Bryssel, Bozar Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra plays in Brussels

The National Orchestra of Sweden plays in the concert hall in Bozar in connection with Sweden's presidency of the EU, together with chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali and violinist Johan Dalene.

Concert length: 2 h incl. intermission

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali will visit the concert hall in Bozar, Brussels on June 14 (preliminary concert time 19.30). On the programme is Jean Sibelius’ moving violin concerto with Swedish star soloist Johan Dalene.

The evening with the Swedish National Orchestra also offers music by Lili Boulanger and Richard Strauss.
– It is a joy to be able to show Sweden’s outstanding position in symphonic music. And also get to present some of Europe’s most beautiful musical treasures, says Sten Cranner, CEO of Gothenburg Symphony.

Sibelius’ violin concerto opens the door to unknown worlds, light-filled rooms and endless horizons, with a masterful orchestral treatment where wistful strings meet bitter woodwinds.

Soloist in tonight’s concert with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra is the Swedish violinist Johan Dalene. At just 22 years of age, he has established himself as one of the world’s leading young violinists. In 2022 he was named Young Artist of the Year by Gramophone magazine and in 2019 he won the prestigious Carl Nielsen competition.Violinisten Johan Dalene med instrument.The evening also features an orchestral masterpiece by child prodigy Lili Boulanger. She was only 24 years old but managed to amaze the whole world. That spring morning in Paris she dressed in tones was completed shortly before her death in 1918, while sister Nadia added the finer details to the dynamic.

In conclusion, we hear one of chief conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali’s own favorite composers, Richard Strauss, who shows the orchestra’s full timbre. Ein Heldenleben is a true heroic tale.

Dirigent på scen med en orkester

Listen and submit

To accompany Sweden’s presidency of the EU, the Gothenburg Symphony presents the playlist On A Note From Sweden, an introduction to Swedish classical music. The playlist’s 40 samples show the width of symphonic music that has been created in Sweden throughout ages and received international recognition.

Here you can find beloved classics such as Midsommarvaka, Pastoralsvit and Intåg i sommarhagen, contemporary music from Lidholm to Tarrodi, Grammis Award winners as well as world stars such as Birgit Nilsson and Jussi Björling. About ten Swedish symphony orchestras are represented.

Are you missing your favorite? Leave your tip for the On A Note From Sweden playlist by visiting the Gothenburg Symphony’s Facebook and Instagram!


Lili Boulanger grew up in a particularly musical environment. Her father Ernest (1815-1900) was a singing teacher and composer, mainly of light operas. Already at the age of 20, he had won the attractive Prix de Rome with the cantata Achilles. At the Paris Conservatoire, he had the Russian princess Raisa Myshetskaya, 43 years his junior, as a vocal student, and they married in 1877. In 1887, they had a daughter, Nadia, who was awarded second prize in the Prix de Rome in 1908 - she lived to be 92 years old and taught a long line of 20th-century foremost composers from around the world in composition. In 1893, the 77-year-old Ernest became the father of another daughter, Lili, who first studied with her sister and then with Gabriel Fauré, and who in 1913 was awarded that year's Prix de Rome! She became the first woman the French Academy deemed worthy of the grand prize. Unfortunately, she was sickly and weak, and was only 24 years old when she was swept away by Crohn's disease. Lili Boulanger managed to compose around 40 works during her too short life. Already at the age of 14, she had decided to become a composer. During her last year of life, Lili Boulanger composed "A spring morning", the last thing she wrote herself. She dictated the Pie Jesu prayer to her sister three weeks before she passed out powerless. D'un matin de printemps can be played for violin and piano or flute and piano, and is also available in an orchestral version. Given the circumstances, it's strange to listen to this carefree and positive piece, but she had just undergone an operation that appeared to be successful… As a curiosity, it can be mentioned that the asteroid 1181 has been named after Lili Boulanger, and a crater on Venus after Nadia Boulanger. STIG JACOBSSON

Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) Violin Concerto Op 47 The violin concerto was written between the second and third symphonies in the summer of 1903 at the Järnefelt family's farm in Lojo. It was first performed in February 1904 with the composer as conductor and Victor Novácek as soloist. The performance was not a great success and Sibelius found that he was not entirely satisfied with certain sections. He therefore revised the concert in the summer of 1905, and the new premiere was conducted by Richard Strauss himself in Berlin. Over the brooding D minor harmonies of the orchestra, the violin sings a melody that turns out to be the main theme, and it is also taken up by the deep woodwinds before leading to a broad violin cadence. The first movement then develops in a freely treated sonata form, which gives it an almost rhapsodic character. The violin part is brilliant, the music dramatic, the orchestra engaging. This grand movement is also longer than the next two combined. The slow movement begins with a wistful woodwind phrase and it also echoes with the other wind players. Even the violin's song theme is sad and serious. The whole set is characterized by a sublime simplicity. The closing allegro has been called a "polonese for polar bears" and is a rondo with only two themes. The first is presented by the violin and the second by the orchestra. The music is very virtuose and even if the soloist dominates, the orchestral part never becomes uninteresting.

Intermission 20 min

The Hero - Adversaries - The Hero's Companions - Battlefields - Deeds of Peace - The Hero's Escape from the World and the Completion of His Life (movements played in sequence) Strauss had long devoted himself to writing vital orchestral poems that made him Liszt's main successor. But in his music he also developed new ideas, which made him one of the leading modernists of the time. In the symphonic poems he had celebrated heroes: Macbeth, Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegel, Zarathustra, Don Quixote - all literary heroes of superhuman proportions. In order to move on, Strauss needed an even greater hero, drawn not from literature but from real life - and it hardly needs to be pointed out that he faced bitter criticism when it became clear that the hero of Ein Heldenleben was himself. Something that he met with an ironic angle with the statement that he did find himself as interesting as Caesar or Napoleon - or, in other words, that no one is more worthy than another. And by the way, this was no worse than Berlioz writing his Symphonie fantastique about himself. Strauss was 34 years old. He had left the opera in Munich to take over the directorship of the opera Unter den Linden in Berlin. He had married Pauline de Ahna, the opera singer notorious for her temper tantrums, coquetry and devoted love. All of this is carefully accounted for in the music. The first section, The Hero, begins with a jubilant theme in low strings and horns. Strauss's father had for 49 years been a horn player at the court opera in Munich. It has also been noted that the key is E flat major, the same one Beethoven used in his Eroica symphony. In the second episode, the hero's accusers - the critics - are portrayed. They stand there in comic contrast to the hero, fussy and narrow-minded. That the hero's helper is his wife is quite clear. They flirt, play, kiss, cuddle and get angry - and the third part ends with an intense love duet. The battlefield of the hero is indeed a grandiose war music. The critics' themes are in effective counterpoint to his own theme, and he is morally supported by his beloved's theme. Finally, he stands victorious, and what he values in life is the work for peace - that is, his own compositions. A theme of peace is interwoven with fragments from his other heroic poems already mentioned, as well as from two works connected with Pauline: the opera Guntram and the song Traum im Zwielicht. Ein Heldenleben is a long symphonic poem in six consecutive movements for mammoth orchestra, and it ends with the hero retreating and completing his quest. It must be said that despite the self-righteous content, the piece also contains some self-critical details. Here there is no pompous heroic apotheosis at the end. On the contrary, it all ends with resignation, as a premonition of Vier letzte Lieder. It is also touching that the themes representing himself are not victory marches but lyrical melodies that rather advocate comfort and tranquility as the highest virtues. A secure bourgeois middle-class attitude, in other words. The score is dated Berlin-Charlottenburg 27 December 1898, and the first performance with the composer himself as conductor took place on 3 March of the following year. STIG JACOBSSON

