Creative Dialogue

Acequia Madre House, Santa Fe, NM

Kallio-Kuninkala, Finland



Creative Dialogue VIII took place 19th-28th June 2016 in Santa Fe, NM.

Magnus Lindberg and Anssi Karttunen were joined 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. Listen to the concert here.

The composer participants wrote pieces for different combinations of low string instruments (3 cellos, 2 double bass and 2 electric bass). Improvisation workshops was also an important part of Cretive Dialogue this time, instrumentalists and composers improvised together.

The cellists and double bass players shared Magnus's Partia for solo cello, The double bass players transcribed together with Magnus two of the movements. Magnus's Etude I was also be played in a new version by Anssi Karttunen for 5 cellos and 2 double basses. 



Jacob Landau, Juilliard School of Music and Drama

Gonzalo Bustos, Geneva Conservatory

Joseph Howard, Royal Academy of Music, London

Mioko Yokoyama, Sibeius-Academy, Helsinki

Ashkan Behzadi, Columbia University


Anna Litvinenko, Juilliard School of Music and Drama

Benjamin Baker, Eastman School of Music

Berber Heerema, Royal Conservatory, The Hague

Sebastian Baverstam, New England Conservatory

Double Bass:

Frederik Speer, Royal Conservatory, Oslo

Fredrik Blikeng, McGill University, Montreal

Electric Bass:

Logan Kane, UC Thornton, Los Angeles

Janne  Tuovinen, Sibelius-Academy

The Creative Dialogue workshop was created in 2008 to incite young performers and composers to engage in a dialogue that benefits not only the two parties but also music life in general. Performers and composers often study in the same institutions, but seldom are they encouraged to find out how much they have 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. Anssi Karttunen, Kaija Saariaho and Magnus Lindberg conceived this workshop together with Sibelius-Academy to open new horizons and break barriers.

The Sibelius Academy, the music university of Finland invites some of the most prestigious Universities and Conservatories in the USA 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 for the first time in FInland, at the Paloheimo family's residence inKallio-Kuninkala, Järvenpää, Finland, which is a campus of the Sibelius Academy and it will now be held on alternate years in the two countries.


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 the Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan, Magnus Lindberg and Anssi Karttunen. 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 cellist 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 organised in collaboration with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

Photos and recordings:

Creative dialogue VIII

Creative Dialogue VII

Creative Dialogue VI

Creative Dialogue V

Creative Dialogue IV

Creative Dialogue III

Creative Dialogue II

Creative Dialogue I

Participating Universities
Guildhall School of Music
Conservatoire de Paris CNSM
Conservatoire de Geneve
Amsterdam Conservatory
Oslo Conservatory
Copenhagen Conservatory
Columbia University
Cornell University
Butler School of Music, Univ. of Texas
Eastman School of Music
Indiana University
Juilliard School of Music and Drama
McGill University
Mannes College of Music 
Manhattan School of Music
New England Conservatory
Northwestern University
Yale School of Music
University of California San Diego
University of Minnesota School of Music


Magnus Lindberg, Anssi Karttunen and John Paul Jones