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Friday, July 25, 2008

Isle Royale National Park to celebrate 50 years of Wolf-Moose Research July 25-27

HOUGHTON -- This weekend (July 25–27), Isle Royale National Park will host a gala celebration of 50 years of continuous wolf-moose research. Headed by wildlife ecologists from Michigan Tech University, this research is the longest running predator-prey study in the world.

During the weekend celebration, some of the scientists who have led the study -- Rolf Peterson, John Vucetich, L. David Mech and Doug Smith -- will talk about their research and answer questions.

Rolf Peterson, Michigan Tech University professor and renowned researcher, gives a slide presentation and talk on his Isle Royale Wolf-Moose study during MTU's 2008 Earth Week celebration in March. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Peterson and Vucetich, wildlife ecologists at Michigan Tech, now head the research. Mech, a senior scientist with the Biological Resources Division of the US Geological Survey, worked on the project with Purdue University wildlife ecologist Durward Allen at its inception in 1958. Smith, who recently headed the re-introduction of gray wolves into Yellowstone National Park, participated in the Isle Royale research from 1979 to 1992.

A film four years in the making, Fortunate Wilderness: the wolf and moose study of Isle Royale, will have its world premier at the Rock Harbor Auditorium on Isle Royale on July 25. George Desort, an independent filmmaker from the Upper Peninsula, produced the documentary, which is slated for showings in Houghton and Duluth, Minn., during coming months. For a preview of the film, see ...Read this complete article by Jennifer Donovan on the MTU Web site.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sibelius Academy musicians to perform July 30, 31, Aug. 1

HANCOCK -- Finlandia University will present the 10th Annual Sibelius Academy Music Festival the week of July 28, 2008, in Hancock and Eagle Harbor. The series of three concerts showcases the professional-level talent of musicians from the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki, Finland.

"We are excited to welcome these gifted Finnish musicians to the U.P.," said Finlandia President Philip Johnson. "We are looking forward to this annual celebration of the Copper Country’s Finnish heritage and the furtherance of our contemporary connections with Finland."

The classical music festival begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, with a concert by mezzosoprano Melis Jaatinen and her piano accompanist, Maija Väisänen, at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock. The concert is preceded at 6:45 p.m. by a free performance of the local Kivajat Dancers, a children’s traditional dance troupe directed by Kay Seppala.

In the first of three concerts by Sibelius Academy musicians, mezzosoprano Melis Jaatinen will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University.)

Jaatinen studied voice and musicology at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo, and now studies voice at the Sibelius Academy. She has, in recent years, sung in the Bach b-minor Mass, in a Schumann concert series and at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland. Jaatinen sang the bridesmaid in Weber’s Freischütz and Ulla in Isän tyttö (Daddy’s Girl) by Olli Kortekangas for the Finnish National Opera in the 2007-2008 season.

Jaatinen's talent has been recognized at the Timo Mustakallio, the Lappeenranta Vocal Competition, and in the Finnish Broadcasting Company’s competitions. Jaatinen's vocal repertoire includes songs by Fauré, Grieg, Ravel, Schumann and Sibelius.

Jaatinen's accompanist, pianist Maija Väisänen began playing the piano at age six. Since 2002, she has been studying at the Sibelius Academy and in Berlin. Ms. Väisänen has performed at Finnish festivals such as the Nauvo Chamber Music Festival and the Aboa Musica Festival. In 2005 she was named the Young Artist of the Year at the Oulu Music Festival. She has appeared as a soloist of the Turku Filharmonic Orchestra and the North Carelia Polytechnic Orchestra and has performed concerts in Finland and Germany as a solo pianist and a chamber musician.

Pianist Maija Väisänen will accompany mezzosoprano Melis Jaatinen in the first of three Sibelius Academy concerts sponsored by Finlandia University. The duo will perform selections by composers Robert Schumann, Leevi Madetoja, Maurice Ravel and Edvard Grieg.

In 2007, Väisänen received Second Prize in the International Concours Grieg Piano Duo Competition in Oslo, and a Special Prize for Outstanding Performance of Finnish Music in the International Maj Lind Piano Competition in Helsinki.

In their program notes, Melis and Maija write that for their Sibelius Festival concert they wanted to perform song cycles in their entirety to understand the music on a deeper level and create a well-balanced program.

"We also wanted to include Nordic, French and German songs in our program because Melis lived in Norway for four years and Maija lived in Germany, both while studying music. From the Finnish repertoire we chose songs which are not often performed outside Finland," Melis and Maija add.

Pianist Joonas Ahonen will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 31, also at the Finnish American Heritage Center. Thursday's concert is preceded at 6:45 p.m. by the Noteworthy Chorus, a local women’s a cappella vocal ensemble directed by Theresa Goodell.

Pianist Joonas Ahonen will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 31, at the Finnish American Heritage Center. Ahonen has appeared with the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Finnish Chamber Orchestra and the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra.

Ahonen began taking piano lessons when he was five. He has been studying at the Sibelius Academy and at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. Audiences first became widely aware of Ahonen following his success in the National Jyväskylä Piano Competition in 2001 and the International Maj Lind Piano Competition in 2002. In Finland he has performed at the Helsinki Festival and with the Finnish National Opera. In 2003, Mr. Ahonen was appointed Young Musician of the Year by the Lux Musicae Festival in Siuntio, Finland. He has appeared with the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Finnish Chamber Orchestra and the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra. Ahonen has worked with the eminent Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina in Santander, Spain. He has premiered two piano concertos composed for him, and he regularly records for the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE).

The third and final Sibelius Festival concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, at St. Peter's by the Sea Church in Eagle Harbor. It will feature Kaisa Koivula, clarinet, and Jukka Ojala, accordion.

Kaisa Koivula, clarinetist, and Jukka Ojala, accordionist, will perform in the third Sibelius Academy concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, at St. Peter's by the Sea Church in Eagle Harbor. They will also perform several selections at the public reception from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Vertin Gallery, Calumet.

Clarinetist Kaisa Koivula is preparing for her Diploma at the Sibelius Academy. She is a member of Soli Amici, a chamber music group that has been studying and performing in Italy, France and the U.S. In 2005 Soli Amici appeared here at the 7th Annual Sibelius Academy Music Festival. Ms. Koivula has worked as an assistant in the Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki, and with the Tampere Philharmonias. She has played productions of Janacek's Cunning Vixen, Puccini's Tosca, Fiddler on the Roof and My Fair Lady. Ms. Koivula, who teaches clarinet, is an active member of the Helsinki Klezmer Kapelye. She has participated in Yiddish music master classes in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Weimar, Germany.

Accordionist Jukka Ojala began accordion lessons at the age of seven in Kouvola in southeastern Finland. In 2000, he began his studies at the Sibelius Academy. In addition to performing a solo repertoire, Mr. Ojala is an experienced chamber musician. He has performed with the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra and the Finnish National Opera orchestra. This April, Ojala gave his accordion Diploma Concert, receiving the highest honors. Just this summer, he completed a Master of Music at the Sibelius Academy of Music.

To conclude this year’s festival, a public reception will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Vertin Gallery in Calumet. During the reception, Sibelius Academy musicians Kaisa Koivula, clarinet, and Jukka Ojala, accordion, will perform several selections. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Since 1999, Finlandia University and the Sibelius Music Academy have collaborated to bring a taste of Finland’s musical excellence to Michigan ’s Upper Peninsula and the Midwest. More than 50 Sibelius Academy students have performed as part of this festival.

For ticket information, please visit the Finlandia Web site or contact Karen Johnson at 906-487-7348.