The contemporary classical festival Nordic Music Days will take place at Southbank Centre for the first time between 28 September and 1 October as part of Nordic Matters, the Centre’s year-long exploration of arts and culture from across the Nordic regions.

The festival will showcase compositions by Nordic composers and sound artists alongside a wide-ranging programme of talks, workshops and family events. Almost all performances and events are free to attend.

Highlights include a programme comprising Sibelius’ sixth and seventh symphonies and works by Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Daníel Bjarnason from Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra; a late-night multimedia performance blending electronica with traditional Nordic influences; a concert from the Riot Ensemble featuring works by Kaija Saariaho, Djuro Zivkovic, Ole Lützow-Holm, Bára Gísladóttir and Ruben Sverre Gjertsen; and a concert inspired by traditional Finnish music including runosong, the oldest known Fenno-Baltic singing style, from Pekka Kuusisto and Ilona Korhonen.

The festival will also see the return of the Philharmonia’s The Virtual Orchestra: Sibelius 360, a 360 degree virtual reality experience which will place viewers in the middle of the orchestra on the Royal Festival Hall stage, and will include ‘New Music: The Burning Questions’, a three part series of seminars which will explore issues for composers today, such as diversity and women in music, international opportunities for composers and artist-led programming.

The event aims to encourage collaboration between Nordic and UK musicians and composers, and provide a platform for experimentation through a series of workshops and performances. Each day, 20 composers and musicians from the UK and Nordic countries will be invited to short writing sessions led by Martin Q Larsson, composer and artistic director of Nordic Music Days, to create new pieces of music within one hour, and young people will be able to try their hand at composing in Music Maze, a series of creative music-making workshops which each culminate in a live performance of an original piece on Southbank Centre’s Riverside Cafe stage.