguez will be playing a cello concerto by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach accompanied by a Finnish new generation group Ensemble Nylandia that has got very positive recognition from its recent performances. López-Íñiguez is a regular member of this young ensemble founded in 2009 by a talented organist and keyboard player Matias Häkkinen. On August 4th Häkkinen will be playing as an organ soloist in a Quintet by Antonio Soler, which is the opening number of the concert. And we shouldn´t forget that the Iranian harpsichord-comet Mahan Esfahani will also be playing a harpsichord concerto by C. P. E. Bach in this concert. Quite a night to expect, we would say!

We interviewed the talented young cellist Guadalupe López-Íñiguez about her musical ideas and aspirations, her career as a researcher and about the August 4th concert and its programme.

Besides being a distinguished cellist Guadalupe has also recently finished her PhD in Psychology at the Autonomous University of Madrid. Her Doctoral dissertation topic was “Conceptions and instructional practices of string instrument teachers: Influence on the conceptions and levels of musical comprehension of their students”. Now Guadalupe is working on post-doctoral projects at the Sibelius Academy and is also studying a Master’s Degree in Historical Cello Performance.

Guadalupe has had her basic musical training in Spain but came to Finland in 2009 to widen her musical perspective. She remembers very well the first time she came to Finland on February 17th 2009: “It was very cold. The first move was to go to Kauppatori to see the Baltic Sea frozen and hear the amazing sound of ice braking.” Although she knew that Finland´s weather is very cold compared to Spain she was drawn to this northern city because of the successful educational system and the good results of learning (PISA). Guadalupe told us that she also had a chance to go to Venezuela to study in “El Sistema” but at the time the political situation was so unstable that it was easier to come to Finland instead. In Finland she wanted to find a constructive string teacher for her research. The first teachers she observed in Finland were Géza and Csaba Szilvay in Itä-Helsinki Music Institute. However Guadalupe didn´t come to Finland for one specific teacher because she wanted to have a broad experience. During the following years she lived both in Finland and in Spain and recorded lessons of many Finnish string teachers. She also studied modern cello with the renowned Finnish cellist Martti Rousi, as part of her Masters studies.

In the next clip below Guadalupe talks about her musical career goals and dreams. The BRQ Festival press thinks that there sure are many wonderful things to come for this talented young cellist. Herself Guadalupe summarizes her dreams in the following sentence: “To play what I want in the way I want”. See the video clip to learn more!

After talking about her own musical career we wanted to ask Guadalupe about the concert programme at the BRQ Vantaa Festival on August 4th and also about Ensemble Nylandia. Guadalupe thinks highly of Ensemble Nylandia because of its democratic way of working. She also says that the ensemble has, despite of its young age, also established its own identity quite well mostly because the founder of the ensemble Matias Häkkinen “stays true to his musicians and the people are more or less the same all the time”, Guadalupe comments. Because of the stable and at the same mobile nature of the ensemble Guadalupe thinks it´s a very good place for musicians to develop their skills. The ensemble´s repertoire choices and well chosen performance occasions also get praise from Guadalupe and she hopes that this thriving ensemble could get more financial support in the future for further development.

After Ensemble Nylandia Guadalupe told us about the concert programme and how it came about. You can watch her telling about the programme in the video clip below! On the clip Guadalupe for example tells that the a minor C. P. E. Bach cello concerto (Wq. 170, H. 432) that she will be playing at BRQ Vantaa is actually her favourite one of the composer´s concertos. Guadalupe was altogether quite active in the planning of the concert programme and she also got the Spanish Embassy to support the concert through her own activity. This support also brought interesting Spanish spices to the programme, which is of course also very well suited to Guadalupe because of her background. She wishes that she can bring some of her native knowledge to the pieces and maybe make them even more juicy and colorful. The programme includes for example Luigi Boccherini´s Quintetto “La musica notturna delle strade di Madrid” and although Boccherini was not really a Spanish composer Guadalupe says that he is actually often considered as one. The Spanish spices contrast very well with the other pieces in the programme and the pieces are also very well suited for the group of musicians playing in the concert, Guadalupe adds.

The ensemble for the August 4th concert is actually quite a “dream team” including, besides Guadalupe and Ensemble Nylandia, also harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and violone player Maggie Urquhart. We can´t wait to see this team in action soon!

