When Pietari Inkinen studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, his first diploma was in violin, an instrument he had played since the age of four. However, he then decided he wanted to study conducting – and Stravinsky’s groundbreaking, visceral The Rite of Springwas one of the reasons.

“It was always one of my dream pieces and one piece why I wanted to get into the conducting class in Helsinki – to learn to do it properly, not as a good musician-conductor and somehow get through it. The technical mastery [that the Helsinki] conducting class really trained you for, chose it as one of the pieces [to study],” says the sought-after Finnish conductor, who turns 40 in April.

Pietari Inkinen. Photograph courtesy of IMG Artists

Stravinksy’s The Rite of Spring(Le Sacre du Printemps) famously caused a riot when it premiered in Paris in 1913 for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Beginning with an eerie bassoon solo, its avant-garde music and primeval choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky was too much for the Parisian audience, who made so much noise that the dancers couldn’t hear the music.

The Rite of Springis one of the pieces...