Järvenpää-talo is a high standard venue for large-scale conferences, concerts and events. The broad selection of cultural events offered by the building range from stand up comedy to classical music. In terms of its acoustics, the Sibelius hall is one of the best in Finland. The acoustics were designed by the experienced architect office Alpo Halme, specialised in the design and research of sound engineering. In addition to concerts and theatre performances, the Sibelius hall is used as a recording space for classical music. The cosy Juhani Aho hall has seats on the floor and on the beautiful balcony. The hall is used for meetings, exhibitions, concerts, parties and theatre performances. The 12 conference rooms in the building are modifiable and can be combined in various ways for the purposes of varying conference and meeting requirements.
The Järvenpää-talo is also home to the cosy Kellariteatteri, which functions as the main stage of the theatre of Järvenpää (Järvenpään Teatteri). The theatre was established in the 1970s by a small group of railway workers interested in amateur theatre. After the completion of Järvenpää-talo, their activities moved from school assembly halls and the stages of various association houses to the big stage in the Sibelius hall – something which proved beneficial for continuing the ambitious work. The lobby of the building also houses the free Järnätti gallery, which displays varying exhibitions, from installations to oil paintings and photographs. The exhibitions change monthly and admission is free.
Master composer and food aficionado
The music production of master composer Jean Sibelius, representative of national romanticism, is particularly visibly on display in Järvenpää during the year of his celebration. The life's work of our most well-known and performed composer is still of interest.
Alongside significant work on symphonies and concertos, Sibelius found the time to appreciate good food. His approach to food is exemplified by his answer to his wife Aino Sibelius when she asked what her newly-wed husband might prefer in terms of meals and dinners, the answer being: "Champagne and oysters!" Everyday meals in the artistic home were nevertheless fairly simple and often featured porridge, pork gravy and boiled potatoes as well as vegetables and fruit from the family's own garden. Aino Sibelius was a skilled and careful gardener who, in her kitchen garden, experimented with and grew even many varieties virtually unheard of in Finland at the time. The seeds she got as souvenirs from her husband's trips abroad.
In her memoirs, Helmi Vainikainen, the long-term cook of the Sibelius' house Ainola, recounts that while the most often cooked dish during weekends was roast veal and green peas, celebratory dinners often consisted of roast fowl, which was one of the master composer's favourite foods, alongside oysters and game. At celebratory dinners, Sibelius enjoyed good red wines and had a wide-ranging and diverse wine and drinks cellar, even according to modern standards. The host had a reputation of being very hospitable and willing to treat his guests to delicious food and high-quality refreshments.
The correspondence of Aino Sibelius has also revealed him to have had a sweet tooth. He is told to have often enjoyed a weak whisk(e)y and soda coupled with a slice of caramel-topped layer cake – a taste combination he thought especially good – late at night. He was also fond of tartlets with various kinds of fillings.
Järvenpää-talo serves two different kinds of Sibelius menus celebrating the 150th anniversary of his birth. The inspiration for these menus derives from the cuisine of the early 1900s and the master composer's favourite dishes.