Right now Guadalupe is based in Helsinki with her husband and her little baby boy. Lastly the Festival press wanted to know a little about what Guadalupe thinks about her new home country, Finland. When we asked Guadalupe what she likes or doesn´t like about Finland she first mentioned the lack of good tomatoes as her dislike because she is an enthusiastic cook and uses tomatoes a lot in her cooking and is used to getting wonderful tomatoes in Spain. Otherwise Guadalupe really likes Finland for several reasons such as beautiful nature, smoked salmon and warm, hearty people. Guadalupe also gives credit to Finland´s strong internationality and praises its active cultural field.  She also mentions that of all the countries she has visited “Finland is the most meritocratic of the all”, in a good sense. By this Guadalupe means that for example a young talented musician gets recognized here very well and you get credit for your work and achievements.  “If you work hard and do good things for your profession and help others, people recognize it”, Guadalupe adds.

Interview and text: Helen Metsä


North & South, Light & Shadows

Mon August 4th at 7 pm The Church of St. Lawrence
(Kirkkotie 45, Vantaa)

Ensemble Nylandia (Finland) with guests:
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord (Iran)
Guadalupe López-Íñiguez, cello (Spain)
Maggie Urquhart, violone (The Netherlands)

 Boccherini – Soler – C.P.E. Bach

Buy your ticket from the Festival Store!

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Sneak peak to the construction process of the new instrument, part 2

(Edit. A couple of new pictures from the casting process added July 2nd.)

Here´s a few detail pictures of the new instrument that will be premiered at BRQ Vantaa on August 7th. We can´t wait to see the instrument finished! Can you guess what´s in these pictures? See the answer below!

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Silver originals

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Look at the colors, beautiful!

Instrument builder Jukka Ollikka´s answers to the picture mystery: “In these pictures you can see parts of the instrument´s mechanism. In the last picture (above) you can see parts of the mechanism ready for vacuum casting. The parts have been designed with Cad-programme after which they have been printed out with a 3D-printer to create a wax model. The silver parts in the pictures above have been cast using the wax models. These silver originals have then been finished and polished and after that I have made silicone models form them. With the help of the silicone models I have created new wax models that have been joint in to a “wax tree” in the last picture. This “tree” will now go into a casting mold and then I will cover it with a special plaster mixture on it. When the wax will be burned off the result will be wax model shaped holes.”

New pictures from the casting process (added July 2nd)

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And what will Ollikka do with these wax model shaped holes? Stay tuned to find out!

Pictures: Jukka Ollikka
Text: Helen Metsä

Kuva/Photo: Laura Valkea

Kuva/Photo: Laura Valkea


Welcome to old Helsinki Parish Village!

Verdant gardens, several 100-years old wooden log houses, medieval church made of stone, a rapid washing nearby and peacefulness. A fairytale idyll where you can imagine yourself going back in time for several decades. All this you can experience when visiting the old Helsinki Parish Village!

The old Helsinki Parish village was founded long before the city of Helsinki and it has been an important areal central for hundreds of years. When you get to know this old village you will also familiarize yourself with the early history of cities of Vantaa and Helsinki.

This village is easy to find and it´s only one bus trip away from Helsinki city centre. The most apparent landmarks of the village area are the medieval Church of Saint Lawrence and as it´s pair the modern Chapel of Saint Lawrence. These landmarks are also the concert venues for the BRQ Vantaa Festival in August. During the festival the audience has the chance to get to know the fascinating old Helsinki Parish Village area better by participating to the Culture Walk tours organized by the Vantaa society. The tours take you back in history and with a professional guide you will learn about the old Parish village´s history, surroundings and buildings.

Kirkonkylää-5.8.13 171Culture walk in 2013

Text and picture: Riina Koivisto/Vantaa society
Translation: Helen Metsä


Culture walks during the BRQ Vantaa Festival (organized by the Vantaa Society):

The tours during the BRQ Vantaa festival week will be guided in FINNISH!

Wedenesday August 6th at 5.15 pm
Tickets for the tour 5 euros (ticket sales begin at 5 pm)

Sunday August 10th at 7 pm
A FREE tour sponsored by the BRQ Vantaa Festival.
If you want to take part to this tour please send us e-mail to!
The places for this tour is limited.

