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Wednesday 27 June 2007

St. Petersburg update - pics and a review

I received today two photos of my concert in St. Petersburg last month (thanks, Anna!), as well as a link to a review in Russian. I did not have time yet to read the review, but in case it says any nice things about the concert I might translate a couple of lines into English!

I put the photos in the entry where they belong. Enjoy!

UPDATE! The link to the review is no longer working, but here are the essential bits translated into English:

Sasha Mäkilä conducted the orchestra, holding in his hands the golden threads which linked the rhythmically organized sounds of the Sibelius Symphony No. 3 in C Major to each and every bow and string... And by the third movement "Moderato" of the symphony had conquered the hearts of the St. Petersburg public. This evening did not fail expectations, but delighted us with fresh impressions and new emotions.

Videomusic journal (St. Petersburg, Russia) Anna Poluektova

Tuesday 15 May 2007


St Petersburg Camerata

Today was the second day of rehearsals with the State Hermitage orchestra. The soloist arrives tomorrow and then let's see what happens with the modern concert piece, Jukka Tiensuu's clarinet concerto "Puro". It has been quite a challenge to rehearse it without the soloist! The other pieces in the program are the "Olympie" overture by Joseph Martin Kraus and Sibelius' 3rd symphony.

St Petersburg Camerata and Kriikku
Me and soloist Kari Kriikku after performing Jukka Tiensuu's clarinet concerto "Puro"

I did not remember how tired St. Petersburg can make you. After both rehearsals I simply had to nap for a couple of hours! Maybe the warm and humid weather has something to do with it as well... But I remember the same feeling from my student days here - always feeling somehow tired and out of tune.

P.S. I added to this post the photos from the concert on May 18th - I only received them a couple of weeks after the concert.

Saturday 12 May 2007

In St. Petersburg

I arrived yesterday in St. Petersburg by train, and last night I already took a conducting lesson from my old conducting teacher Leonid Korchmar at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. I have to prepare Rachmaninov's 2nd symphony for the Evgeny Svetlanov Conducting Competition in Luxembourg, and I really have had no time to study the score, so I really need "professional help" to make the most of my time. I had a great lesson on the first movement, and this morning I had another one on the second movement. Tonight I will try a little bit of the third as well, if there is time after the official conservatory students have had their lessons.

St Petersburg poster

On the way back to my place (thanks, Seryozha for accommodating me for this week!!!) I saw a huge poster of my concert at the Nordic Music festival in the Metro. There was a big picture of my soloist, Kari Kriikku, and his name on "dog-size" letters and after that it said "the most famous clarinetist of Finland". My name was there also - in small print after the program on the right side of the poster...

SP Filarmonia poster

The following day I met briefly with one of the festival organizers. She assured me that the poster at the Philharmonic Hall has my name on the top and the soloist below because I am actually better known in St. Petersburg than Kriikku! She had even met some people who remembered my first concert in SP four years ago.

Thursday 10 May 2007


Planning the orchestra seating for my concert with the Finnish Guards Band in Temppeliaukio Church. Photo by composer Ingvar Karkoff.

Welcome to my blog! I named it G.P. because sometimes one needs a "Generalpause" in the middle of the busy conductor's life. During those moments I will dedicate a couple of minutes for writing on this page.

At the moment I am in the middle of packing, since tomorrow I will leave to St. Petersburg, Russia for rehearsals and a concert at the 4th Nordic Music Festival. Young conductor's life is sometimes really a strain: usually there is no activity whatsoever for several months, and then suddenly you are asked everywhere at the same time! It happens to me all the time...

This time after the concert on May 18th I will travel to Luxembourg for a competition which starts on May 20th, and from there to the US to assist at the Hot Springs Music Festival in Arkansas. I will be back home only in the end of June!

But as I travel, I will try to stop at some Internet cafés to write about my impressions about the places, the people, the music... I hope you will enjoy traveling with me!