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Open Rehearsal: Santtu conducts Sibelius and Grieg

Royal Festival Hall
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Santtu-Matias Rouvali standing in the snow surrounded by bare trees, looking up towards the sky


Santtu-Matias Rouvali – conductor
Stephen Hough – piano
Johanna Rusanen – soprano
Tommi Hakala – baritone
Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat Male Voice Choir


Sigfúsdóttir Oceans (London premiere)

Grieg Piano Concerto

Sibelius Kullervo

How does a conductor communicate their interpretation of a piece with an orchestra and the soloist as they prepare for a performance?

Our new series of Open Rehearsals give you access to this creative process and allow you to see the Philharmonia at work. Learn more about the pieces and start to listen to your favourites with a fresh pair of ears, kicking off with our Principal Conductor Santtu at the helm.

María Sigfúsdóttir’s Oceans is an exhilarating appetiser for the series, which focusses on Nordic composers’ relationships with the natural world. From a peaceful, meditative opening, Sigfúsdóttir’s music grows in power, evoking the swell of the ocean and the cry of the wind.

Wise and wonderful pianist Stephen Hough joins us in Grieg’s Piano Concerto, one of the most popular pieces in the orchestral repertoire. It’s brimful of passion from its opening timpani roll and crashing chords to its anthemic final moments.

Then there’s a rare opportunity to hear Sibelius’s Kullervo, with the choir who sang at its premiere back in 1892. The YL Male Voice Choir is an institution in Finland, its history closely entwined with Finnish national identity and the music of Sibelius. Kullervo, which Sibelius sometimes referred to as his first symphony, tells a story from Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala. After a tragic childhood, the eponymous Kullervo unknowingly seduces his sister, with unsurprisingly disastrous results. You can expect sweeping melodies worthy of a Hollywood epic, high drama and some seriously impressive singing.




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Running time

Approximately 3 hrs (subject to change)

Recommended age

From 7+

Programme notes

Digital programme notes available closer to the rehearsal.

Contact the Friends team

Phone: 020 7921 3906

Concerto and Symphony Friends

Concerto and Symphony Friends members can claim their complimentary pair of open rehearsal tickets by emailing


Open rehearsals are not performances. Playing may be paused at various intervals in order for the conductor, soloist and orchestra to agree on specific styles and dynamics.

Open rehearsals will take place in the auditorium where the concert is due to be performed, unless otherwise specified. Times and repertoire being rehearsed will be confirmed prior to the rehearsal date, as these schedules are subject to change.

Please note that open rehearsals are working processes for the conductor and the Orchestra, we cannot guarantee that pieces will be played in their entirety. Timings are subject to change and every endeavour will be made to let ticket holders know in advance about any such changes. Please check our website for up-to-date information.


Royal Festival Hall

Royal Festival Hall

Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road

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