Both tours will depart from the gate of the Church of Saint Lawrence situated at the Church square.
The tours will be about 1 hour long. The tours will be guided in Finnish.


A new instrument in the making

Here is a little photo update about the making of the new instrument that will be premiered at BRQ Vantaa Festival on August 7th. The work is still is progress and we will follow the building with great enthusiasm!

kuva 2 A lot of clamps holding the structure together.

kuva 3 The instrument has a curvy outline

Here are some comments from Ilpo Laspas who will tame the new instrument-baby in the world premiere concert:
“I wait to meet the new instrument with great enthusiasm. It´s very hard to say exactly what I expect of it because the instrument will be one of a kind. This new instrument is fascinating especially because it combines two instruments that can be played at the same time.This feature will certainly give unique opportunities in the terms of sound although it´s very hard to imagine what they will exactly be. As an organ (and harpsichord) player I get to play many different instrument,  but I still think that this new instrument will be something totally different, something I´ve newer met before.”

kuva 1Keyboards maybe?

Stay tuned for more pictures and stories about this new, yet-to-be-named, instrument!


Pictures: Jukka Ollikka

Text: Helen Metsä



Instrument builders in wonderland

Last August the BRQ Vantaa audience got to know Jonte Knif and his colourful retrosynthentisator. This year another and completely new keyboard instrument will be presented that will challenge our knowledge of instrument building. We often perceive instruments as immutable, but this was not how it was before: especially in the renaissance times instrument builders were eager to invent many new and radical instruments.

Now renown harpsichord builder Jukka Ollikka and Jonte Knif will continue this spirit of creativity. Their idea is to combine two historical and experimental keyboard instruments into one totally new instrument. Ollikka and Knif will attempt to combine geigenwerk or viola organista that sounds like a combination of viola da gamba ensemble and organs with lauternwerk which could be described as a giant lute operated with keyboard.

Harpsichord builder Jukka Ollikka has been thinking about building a new experimental instrument for years. ”My friend Lauri Porra has for long asked me to built an unusual instrument. Aapo Häkkinen has also inquired about building a lauternwerk.” Ollikka says.

Suddenly something special happened: in 2012 a polish Sławomir Zubrzycki finished a viola organista a.k.a geigenwerk that actually worked very well. This instrument known with different names in history combines a string instrument with a keyboard and is based on drawings made by Leonardo Da Vinci himself. Lauri Porra got really exited about this geigenwerk as did Ollikka because a good functioning geigeinwerk has not yet been seen. A functional lauternwerk however has been made before.

Ollikka´s brain started working furiously: suddenly he realised that it would be possible to combine geigen- and lauternwerk. He asked Jonte Knif to help him and Knif was immediately exited about the project. ”Both lauten- and geigenwerk have gut strings and same tuning so by emerging them we get two in the price of one” Ollikka says. The working title for the new instrument was decided to be lautengeigenwerk a.k.a ”luteviolininstrument”.

This completely new idea of instrument building has required tremendous amount of testing of both materials and technical solutions. During the spring of 2014 for example different lengths of string and pluck points were tested on a trial soundboard. A soundsamplebank was collected and also a basic structure of the instrument was modelled on a computer. Ollikka tells that he has severely studied metalcasting and even established a small foundry so that he and his team could make all the parts that they need themselves. ”We were lucky to get help from a friend of mine, engineer Peter Jokinen, whose knowledge and contacts about industrial materials were crucial to this project” Ollikka says.


Combining two existing but also rare and unusual instruments is not easy and requires a totally new way of thinking. The result of this project will be harpsichord-like instrument that ”will have two manuals; the geigenwerk will be operated on the upper and the lauternwerk from the lower manual”, Ollikka describes. In practice this means that two different keyboard instruments can be played at the same time but there will be only one choir of strings for the both instruments.

Lauternwerk could basically be described as a gut-strung harpsichord whereas in geigenwerk the strings are rubbed by bow when a key is pressed. Ollikka says that he will not be using a hurdy-gurdy like rotating wheel as usually seen in geigenwerk but a band to operate the strings. The real great idea of Ollikka and Knif is however the way the key and string work together. By using magnetically joined levers and eccentric elements  they have created the touch of the instrument just as they want it to be. ”You have got to have a nutty professor -attitude in this kind of project!” Ollikka laughs. ”We have experienced many ’eureka-moments’ and in that way this project has been very different from the tradional instrument building where  almost all of the technical problems have already been solved”, Ollikka adds.

