As the world celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius, we here at the FMQ are doing our bit in aiming our microscopes and smartphones at our national composer. We take a look, among other things, at the political and politicised Sibelius and his role in shaping what came to be perceived as our national musical language. We also explore new approaches to individual works. Yet at the same time we aim to reach beyond the historical figure and the myth to address today’s world and the future. What should we do to nourish and nurture this musical legacy for following generations?
In 2013, Music Finland launched a professional debate and vision development, posing the question of what the domain of classical and contemporary music will be like in the 2020s. The final report of the project proposes three visions on which the music sector should focus: structures of the music sector in Finland; international networks and interaction; and education together with creative application of technology.
There is nothing here to disagree with: a flourishing musical life requires a solid base of craftsmanship, a lively dialogue, music education available to everyone and institutions that enable the most proficient musicians to pursue a professional career. But that is not enough: we also need strong content and the courage to put ourselves out there.
A boy born 150 years ago did put himself out there and managed, through hard work and inspiration, to capture something essential about his culture and his era in his music yet at the same time to communicate on a universal level. While his achievement was an exceptionally monumental one, we must remember that he was simply fulfilling the core task of an artist – a task that applies to any artist, anywhere, anywhen.
At the beginning of this year, the FMQ bid farewell to Gramex, its home for the past 30 years, and joined its new publisher, Music Finland. We would like to take this opportunity to extend our cordial thanks to Gramex as a whole and to Administrative Assistants Leena Hirvonen and Ulla Haukatsalo on behalf of the FMQ for the past years. We feel inspired as we look forward to new challenges.