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Tampere Biennale Listens to Nature

Published 5.2.2020 14.28

Tampere Biennale, a festival of Finnish contemporary art music, will once again be organized between 1st and 5th April, 2020. The artistic director of the festival, composer Jennah Vainio, chose the phrase Nature Speaks as the theme for this year’s festival.


– These days, we constantly hear extremely worrisome news about the natural disasters caused by climate change and the decrease in the Earth’s biodiversity. At the same time, living in urban environments, we seem to have become gradually more and more detached from nature, and thus we can’t always see the signs of the times. Could art and music save the world? Probably not. However, with the means of art we can awaken the decision makers, as well as our fellow citizens, to think about these questions.

Tampere Biennale’s programme includes a wide variety of themes dealing with nature and the environment. In order to minimize the ecological footprint of the festival, this year’s programme focuses on local talent, both in the selection of composers as well as the performing artists. Additionally, the festival collaborates with the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation.

The festival events feature over ten world premieres. For instance, the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert presents the premiere of Sanna Ahvenjärvi’s and Tapio Lappalainen’s collaborative work, titled Water, which forms the first part of an altogether four-part orchestral composition that deals with the thematic of climate change.

The festival programme also includes works commissioned by Tampere Biennale, including Pasi Lyytikäinen’s composition Taival, which will be performed in TampereRaw’s concert; Maria Kallionpää’s composition titled El Canto del Mar Infinitivo, which will be performed at the festival by Uusinta Ensemble; and Heidi Hassinen’s composition for the Frenckell bell tower, which is also the theme music for the Tampere Biennale festival.

One of the highlights of this year’s festival is the premiere of Alma!, a “movement opera" created by composer Minna Leinonen, choreographer-director Petri Kekoni, and libretto writer Hanna Weselius, who composed this art work for singers, dancers, and an instrumental orchestra. Alma! is also the first commissioned work by CHANGEnsemble, lead by Jutta Seppinen.

The only performer at this year’s Tampere Biennale hailing from abroad is Linda May Han Oh, one of the most renowned artists in the world of jazz within the past ten years. This concert is produced by G Livelab Tampere, and is a part of the double bassist’s three-concert tour in Finland, beginning her more extensive European tour.

The festival’s music programme will be complemented by sound and video art installations located at and near the Culture House Laikku, as well by Telakka venue’s festival clubs which feature nature sounds, improvisational music, as well as electronic and live music.

The pre-event for Tampere Biennale will be organized on 18th March, 2020. A panel discussion titled Stairway of Inspiration: Nature, art, and action will be held in the main library Metso [language: Finnish]. The panel includes writer Anni Kytömäki, composer Lauri Supponen, and Anneli Jussila, the director of the Finnish Nature Heritage Foundation. In addition, the audiences will be enchanted by compositions by the Pirkanmaa music conservatory students, as well as by a selection of the festival’s sound and video art. The final event of the evening will be Sami Junnonen’s and Tuomas Turriago’s concert at the Tampere Old Church.

The festival program in its entirety can be found at External

Further information

Tampere Music Festivals
Cultural Centre of the Old Customs House, 2nd floor

Text Katariina Pasuri

Photos Maarit Kytöharju