Helsinki Festival focuses on China, bringing over 800 artists to Finland

2015 gives en unprecedented opportunity for people in the Nordic countries to experience Chinese culture closer to home, as Helsinki Festival in Finland celebrates ‘Focus: China’ as its main theme. The festival, during 14–30 August 2015, showcases Chinese culture, both modern and classical, bringing more than 800 Chinese artists to Finland.


The festival’s audience gets a possibility to experience as well the old, well preserved tradition and the newest cutting edge forms of Chinese artistry. The audience will be treated to circus, dance, design, rock, symphony, comics, kites and street food. The classical music programme introduces the internationally best-known Chinese contemporary composer and conductor Tan Dun. He has also composed music for many films, including the score for the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra is a symphony orchestra of western proportions using traditional Chinese instruments.

Focus: China will be one of the most comprehensive looks at Chinese culture seen in Europe in recent years. This ‘festival within a festival’ also includes Modern Sky Helsinki, organised by China’s leading music festival producer.

The Finnish actors Antti Silvennoinen and Elias Edström learned their craft in China and have established the first traditional Chinese theatre group in Europe. The Wusheng Company’s The Last Warrior is a full-blooded Peking opera in Finnish. The combat play also features dancer and choreographer Tero Saarinen.

TAO Dance Theatre, China’s most notable dance outfit, arrives in Helsinki for two double bill nights.

In turn, the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe brings a circus of grandiose scale to the Helsinki Ice Hall. The show, which is suitable for the whole family, is loosely based on the 12 animal zodiac signs of Chinese astrology.

25 x 25 – Close Encounter, a marathon of Chinese underground art, takes over the facilities of the Cable Factory for 25 hours. Chinese artists, aged 25 or younger, provide round-the-clock installations, cinema, photography, new media, theatre, dance and music.

The Cable Factory also hosts a joint video work exhibition by Chinese female artists, called Here Out There.

China’s leading music festival producer, Modern Sky, arranges its first European festival in an old shipyard in Helsinki. Under the theme “New Nordic meets New Asia”, Modern Sky Helsinki brings its mix of new international pop, rock and electronic music from many of Asia’s metropolitan cities and the Nordic countries.


“The role of China in the world has changed and is changing fast. We have all taking notice,” observed Erik Söderblom, director of the Helsinki Festival.

The China Focus project is supported by the City of Helsinki, the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland and the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China.

Helsinki Festival is the largest multidisciplinary art festival of Finland, of the Nordic countries, and of North Europe. The scope of the festival includes art forms from music to circus, from dance to film and from media art to literature. The festival – taking place during the last weeks of August has annually all in all more than 240.000 visitors enjoying the achievements of the several thousand invited artists from more than 30 countries.

About Joakim Persson

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