Musica nova Helsinki 2021 invites you to Polytopia

Finland’s largest contemporary music festival Musica nova Helsinki returns 2 February 2021. The nine-day festival celebrates the coming centenary of Greek Iannis Xenakis one year in advance. Why? Because Xenakis’ ideas couldn’t be more topical. Known as a composer, mathematician and architect, Xenakis’ Polytopes series includes works that combine music and architecture into a single work of art. Inspired by Xenakis’ innovative thinking, the coming edition of Musica nova is themed Polytopia, where poly stands for many and topos refers not only to a place but also to a subject.

‘Musica nova Helsinki itself is a “Polytopia”, since the festival has always been a collaborative creation between a wide network of organisers and institutions. Art is always born out of imagination, and now – perhaps more so than ever before – we have an urgent need to imagine a utopia and a shared better future. I believe that art has a crucial role in creating such a future, and as such, we have to invent new ways of presenting it. This is why we invited architect Tuomas Toivonen to join us as an artistic advisor. In the spirit of Xenakis, we wanted someone outside the “contemporary music bubble”’, says André de Ridder, the artistic director of the festival.

One of the central projects of the festival is Helsinki Polytopes, which brings young composers and architects together to create new installations and works of art. The project is mentored by Toivonen, who also designed the festival’s new visual look. The programme also includes works by this year’s resident composers Lisa Streich and Simon Steen-Andersen among others. Composer and multimedia artist Steen-Andersen performs a specially commissioned version of his work Run Time Error. Echoing the style of Xenakis’ Polytopes, Steen-Andersen’s installation combines video art, music and movement into an audio-visual geo-mapping of the Central Library Oodi.

All concerts in the festival have been designed according to latest audience restrictions and other safety arrangements. Musica nova’s programme will be announced in its entirety and tickets will go on sale later this autumn and early next year. Welcome!