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Finlandia's Sibelius Fest Is September 22 to 27

HANCOCK, MI - The 15th annual Sibelius Academy Music Festival will be presented by Finlandia University from September 22 to September 27, 2013, in metropolitan Chicago and the western Upper Peninsula.

This year's festival features classical/contemporary accordionist Ari Lehtonen, a doctoral student at the Sibelius Academy. Ari's performance program includes the keyboard music of J.S. Bach, works by contemporary Finnish composers, and compositions by Argentine nuevo tango composer Ástor Piazzolla (1921-1992).

The festival also features the ensemble "August Saarinen & Vuolas Virta," a jazz/folk quintet that pays tribute to the "king of Finnish tango" Olavi Virta (1915-1972). The musicians are Joonas Mikkilä, Juho Vanamo, Matias Mäntyranta, Miiko Renfors, and Joonas Tuhkanen.

The festival's series of concerts and events begins Sunday, September 22, with an afternoon performance of both acts at the Estonian House of Chicago, Riverwoods, Ill.

On Tuesday, September 24, at 1:15 p.m., the students at Negaunee (Michigan) High School will enjoy a special Sibelius Festival performance in the high school's auditorium. The concert is open to the public; tickets are $5.00.

Tuesday, September 24, at 7:00 p.m., a free Meet the Musicians event will be presented at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock. The musicians will discuss their lives as musicians, and present informal performances.

On Thursday, September 26, at 2:00 p.m., accordionist Ari Lehtonen will present a concert at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Hancock. A freewill offering at the concert will benefit Finlandia University music programs.

Also September 26, the first-ever Sibelius Festival folk dance starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Finnish American Heritage Center. The dance features live music by the festival musicians. Tickets are $10.00; Finlandia students attend free.

The final concert is on Friday, September 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the Calumet (Mich.) Theatre. Both the accordionist and the jazz/folk quintet will present performances. Tickets are $15.00; Finlandia students attend free.

Concert and event tickets are available at North Wind Books, Hancock; online at; and at the door prior to the performances.

For more information, call 906-487-7250 or visit