Sibelius Festival 2016 Dima Slobodeniouk, conductor
Jean Sibelius started writing Symphony No. 1 in 1898, and finished in early 1899, when he was 33. The work was first performed on 26 April 1899 by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the composer, in an original version which has not survived. The symphony is characterized by its use of string and woodwind solos; the first movement opens with a long and discursive clarinet solo over a timpani roll, and subsequent movements include violin, viola, and cello solos. Most performances of the work last between 35 and 40 minutes.