Exciting times lie ahead. For us here at són, and potentially for you too.

We’re not talking about the run up to Christmas, or the new series of Downton Abbey. We’re talking about Sibelius Unwrapped, the són launch concert on Sunday 29 November. Our team are just sending out the final details to the players, and we’ll shortly be announcing and listing them on our website. We’ll highlight some of them as featured musicians, offering you – our audience – not just a glimpse into “who’s who”, but a sense of connection with the orchestra we’re forming, too.

After all, it’s not every day a major UK city gains a new professional orchestra. són are proud to be developing an inspiring ensemble, and we’re confident it’ll feature strongly in the cultural community for years to come. We’re building an orchestra for your city and your region. And we want people to feel associated and involved with us from the very start.

So let’s gaze ahead, through October and November, towards our launch event on the 29th. Not only is an orchestra born that day, but of course one of the greatest composers is celebrated, too. 150 years after his birth, Jean Sibelius’ music is as powerful, moving and enigmatic today as when it was written. As we present Sibelius Unwrapped, you can discover how he composed melodies which could span the widest of Finnish lakes, created incredible icebergs of sound, and wrote dancing rhythms as infectious as they come.

The short film below is all about Sibelius, and features the són Artistic Director in conversation with broadcaster and writer Piers Burton-Page. It gives you an insight into why we chose his music to launch our journey this autumn.

Our very first concert – and those we’re lining up for the future – aim to break down the barriers some audiences feel during classical concerts. Our “unwrapped” series is a simple format, but an effective one: nothing communicates the amazing power of music more directly than charismatic personalities on stage, offering insights, showing the music’s contours and building-blocks, and demonstrating how such incredible art came into being in the first place. As we answer questions about a particular piece’s “how”, and “why”, we offer the listener not just an alternative viewpoint, but a deeper appreciation, too. In our concerts we don’t only answer questions, but leave audiences (as well as the young musicians involved in our education projects) desperately yearning to ask even more.

And finding out what makes great art tick is the strongest goal of all. It’s a formidable undertaking, but the team behind són are totally committed to it. There is often much negativity, year after year, written about the state of the Arts, about elitism, the standard of music education, the apparently desperate future for orchestras and the death of classical music. But great music, like all great art, isn’t dead. It isn’t a dying art form, it isn’t going nowhere. It’s permanent and lasting, life-changing and life-affirming. It has as much relevance now as ever, and is every bit as vivid a testament to the inner and outer world as when it was conceived. It touches the mind and heart simultaneously, and reminds us why we get up each morning.

Thanks for reading all about our launch event. Please leave us a comment below, or join the conversation online @thesonproject, using hashtag #SibeliusUnwrapped. We sincerely hope you’re able to join us for our opening concert, and discover why great music has the power to change the world.

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Image of Jean Sibelius: Henry B Goodwin (Sibelius Museum)

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