Ken Lam Brings Nationalist Spirit of Finland To ISO Concert

Feb 23, 2017

A sculpture of composer Jean Sibelius in Finland is cast in stainless steel.
Credit Christian Mesiano / Flickr

A backer of Classical music Composer Jean Sibelius wrote him before he composed the second Symphony that it was time or him to go to Italy, "a country where one learns cantabile, balance and harmony, plasticity and symmetry of lines, a country where everything is beautiful, even the ugly. You remember what Italy meant for Tchaikovsky’s development and for Richard Strauss."

This brings up an interesting question for conductor Ken Lam who takes the stage with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra Saturday in Bloomington.  Haydn was Haydn wherever he went. Dvorak looked for native influences in his travels. For some people it matters. For some it doesn't. What was the importance of place in composing for Sibelius?