”We have a tendency to do unusual things just because they can be done. The world of early music just isn´t enough for a playful human kinds like us. It´s simply wonderful to develop something new that will be even greater than the old one and even better if someone else will also like it”, Jonte Knif comments. Knif believes that you can find people from the early music field that are willing to jump to the unknown and are not distracted by an unusual – or one might even say unhistorical – instrument. The lautengeigenwerk-projeckt is not about researching history but remodelling it, Knif says. He also hopes that musicians could do something totally different with this new instrument: ”The instrument could work well in theatrical projects and I also very much hope that someone would actually compose something new just for this instrument”, Knif comments.

Initially Ollikka and Knif were supposed to built an instrument just for Lauri Porra´s use. However they soon came up with the idea that this new instrument should also be premiered in an actual concert. BRQ Vantaa Festival was happy to take this concert and after this it didn´t take long for the builder pair to think of an musician to figure out the new lautengeigenwerk: Ilpo Laspas. ”Ilpo is amazing!” He can take over strange instruments  stunningly fast”, Knif says. ”Ilpo has to show us how this instrument is actually played!” Ollikka adds.

A curious detail is also that only two days after the world premiere of the lautengeigenwerk in BRQ Vantaa Sławomir Zubrzycki will play his viola organista at the Mänttä Music Festival.

We will be following closely the finishing of lautengeigenwerk in our festival blog so stay tuned for more!

Text: Auli Särkiö
Translation: Helen Metsä
Photos: Jukka Ollikka

The world premiere of lautengeigenwerk built by Jukka Ollikka and Jonte Knif will take place on August the 7th at 7 pm in the Chappell of Saint Lawrence. Don´t miss this unique concert, buy your tickets now!


(Suomeksi) Mikä ihmeen BRQ? Yleisökommentteja festarilta

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Markku Luolajan-Mikkola, Peter Spissky & Fibo. Photo: Katri Somerjoki

Markku Luolajan-Mikkola, Peter Spissky & Fibo. Photo: Katri Somerjoki


(Suomeksi) BRQ Vantaa Festival päättyi Frutti di Mareen

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Dahlbäck and Argo released their CD O quam speciosa

Argo and Kajsa Dahlbäck, soprano, gave a concert of vivacious baroque music from 17th century Venice, where the cathedral of San Marco served as the centre of musical experimentation.

The audience at BRQ Vantaa Festival was very interested to explore this musical style that’s full of originality.

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Kajsa Dahlbäck & Anna-Maaria Oramo. Photo: Katri Somerjoki

”The title song, Grandi’s O quam speciosa really took flight, and the last Monteverdi was a feast! Such dance music in praise of Jesus and Mary is not heard at your regular Sunday service”, thought Pirkko-Leena Toikka from BRQ volunteer team.

Afterwards, the musicians signed their CDs at the festival’s busy CD shop, where the crowd was enjoying a lovely Finnish summer evening.
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Kajsa Dahlbäck & Argo signing CDs. Photo: Katri Somerjoki

Text: Suvikki Honkkila

Photos: Katri Somerjoki

Debi Wong from White Sparrow. Photo: Katri Somerjoki

Debi Wong from White Sparrow. Photo: Katri Somerjoki


White Sparrow and a packed house explored the depths of the night

A voice of rare beauty fills the chapel with its lyrical lament:

Thus, wedded to my woes,

and bedded in my tomb,

O let me dying live,

till death doth come, till death doth come.


It is mezzo-soprano Debi Wong performing with lute and theorbo player Solmund Nystabakk at BRQ Vantaa Festival 2013.

I think to myself that I’d never write like that. I’d simply never feel like that – it’s the 21st century, and I’m way too rational to be wedded to my woes. And yet I’m captivated by these lines and the exquisite performance of this duo called White Sparrow.

