Thomas Hampson joins the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Klaus Mäkelä, for the opening concert of the Turku Musical Festival on August 8, at the Turku Concert Hall. Hampson will perform selections from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Completing the program is Wagner’s Overture to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Strauss’ epic tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra, as well as Saariaho’s Asteroid 4179: Toutatis, which is inspired by an asteroid named after a Celtic god worshipped in ancient Gaul and Britain. Saariaho notes:

“I first became interested in Toutatis when reading that it is the asteroid whose orbit passes closest to Earth. When reading more and then seeing pictures of it, I started to find its unusual shape and complex rotation interesting — different areas of it rotate at different speeds. One consequence of this is that Toutatis does not have a fixed north pole like the Earth; instead, it’s north pole wanders along a curved path roughly every 5.4 days. The stars viewed from Toutatis wouldn’t repeatedly follow circular paths but would crisscross the sky, never following the same path twice. So Toutatis doesn’t have anything you could call a ‘day.’ Its rotation is the result of two different types of motion with periods of 5.4 and 7.3 Earth days that combine in such a way that Toutatis’ orientation with respect to the solar system never repeats. All these peculiarities, and the fact that Toutatis already has had many collisions with other heavenly objects inspired me to write this small work…”

Photo: Lukas Beck

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Thomas Hampson