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The first rehearsal in the M2 rehearsal room.

The highlight of my year (second year in a row!) was my performance with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra at their new and beautiful concert hall. Just like last year, the rehearsal schedule was extremely tight, but this time just the first rehearsal was in the rehearsal room and already the next day we could rehearse in the proper acoustic.

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Rehearsing in the beautiful Mariinsky Concert Hall.

My program was again a dream come true - Smetana's Vltava (or Moldau, as it was known earlier), Bruch 1st Violin concerto (with the Danish violinist Niklas Walentin) and Sibelius' 5th symphony. This symphony is one of his most popular, but still not much played in Russia - they prefer his 1st symphony, and sometimes the 2nd is programmed as well.

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At the concert. Sold out hall.

Mariinsky Theatre is doing an excellent job promoting their concerts, and classical music in general. There is always a lot of public, and it seems lots of newcomers to the concerts too judging by how common it is to get applause between the movements of a symphony or a concerto. This time the hall was packed as well, and I was so happy that many of my Russian friends could attend the concert. Next year Finland is celebrating its 100th year of independence - I hope that I can return to Mariinsky with some more Finnish music to celebrate it!