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White Sparrow at the BRQ Vantaa Festival 2013. Photo: Katri Somerjoki

In a concert entitled Mister Dowland’s Midnight, we’ve been traveling from sunset to this point, the darkest hour of the night. In addition to music by John Dowland, the program has included pieces by his contemporaries such as Anthony Holborne and Philip Rosseter, whose No Grave for Woe we heard just a moment ago. I’ve enjoyed it all, including the flirtatious moments experienced at sunset, but I do feel the program has been getting better and better. Yes, the darker the better! A curious enchantment indeed.

Evidently, I’m not alone with these thoughts, because the concert, held in The Chapel of St. Lawrence, was absolutely packed.

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White Sparrow. Photo: Katri Somerjoki

“I think this was our first packed concert!” the young mezzo-soprano rejoices. This is if you don’t count a house concert White Sparrow once did in Vancouver.

“A big thank you to our audience – they were so supportive of us!”

Two things worked together to bring Debi Wong to Finland. She got interested in Sibelius Academy’s Doctor of Music programme, which she sees as a unique opportunity for a musician to combine artistic and academic pursuits. Another major factor was that, after a long search for a lute player, she finally found Solmund Nystabakk, a Norwegian who now makes his home in Finland.

The artists haven’t toured much with tonight’s programme yet, but they believe that Mister Dowland’s Midnight offers something very interesting to the modern person:

“It’s an opportunity to explore a very different mindset. Elizabethans were so sincere. People wouldn’t say these things today without being slightly ironic,” Solmund Nystabakk says about Dowland and his contemporaries.

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Debi Wong from White Sparrow at the BRQ Vantaa Festival 2013. Photo: Katri Somerjoki

The first audience members to be interviewed hailed from Switzerland. They had searched for interesting concerts to attend on their holiday, and had found the BRQ Vantaa Festival online. The musical family had enjoyed the concert very much.


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Monica Corrodi and Sandra Mazzoni at the BRQ Vantaa Festival with their husbands, brothers Peter and Andreas Corrodi (not pictured). Photo: Katri Somerjoki

Andreas Corrodi was especially taken with Debi Wong’s genuine interpretation and the good balance between the vocal and instrumental parts. Sandra Mazzoni, herself an amateur lutenist, confessed having liked the larger lute better than the small one.

“The melancholy was sweet, not heavy, and Debi Wong has such an expressive voice filled with emotion,” Monica Corrodi thought.

Lutenist Mikko Ikäheimo had come to listen to what for him was mostly familiar repertoire. He said he had very much enjoyed both the performance as well as David Hackston’s skillful translations of the lyrics.

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Lauri Kokkonen. Photo: Katri Somerjoki

Lauri Kokkonen, too, said he takes a special interest in Dowland’s music and the Elizabethan era, which he became better acquainted with at the time of writing his master’s thesis.

“In this music you can find many themes that carried on to later centuries, even though the culture of that time was so different from today,” he reflected.

All in all, it was a very special and memorable night at BRQ Vantaa. Luckily, friends of the Elizabethan era can also get acquainted with this exciting new duo online, as White Sparrow has a fair number of samples of their work available on YouTube.

Text: Suvikki Honkkila

Photos: Katri Somerjoki


Ambrosian Delights was amazing

The premiere of Ambrosian Delights was absolutely stunning! The audience loved it, and the applauses and cheers were almost like in a rock concert. Also the composer, Olli Virtaperko was really excited after the premiere. He said that the concert went really well, even better than the rehearsals, and he was exceptionally pleased with the result. The creator of knifonium, Jonte Knif told that before the concert he was feeling a bit nervous because there had been some technical problems with the instrument. Luckily he got it fixed, and his performance was really good. Knifonium truly is one of a kind.

Jonte Knif & Markku Luolajan-Mikkola

The artistic director of BRQ Vantaa, Markku Luolajan-Mikkola was also very pleased with Ambrosian Delights. The concerto was very demanding, and the orchestra didn’t have too much time for rehearsals. ”Jonte Knif and The Finnish Baroque Orchestra played really well, and Ville Matvejeff did relly good job conducting the concert. The premiere exceeded all the expectations.”

Text & photos: Kaisa Paavilainen


Delights over borders

The expectations were certainly high for the Wednesday night´s concert after a very successful evening on Tuesday. The most awaited number of the evening was rightfully the premiere of Olli Virtaperko´s work Ambrosian Delights (also the name of the concert) for knifonium and baroque orchestra. This fantastic new work offered something that most of the audience had never heard of and certainly did not let the expectations down.

