Violinist Elina Vähälä will perform with Princeton Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 15 & 16 . Photo Credit: Contributed

Finnish Violinist Elina Vähälä to Perform Britten Concerto with Princeton Symphony Orchestra

Princeton, NJ—American-born Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä appears for the first time with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) at performances the weekend of October 15-16. She’ll play Benjamin Britten’s under-performed Violin Concerto, Op. 15 on a largely English program also featuring Edward Elgar’s Variations on An Original Theme, Op. 36 “Enigma.” US contemporary composer Jessie Montgomery’s Starburst opens the concerts, conducted by Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov on Saturday, October 15 at 8pm and Sunday, October 16 at 4pm. Performances take place at Richardson Auditorium, on the campus of Princeton University, with a 3pm pre-concert talk on Sunday.

Vähälä was originally scheduled to perform with the PSO in fall 2020, but that concert was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Milanov says, “Britten’s Violin Concerto is one of the most original and profound works in the repertoire. I am looking forward to collaboration with Elina Vähälä and to bringing to our audience this extraordinary piece!”

Born in the United States and raised in Finland, Elina Vähälä made her orchestral debut with Sinfonia Lahti at the age of twelve and was later chosen by Osmo Vänskä as the orchestra’s “young master soloist.” Since that time, her career has continued to expand on international stages, winning praise from audiences and musicians alike as “a fluent, stylish and gifted musician whose brilliant technique is matched by an abundant spirit, sensitivity and imagination” (Chicago Tribune). Elina Vähälä appears regularly with all of the key Finnish orchestras as well being a guest of countless high-profile orchestras across the globe, and has toured throughout the UK, Finland, Germany, China, Korea, and South America.

A composition fellow at Princeton University, Jessie Montgomery’sStarburst is characterized by exploding gestures juxtaposed with gentle fleeting melodies, and is the third work by the composer performed by the PSO in recent years. Benjamin Britten wrote his violin concerto as a requiem for the fallen soldiers of the Spanish Civil War, as well as a foreshadowing of World War II. Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations is his best-known work with its suggested, rather than played, main theme and variations linked to personal friends, represented in the score by cryptic initials.

Classical concerts take place on Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 4pm. Youths 5-17 receive a 50% discount with an adult purchase. To subscribe or purchase single tickets starting at $30, visit the Princeton Symphony Orchestra website at or call 609-497-0020.

Health and Safety

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra is closely monitoring and adhering to the New Jersey Department of Health’s COVID-19 requirements and complies with rules set by partner venues. Concert attendees will receive information regarding safety procedures, entry, seating directions, etc. in advance of their selected live performance(s).


The Princeton Symphony Orchestra is committed to ensuring all programming is accessible for everyone, working with venues to provide needed services. Online events include digital concert resources, closed captioning, and transcriptions as appropriate. If there are questions about these or if any additional services are required, contact ADA Coordinator Kitanya Khateri at or 609 497-0020. Note: some services require at least two weeks’ notice to arrange.


Saturday, October 15 at 8pm and Sunday, October 16 at 4:00pm – Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) presents violinist Elina Vähälä performing Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto on a largely English program with Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” and US composer Jessie Montgomery’s Starburst. Rossen Milanov conducts. Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, Princeton University Campus, Princeton, NJ. Tickets: start at $30 (children 5-17 who are accompanied by an adult receive a 50% discount); Accommodations or services can be arranged with two weeks’ notice, contact Kitanya at; For tickets: or 609-497-0020.

Programs, artists, dates, and times are subject to change.


Internationally renowned conductor and Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov looks forward to collaborating in 2022-23 with established and emerging artists of the orchestral world and helming the PSO’s popular June performing arts celebration – The Princeton Festival.

Respected and admired by audiences and musicians alike, he has established himself as a conductor with considerable national and international presence. In addition to leading the PSO, Mr. Milanov is the music director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and chief conductor of the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra in Ljubljana. During his eleven-year tenure with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Milanov conducted more than 200 performances. In 2015, he completed a 15-year tenure as music director of the nationally recognized training orchestra Symphony in C in New Jersey and in 2013, a 17-year tenure with the New Symphony Orchestra in his native city of Sofia, Bulgaria.

Mr. Milanov has collaborated with Komische Oper Berlin (Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtzensk), Opera Oviedo with the Spanish premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Mazzepa and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle (awarded best Spanish production for 2015), and Opera Columbus (Verdi’s La Traviata). He has been seen at New York City Ballet and collaborated with choreographers such as Mats Ek, Benjamin Millepied, and most recently Alexei Ratmansky in the critically acclaimed revival of Swan Lake in Zurich with Zurich Ballet and in Paris with La Scala Ballet.

Mr. Milanov is deeply committed to music education, presenting Link Up education projects with Carnegie Hall and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and leading the PSO’s annual BRAVO! School Day concerts. He was named Bulgaria’s Musician of the Year in 2005; he won a 2011 ASCAP award for adventurous programming of contemporary music at the PSO; and he was selected as one of the top 100 most influential people in New Jersey in 2014. In 2017, he was recipient of a Columbus Performing Arts Prize awarded by The Columbus Foundation. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School.


The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is a cultural centerpiece of the Princeton community and one of New Jersey’s finest music organizations, a position established through performances of beloved masterworks, innovative music by living composers, and an extensive network of educational programs offered to area students free of charge. Led by Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov, the PSO presents orchestral, pops, and chamber music programs of the highest artistic quality, supported by lectures and related events that supplement the concert experience. Its flagship summer program the Princeton Festival brings an array of performing arts and artists to Princeton during multiple weeks in June. Through PSO BRAVO!, the orchestra produces wide-reaching and impactful education programs in partnership with local schools and arts organizations that culminate in students attending a live orchestral performance. The PSO receives considerable support from the Princeton community and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, regularly garnering NJSCA’s highest honor. Recognition of engaging residencies and concerts has come from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the PSO’s commitment to new music has been acknowledged with an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming and a Copland Fund Award. The only independent, professional orchestra to make its home in Princeton, the PSO performs at historic Richardson Auditorium on the campus of Princeton University.

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