Wednesday 14 June 2023: The event ends at approx. 22.00


The Gothenburg Symphony, called "one of the world's most formidable orchestras" by the Guardian, has toured the USA, Europe, Japan and the Far East and performed at major music centres and festivals throughout the world. Chief conductor is Santtu-Matias Rouvali who started his tenure in 2017. Barbara Hannigan and Christoph Eschenbach are principal guest conductors since 2019. Already at the orchestra's very first years, the great Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar was appointed principal conductor, contributing strongly to the Nordic profile of the orchestra by inviting his colleagues Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius to conduct their own works. Subsequent holders of the post include Sergiu Comissiona, Sixten Ehrling and Charles Dutoit. During Neeme Järvi's tenure (1982-2004), the orchestra became a major international force. In 1997 it was appointed the National Orchestra of Sweden. During his celebrated tenure as music director (2007-2012), Gustavo Dudamel took the Orchestra to major music centres and festivals in Europe, making acclaimed appearances at BBC Proms and Vienna Musikverein. The list of prominent guest conductors has included Wilhelm Furtwängler, Pierre Monteux, Herbert von Karajan, Myung-Whun Chung, Herbert Blomstedt and Sir Simon Rattle. The orchestra also runs extensive concert projects for children, and regularly releases digital live concerts free on The orchestra has been involved in many prestigious recording projects, the latest one the complete Sibelius Symphonies with Santtu-Matias Rouvali for Alpha Classics. Earlier, the orchestra has issued over 100 recordings on BIS, Deutsche Grammophon, Chandos, Farao Classics and several other labels. The Gothenburg Symphony is owned by the Region Västra Götaland.

Since 2017, Santtu-Matias Rouvali has been chief conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony. He also has a successful international conducting career and has been hailed by The Guardian as "the latest great talent in the Finnish conducting tradition that you just have to listen to". Santtu-Matias Rouvali is also chief conductor of the Tampere City Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. He has toured with the Gothenburg Symphony and pianist Hélène Grimaud in Nordic capitals as well as with pianist Alice Sara Ott and percussionist Martin Grubinger in Germany. Throughout the season 2022-2023, Santtu-Matias Rouvali continues his relationships with top level orchestras across Europe, including Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Symphoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Münichner Philharmoniker, as well as returning to the New York Philharmonic for his annual visits. He works with soloists including Víkingur Ólafsson, Nemanja Radulovic, Yuja Wang, Nicola Benedetti, Behzod Abduraimov, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Alice Sara Ott, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Vadim Gluzman, Randall Goosby, and Vilde Frang.

22-year-old Swedish-Norwegian violinist Johan Dalene has made a big impression on the international stages. He appears regularly with leading orchestras and in famous concert halls both at home and abroad. His way of "making his Stradivarius sing masterfully" (Le Monde), combined with refreshing, honest musicianship and the ability to engage both fellow musicians and audience, has earned him many admirers. This was further confirmed when in 2019 he became first prize winner in the prestigious Carl Nielsen competition and winner of the Norwegian Soloist Prize. Highlights from recent seasons include Mozart's 5th Violin Concerto with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Herbert Blomstedt, BBC Proms debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jordan de Souza, as well as debuts with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig with Sakari Oramo, the Czech Philharmonic with Semyon Bychkov, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra with Esa-Pekka Salonen, London Philharmonic Orchestra with Karina Canellakis, Konzerthausorchester Berlin with Christoph Eschenbach, Danmarks Radio Symphony Orchestra with Stanislav Kochanovsky, Lucerne Sinfonieorchester with Thomas Dausgaard and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic with Joshua Weilerstein. In the 2021/22 season, Johan was selected as a Rising Star Artist by the European Concert Hall Organization (ECHO) and during this period gave concerts in some of Europe's most prestigious concert halls such as Wiener Konzerthaus, Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, L'auditori in Barcelona, Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the Cité de la Musique in Paris. During the period 2019-22, Johan is a New Generation Artist on BBC Radio 3, which means performances in concerts, chamber music concerts and as a soloist with all BBC orchestras. Everything is recorded and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Johan is an exclusive artist on the record company BIS. His third album, featuring Nielsen's and Sibelius' violin concertos, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor John Storgårds, arrived in March 2022. This recording was (like his two previous albums) "Editor's Choice" in Gramophone Magazine and has received top ratings in a number of international magazines . Johan Dalene was also named Young Artist of the Year 2022 by Gramophone.

Questions? Contact the ticket office