“Our Festival invents new flexible forms for concerts — we then take the most promising ideas to other platforms.”
Theme and Variations brings together a selection of projects and concepts that have been created with and inspired by ‘Our Festival’, which was founded by Pekka Kuusisto and takes place annually in Finland. As Artistic Director, Kuusisto is noted for combining different artforms within one concert programme; for example dance, electronics and light installations, gastronomy and film all feature alongside performances of standard and contemporary repertoire. His innovative programming was recently recognised when ‘Our Festival’ was awarded Festival of the Year 2011 by Finland Festivals.
One of the key features of Theme and Variations is its flexibility; it can be taken as a whole, or as individual projects. Two specific threads are explored:
- The Reddress Installation (designed by Aamu Song), for which Pekka has curated a series of concerts entitled ‘Pocket Projects’.
- A selection of chamber and chamber orchestra concerts, which can be taken independently or otherwise performed concurrently with the Reddress installation, within the context of a festival or residency.
“Pekka Kuusisto [is] a violinist whose rare gift is to become, rather than perform, the music he plays. His playing was marked by the kind of luminous and infectious beauty that comes only from a true marriage of mastery and love.”
(The Guardian, February 2012)
“The Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, probably the most engaging maverick in classical music today, appeared once to give a startlingly eerie account of Stravinsky’s Airs du rossignol and Marche chinoise, again to supply the piano part in the orchestra’s aptly grotesque romp through the same composer’s Suites Nos 1 and 2 for Small Orchestra; and a third time as a superbly characterful soloist in Adès’s own violin concerto, Concentric Paths.”
(The Times, February 2012)
“The young Finn produced some of the most spontaneous and out-of-the-box violin playing and musical interpretation I have heard…what Kuusisto did with it all was fresh and unpredictable.”