Jakarta Prepares for a Musical Preview of Ananda Sukarlan's Celebratory Helsinki Concert


For over a decade, Indonesian pianist and composer Ananda Sukarlan has been instrumental in fostering classical music relations between Finland and Indonesia. This remarkable journey began with his performance of Magnus Lindberg's Piano Concerto in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in 2012, under the baton of the composer himself. In 2015, Sukarlan's talents were recognized by the Finnish company Rovio, which commissioned him to create a piece themed around their popular digital game, Angry Birds. The result, "The Angry Birds' Holiday in Bali" for cello and piano, has since been embraced by cellists and pianists worldwide.

In 2018, Sukarlan's creative path intersected with Finnish visual artist Tero Annanolli. The artist’s works inspired the piano quintet "Annanolli's Sky," commissioned by the Arnuero International Chamber Music Competition in Spain. Further cementing his connection with Finnish music, Sukarlan recorded Jean Sibelius' Esquisses (Sketches) op. 114 for his CD "Differences Unite," published in Indonesia.

This year, Ananda Sukarlan has been invited to Helsinki to perform in a concert celebrating the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between Finland and Indonesia. The prestigious Sibelius Academy has also seized this opportunity to invite Sukarlan for workshops on his music, coaching sessions for students, and to share insights about Indonesian ethnic music, which significantly influences his compositions. Sukarlan's latest piece, "Findolandesia" for violin and piano, will be showcased at the Helsinki concert, which will be attended by both Finnish dignitaries and Indonesian diplomats from the Indonesian Embassy in Helsinki.

To give Jakarta audiences a preview of his Helsinki concert, The Bimasena Society, in collaboration with the Finnish Embassy in Jakarta, organized a concert marking this historic 70-year diplomatic relationship. Accompanied by young Indonesian violinist Aurell Marcella and soprano Cindy Tannos, a winner of the Tembang Puitik Ananda Sukarlan vocal competition in 2021, Sukarlan delivered a mesmerizing performance. Tannos performed Sukarlan's art songs based on poems by Dedy Tri Riyadi, Budhi Setyawan, Eka Budianta, S. Prasetyo Utomo, Sofyan RH. Zaid, and the renowned "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost.

Aurell Marcella, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney and a member of the prestigious G20 Orchestra during Indonesia's presidency in 2020, premiered the historically significant "Findolandesia" at the Jakarta concert on June 13th at the Nusantara Ballroom, The Dharmawangsa Hotel. This piece will be performed again by Sukarlan in Helsinki in September at the House of Nobility (Ritarihuone), the historical first parliamentary building in Finland, opened in 1863.

In addition to his engagements in Finland, Sukarlan performed virtuosic piano works written for him by prominent composers, including "Many Returns to Bali" by Denmark's Per Norgard and "A New Dawn for Bali" by American-born composer Nancy van de Vate. Van de Vate, the founder of the International League of Women Composers, became an Austrian citizen and passed away last year.

Looking ahead, Ananda Sukarlan is set to perform with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra during their visit to Jakarta next July. They will premiere Sukarlan's "Australian Songs," based on poems by Henry Lawson and Judith Wright, composed especially for this occasion and performed by young soprano Mariska Setiawan.

Through these performances and collaborations, Ananda Sukarlan continues to build and celebrate the rich cultural bridge between Finland and Indonesia, showcasing the universal language of music that unites us all.

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