Ambrosian Delights was a delightful combination of soft sounds of the baroque instruments and the extraordinary sound of knifonium tube synthesizer. The sound of this instrument built by soloist Jonte Knif could say to resemble the old videogames or the sounds created at an experimental electroacoustic sound lab. The concerto included influences that crossed over many fields of music including jazz and progressive rock. Towards the end f the concerto the combination of intensive soundweb and percussions with knifonium melodies on top even resembled a little bit of the 80´s hit Final Countdown and it´s famous synthesizer parts. Overall Ambrosian Delights was a witty combination of old and new, of baroque and synthesized sound. The work was also instrumented very carefully as the knifonium was pared with many different instrument making them sound quite different than usual.

All in all the Wednesday night´s concert was certainly a delight and a truly new experience. The other works performed at the concert (works of Händel, Bach, Richter and Purcell) framed the premiere of Ambrosian Delights beautifully and created a whole concert experience.  The young Ville Matvejeff conducted FIBO with confidence and precision. Hopefully we get to hear these kind of open-minded crossovers also in the future of the BRQ Festival!

Text and picture Helen Metsä



Phantasm Dazzled with a Vivid Concert

On Tuesday, the gentle summer night contrasted with Phantasm’s – an acclaimed consort of viols – vivid and elaborate concert “Wild, Wilder, Lawes – William Lawes: Consorts to the Organ”. Throughout this exceptional concert, the musicians had a profound connection amongts themselves, which translated into a meticulous, rich and coherent sound.


A fascinating repertoire and skilled musicians ensured a heartfelt experience. No wonder why Phantasm has recently been nominated for a Gramophone -award for their Lawes -recording! Listeners of the concert were very taken by the immaculate playing and the musicians’ sense of dynamics.


Soon in the blog: interview of Laurence Dreyfus, director of Phantasm!

Text: Karoliina Vesa

Picture: Katri Somerjoki

Patrizia Bovi (Ensemble Micrologus) soundcheckkaa.
Kuva: Katri Somerjoki

Patrizia Bovi (Ensemble Micrologus) soundcheckkaa. Kuva: Katri Somerjoki


Patrizia Bovi and the art of storytelling

Singer and instrumentalist Patrizia Bovi from Ensemble Micrologus met the BRQ Media Team to talk about her musical path.

Artists we have interviewed in the past few years have told us very different stories of their discovery of early music. Patrizia Bovi had an early start, as she began to sing at the annual medieval festival of her hometown when she was just 9 years old. In spite of this, becoming an expert of medieval music was not that easy for her, because the conservatory she attended didn’t teach early music, forcing her to forge her own career path. When Micrologus was founded, it served its members as a kind of laboratory of music.

”Wherever we’ve performed, we’ve had a very strong reaction from the audience. I try to tell a story with music, so I like the concert to have a dramaturgical plan as well. The concert institution of today was only invented in the 19th century. If you can take the audience back in time, medieval music can be better understood,” Patrizia Bovi explains.

The artist’s first visit to Finland was very brief, but she’s full of new projects for the future, and hopes to make it here again.

“There is incredible music in Scandinavia, and a strong choral tradition, which is an important part of one’s education,” Patrizia Bovi told the BRQ Media Team just before being rushed off to catch her ride. It’s worth knowing that, next year, Micrologus will be on its 30-year tour, so all fans who await their return should keep their fingers crossed.

Text by Suvikki Honkkila

Photo: Katri Somerjoki

Photo: Katri Somerjoki


Micrologus made the audience wild at BRQ Vantaa Festival

Le Jeu de Robin et de Marion by Adam de la Halle offered the audience something very exotic in this part of the world, and we simply loved it. Now we’ve heard medieval motets sung in old French! Now we’ve seen the cialamello and the buccinas! The vivacious performance by Ensemble Micrologus combined great musical precision with an unusually relaxed stage presence. Maybe a pastoral of shepherd life is just what people need amidst the continuing economic crisis in Europe. One seldom hears applause like that, especially in a church setting.

Text: SH

kuva: Sini Pennanen

kuva: Sini Pennanen


(Suomeksi) Kuuntele kirkkoa

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