Due to Covid-19, this year’s Creative Dialogue program will be postponed until July 6-16, 2021.

4 composers, 4 pianists and 5 string players will work together with Magnus Lindberg, Anssi Karttunen and Nicolas Hodges. The composers will write pieces for piano and strings, and instrumentalists will also play pieces for piano and strings by Magnus Lindberg for a concert at the end of their stay.

Anssi Karttunen, Kaija Saariaho and Magnus Lindberg conceived Creative Dialogue together with Sibelius-Academy in 2008. The idea behind the Creative Dialogue is to inspire young performers and composers to engage in a dialogue that benefits not only the two parties but the music life in general. Performers and composers often study in the same institutions, but are seldom encouraged to find out how much they can to learn from each other. Apart from the immediate personal relations that result from such a dialogue, it will lead to a deeper understanding of how composer-performer friendships have affected the history of music.

The Sibelius Academy, the music university of Finland invites many of the most prestigious Universities and Conservatories in North America and Europe to send students to the Creative Dialogue. The first 6 Creative Dialogues were held at Acequia Madre House, the former Santa Fe, NM home of the Curtin-Paloheimo family. The family founded the living history museum, El Rancho de las Golondrinas and is related to the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. In 2015 the workshop was held in Finland, at the Paloheimo family’s residence in Kallio-Kuninkala, Järvenpää, Finland, which is a campus of the Sibelius Academy. Creative Dialogue is now held on alternate years in Santa Fe and in Finland.

Creative Dialogue XI again took place at Kallio-Kuninkala in Finland. 4 composers, 4 singers and 6 string players worked together with Kaija Saariaho, Anssi Karttunen and Daniel Belcher. The composers wrote pieces for voice and strings and the performers played pieces for voices and strings by Kaija Saariaho. As usual, an improvisation workshop and performance was also an important part of the workshop as was the visit to the cultural landmarks around Kallio-Kuninkala. The final concert took place in the Camerata Hall at the Music Centre, Helsinki on the 25th of August.

Creative Dialogue X took place July 17-26 2018 in Santa Fe, NM. The faculty was Anssi Karttunen, cello, Magnus Lindberg, composition and David Poissonnier, sound design. The focus of the workshop was on compositions for strings and live electronics. The final concert of this 10th anniversary Creative Dialogue was part of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and took place at the St. Francis Auditorium on July 26th at 6pm.

Creative Dialogue IX took place in Kallio-Kuninkala, Finland from 28th of August to 5th of September 2017. This time the faculty was Kaija Saariaho, Anssi Karttunen and the French sound engineer David Poissonnier. The focus of this years workshop was music for string instruments and electronics. The 5 participating composers wrote pieces for various string ensembles and electronics for the 3 violinists, 2 viola players and 3 cellists attending. The String players each prepared a work by Kaija Saariaho with electronics. The final concert took place at the Black Box of the Music Centre in Helsinki on the 5th of September at 3pm.

Creative Dialogue VIII took place 19th-28th June 2016 in Santa Fe, NM. Magnus Lindberg and Anssi Karttunen were joined on the faculty by the Led Zeppelin legend, multi-instrumentalist and composer John Paul Jones. The final concert was held at the St. Francis Auditorium, Santa Fe on the 28th of June. The composer participants wrote pieces for different combinations of low string instruments (3 cellos, 2 double bass and 2 electric bass). The cellists and double bass players shared Magnus’s Partia for solo cello, The double bass players transcribed together with Magnus Coranto and Boria. Magnus’s Etude I was also played in a new version by Anssi Karttunen for 5 cellos and 2 double basses. Listen to the concert Improvisation workshops were also an important part of Creative Dialogue this time, instrumentalists and composers improvised together during the week and in the concert.

Creative Dialogue VII was held January 31st to February 7th, 2015 in Kallio-Kuninkala, Tuusula, Finland. Kaija Saariaho was again on the faculty together with Anssi Karttunen and the Finnish pianist Tuija Hakkila. The participants were invited from many of the top European and US conservatories. The young composers wrote pieces for piano and strings. The final concert was at the Music Centre in Helsinki on the 7th of February as part of the festival Musica nova Helsinki and included the student compositions as well as some of Kaija Saariaho’s most recent works for strings and piano.

Creative Dialogue VI in 2014 was led by Magnus Lindberg and Anssi Karttunen with the Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan. The workshop took place 3rd-11th July, with a concert at the St. Francis Auditorium on July 11th. The participating composers wrote pieces for voices and string instruments and the performers worked on Magnus Lindberg’s pieces and pieces for voice and strings by Kaija Saariaho, Peter Lieberson and Harrison Birtwistle.

Creative Dialogue V took place 17-24th July 2012, it was led jointly by Anssi Karttunen, Magnus Lindberg and the Israeli clarinetist Chen Halevi. The instrumentalists played solo and chamber pieces by Magnus Lindberg (with the composer on the piano) and the composers were invited to write pieces for cellos and clarinets, which were all prepared for a concert at the St. Francis Auditorium, this time once again part of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

Creative Dialogue IV was a workshop for cellists. This time Anssi Karttunen worked with six cellists on a special project, the Mystery Variations, a series of pieces by 31 composer-friends of Karttunen, written for his 50th birthday. Each participant played 3-6 of the pieces among which were 21 US premieres. The very well attended and enthusiastically received concert took place again at the St. Francis Auditorium.

In the 2010 Creative Dialogue III, Anssi Karttunen and the Finnish Guitarist Timo Korhonen led a group of 5 cellists and 3 guitar players in a workshop of new solo and chamber pieces and improvisation. The repertoire was centered on composers Karttunen and Korhonen have personally worked with, one of the highlights of the final concert was a group improvisation of all the students.

Creative Dialogue II, in 2009, was led by Anssi Karttunen and the participants were 7 cellists who worked on a repertoire of new solo cello pieces and pieces for cello ensembles. Parts of the repertoire were worked with composers, the late Peter Lieberson was present; Kaija Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg and Pablo Ortiz worked with the players via the internet.

Creative Dialogue I in 2008 was a workshop for composers and string players. The Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and cellist Anssi Karttunen led the workshop. The string players – 2 violinists, 2 violists and 3 cellists – also worked on solo pieces by Kaija Saariaho. The composers wrote pieces specially for the ensembles of string players available, pieces were rehearsed and revised every afternoon and performed in the final concert, which was organized in collaboration with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.


Participating Universities

Amsterdam Conservatory
CNSM, Conservatoire de Paris
Copenhagen Conservatory
Guildhall School of Music
HEM de Genève
Norwegian Academy of Music
Royal Academy of Music (London)
Royal Conservatory, The Hague
Butler School of Music, Univ. of Texas
Colburn School of Music
Columbia University
Cornell University
Eastman School of Music
Indiana University
Juilliard School of Music and Drama
McGill University
Mannes School of Music
Manhattan School of Music
New England Conservatory
Northwestern University
University of California San Diego
University of Minnesota School of Music
Yale School of Music


FACULTY 2008-2017

Anssi Karttunen, 2008 – 2012, 2014 – 2020
Kaija Saariaho, 2008, 2015, 2017, 2019
Magnus Lindberg, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020
Timo Korhonen, 2011
Chen Halevi, 2012
Barbara Hannigan, 2014
Tuija Hakkila, 2015
John Paul Jones, 2016
David Poissonnier, 2017, 2018
Daniel Belcher, 2019
Nicolas Hodges, 2020


Video from 2019 Creative Dialogue 19 Performance in Helsinki


Video from 2017 Creative Dialogue 17 Performance in Helsinki