top of page


On March 20, 2022, the Olympia Symphony took the stage with Music Director Finalist Kelly Kuo to perform a concert featuring Beethoven's Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, Dobrinka Tabakova's arrangement of Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata (with violist Amber Archibald-Sešek), and Sibelius's Symphony No. 1. Before performing the Sibelius, Kuo offered these remarks:

"Before we begin this this journey that is the Sibelius First Symphony, I thought it would be good for you to know a little bit about the context in which it was written.

Sibelius was a young man in his early 30s during the late 1800s. In 1899 he really started putting this piece together, and it happened to coincide with the February Manifesto issued that year, where Czar Nicholas II of Russia essentially stripped the Finland parliament of all its rights. 

So this piece, the First Symphony, as well as Finlandia, a better known piece of his, served as the Finnish way of resistance and defiance. Rather than physical violence, they played it in their music. So when you know that, and listen to it, you can begin to understand the wild rage that occurs throughout this symphony, beautiful melodies not withstanding. It is quite a journey, and it has been a journey for us as we worked on this piece. We are looking very much forward to performing it for you.

Before we do that, we felt it was appropriate to pause and reflect on the terrible ongoing events going on in Ukraine, and felt we should respond collectively in an outrage that can only be expressed the way we know how, which is music, and the way that Sibelius knew how - music." - Kelly Kuo
bottom of page