On the weekend of 5th-9th May, six of our Lower Sixth specialist musicians, Christy Hui, Dawid Kasprzak, Jeremy Tan, Luke Doyle, Rania Dereka and Wilamena Dyer, travelled to Helsinki.
Flying from Heathrow on Friday morning, the group performed a concert as a duo and quartet at the Itä-Helsingin Musiikkiopisto (East Helsinki Music Institute, IHMO) that evening!
The following day, they visited the Sibelius Monument, which Jeremy described as his favourite part of the trip, before performing in a collaborative concert at the IMHO.
On Sunday, Jeremy, Dawid, Luke and Christy took part in a masterclass with Päivyt Meller from the Sibelius Academy and Rania with Johanne Teppo from IHMO, plus the group visited the Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress.
They then visited the Sibelius Academy on Monday and had a tour of the facilities, where Wilamena took part in a masterclass with Antti Rislakki, the Academy’s Head of Percussion, which Mrs Obradvoic, the School’s Co-ordinator of Percussion, described as a wonderful opportunity to experience life at the Academy.
Following this, they performed at a reception held at the British Ambassador to Finland’s residence to celebrate the King’s Coronation to an audience of around 100 people including ambassadors from Poland, Germany and China.
Mrs Obradovic spoke about the British Embassy performance; “Our invitation to the British Embassy was a tour highlight for our pupils. A Q&A with the British Ambassador, Mrs Theresa Bubbear, was fascinating, allowing a real insight into her day-to-day life. The reception for over 100 ambassadors included a rousing God Save the King and a jazz vibes interlude followed by a movement from Greig’s G minor string quartet.”
After their Embassy performance, they returned to the Sibelius Academy to observe an orchestra rehearsal with Sakari Oramo. Luke described watching the Sibelius Academy Orchestra rehearse a chamber version of Holst’s The Planets as one of the things he enjoyed most about the trip, with Christy agreeing that it was her highlight of the trip.
Upon returning home on Tuesday, the group reflected on their whirlwind weekend. Wilamena noted that, “Although we were only in Helsinki for a few days we managed to see and do so much!” Luke described it as, “one of the highlights of my time at Wells”, with Wilamena adding that their performance at the British Embassy was “a once in a lifetime opportunity.” Christy said it was “the most valuable Music trip I have ever had.”
Mr Smith, Co-ordinator of Strings Studies, described the trip; “This was a fantastic opportunity for both pupils and staff to experience a different musical environment, and to perform to and have feedback from some wonderful teachers. We were made to feel incredibly welcome by the IHMO, the birthplace of the world-renowned “Colour Strings” programme, and were wowed by the facilities at the Sibelius Academy.”
It was a truly jam-packed weekend!