Shirley Sparks, vocals - Janne Hovi, piano
Mr. Janne Hovi, a prominent figure in Finland’s piano music scene, is known for his collaborations with renowned opera singers, including the internationally acclaimed bass singer Mr. Jaakko Ryhänen. Trained under the tutelage of esteemed Jussi Siirala at the prestigious Sibelius Academy, Hovi earned a Master’s degree in solo piano in 2004. He’s introduced and recorded innovative Finnish compositions, earning the Väinö Sola Composer’s Scholarship in 2003. Beyond classical music, Hovi excels in jazz, swing, and popular music, regularly performing with renowned jazz clarinetist Antti Sarpila and double bassist Wade Mikkola, often at the Baltic Jazz Festival.
Janne Hovi’s piano artistry is marked by delicate refinement and intuitive expressiveness, showcasing a diverse range of styles.
Ms. Shirley Sparks, celebrated for her nuanced soprano voice, is a Finnish professional vocalist who pushes musical genre boundaries. Her 25-year classical music career included performances spanning Baroque to contemporary compositions. Shirley has explored early 20th-century American Classic Jazz and Traditional Pop music since 2015, with captivating renditions of Peggy Lee’s timeless songs and performances at prestigious venues in Finland and abroad. An academic achiever, she holds a Master’s degree in Music, History, and Culture at the Oxford Brookes University, with a specialization in English opera and contemporary theater. Sparks has performed internationally, including the Savoy Hotel in London and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Shirley’s artistic expression merges classical, jazz, popular, and theatrical elements, resulting in a harmonious and captivating style. Her compositions draw inspiration from art and mythology, with her second original song album, “Dreams of a Butterfly,” released in August 2023. Shirley Sparks also initiated the concert series concept “Chambré – Chamber Jazz Soirée” in Finland.
Hovi and Sparks have a history of enthralling audiences in Finland’s premier venues, including performances such as “Chaplin, Eternally” and the Peggy Lee 100th anniversary concerts.
"The Trees", five pieces for piano, op. 75 by Jean Sibelius
No. 1. När rönnen blommar - When The Rowan Blossoms, (Allegretto, 1914)
No. 2. Den ensamma furan - The Solitary Pine, (Grave, 1914)
No. 3. Aspen - The Aspen, (Andantino, 1914)
No. 4. Björken - The Birch, (Allegro, 1914)
No. 5. Granen - The Spruce, (Stretto-Lento; 1919)
Original song series "Dreams of a Butterfly" by Shirley Sparks
Sands of Time,
Written in Stone,
All This Time,
In the Distance,
Down in the Dreaming,
Dreams of a Butterfly,
The Colour of Your Dream,
God, Where Are You?,
Illusion (premiere performance).