‘Rhythm of Sibelius’ celebrates composer’s 150th birthday

CEDAR CITY — The Orchestra of Southern Utah will celebrate the music and life of Jean Sibelius with their Thursday concert, “The Rhythm of Sibelius.” Three Sibelius pieces “Finlandia,” “Waltz Triste” and “Symphony No. 6”  will be played in observation of his 150th birthday in December. This concert will provide a unique opportunity to hear live music played on the pipa, an instrument that originated in China over 1,500 years ago.

Perhaps Sibelius’ most well-known work, “Finlandia” was written in 1899 for a clandestine political protest. Living in an uncertain time in Finland’s history, Sibelius wrote the piece to depict the struggles of the Finnish people.

The piece contains the Finlandia Hymn, a segment that was later taken as a stand-alone song with lyrics added in 1941. It has become one of the most important national songs in the country and the melody has also been included in alma maters, national anthems and Christian hymns.

“Waltz Triste,” the sad waltz, was written by Sibelius for one of his brother-in-law’s plays. Though originally part of the incidental music for the play, it quickly earned a place as a concert piece. The waltz was popular with audiences when it debuted in 1903 and continues to be popular today.

“Symphony No. 6” has been described by Sibelius as offering “cold spring water” in reference to the relative simplicity that stood in contrast to some of the more elaborate pieces of his time. The piece had sentimental value to Sibelius and always reminded him of “the scent of the first snow.”

“The Concerto for String Orchestra and Pipa,” written by Chinese composer Tan Dun, will bring an uncommon element to the concert hall. Xinwen Fu will solo on the pipa, using her talent to display the historical instrument’s range and emotion.

This piece was written in 1999 and was an adaptation of a previous work about the tradition of Taoist funerals dating back 4,000 years in China. Tan describes the music as “a new counterpoint of different ages, different sound worlds and different cultures.”

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Heritage Center Theater in Cedar City.

See ticket pricing and purchasing information under event details below.

Because evening concerts are recorded, it is requested that babies and children under the age of six not attend. Children over 6 are welcome at all OSU concerts with adult supervision.


Event details

  • What: Orchestra of Southern Utah, “The Rhythm of Sibelius”
  • When: Thursday, Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Heritage Center Theater, 105 N. 100 East, Cedar City
  • Admission: Adults, $10 | Students, $5 | Groups up to six, $30
  • Purchase Tickets: Online | In person at Heritage Center Theater box office, 105 N. 100 East, Cedar City | By telephone 435-864-2882

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