Violinist Peter Csaba was acting Artistic Director of Kuhmo Chamber Music, Seppo Kimanen being on sabbatical leave. The themes of the 31st Festival were Ludwig van Beethoven, whose nearly all chamber music works were performed during the festival, the composers of the turn of the Millennium, the romantic trio and the quintets. The 250th anniversary of J.S. Bach’s death was also highlighted at the festival.

“When making such a festival for the first time, you don’t have any concrete expectations, actually, Peter Csaba said. ”You just had to believe that everything would be running smoothly. In my opinion the festival as a whole was a success, the kind I was hoping for.”

“A year as Artistic Director of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival has been a significant experience and I am happy to be back next year as an ‘ordinary’ artist. On one hand this experience has not changed me at all and on the other it has a lot; I now see many things in a new way.”

The festival was favoured by the weather conditions: during the first week there were lots of sunshine in Kuhmo and pretty hot weather. Heavy rain and thunderstorms passed by Kuhmo at a distance of only 20 kilometers.

The audience had the opportunity to listen to the new organ of the Kuhmo church in the concert of Kalevi Kiviniemi.

New works commissioned by the Festival were performed: the Flute Quintet by Kalevi Aho, performed by Mikael Helasvuo and the Lahti Chamber Music Society Quartet and a composition for harpsichord by Jukka Tiensuu, played by the composer.

The festival programme featured the traditional Saturday evening’s marathon concerts: Chamber Music Fever, introduced by Peter Csaba together with composer Kalevi Aho and, the Chamber Music Cavalcade with Mr Csaba and actor Lasse Pöysti. Japanese music was performed by the Marie Okabe Trio and acoustic klezmer music by the Finnish Doina Klezmer ensemble.

A new headline, Carte Blanche provided an opportunity for artists to play or perform whatever they wished, with whomever they wished at the Salakamari inn and tell the audience about their music. Ralf Gothoni, Christoph Henkel, Frans Helmerson, Vladimir Mendelssohn and Eduard Brunner appeared at Salakamari.

There were many new names among the performers: among others tenor Neil Mackie, violinists Michiko Kamiya and Vilmos Szabadi, violist Tasso Adamopoulos, cellists Lluis Claret and Zvi Plesser, double bass player Panu Pärssinen, pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Martá Gulyás, Håvard Gimse, Kevin Kenner and Wu Han, oboist Aisling Casey, flutist Janne Thomsen, horn player Hervé Joulain, accordionist James Crabb as well as the Brentano, Dante, Jerusalem and Ysaÿe Quartets.

The paintings of Osmo Rauhala were exhibited in the foyer of the Kuhmo Arts Centre and The Loom, the Yarn and the Broken Heart, an exhibition of tapestry and graphics by Ariadna Donner was on show at the Chamber Music Centre.

The artistic quality of the event was excellent and the attendance was close to 42 000, an average of previous years. There was one daily event less than before.


The 32nd Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival highlighted 300 years of European Chamber Music from the eighteenth century to the present day. The journey in time advanced in daily portions of approximately 20 years. Back after a sabbatical year, Artistic Director Seppo Kimanen created a collection of 104 concerts to be performed in the course of two weeks, the history of European Chamber Music evolving chronologically from J. S. Bach to Arvo Pärt.

The festival was celebrated under auspicious stars – major programme changes and cancellations were avoided, weather conditions were fine and the organisational part worked well. Kimanen had created his largest ever festival – the musical journey was the result of a matchless effort. Close to 400 works were performed by 80 single artists and 20 ensembles, which adds up to nearly 200 musicians. There were seven daily concerts – the last concert starting at 11pm.

The programming of this year’s festival was such a big effort, that Kimanen doubts he will ever undertake anything of that kind. “The sabbatical year led out of the frying pan into the fire”, Kimanen gives a laugh. “During that time
I had the illusion of having unlimited time and boundless strength.”

In the field of chamber music, the Viennese Classical period is best known as one can see from ticket sale. The programme featured several rarities from the 18th century, some of them had probably their first performance in Finland only now. The mere search for the music took months. This is the case of, for instance, Franz Xavier Richter’s (1709-1789) String Quartet in C and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s (1710-1736) Cantata op. 2/2.

Contemporary music was emphasised during the last days of the festival. Five works were premiered: the works of Paavo Heininen, Mikko Heiniö and Einojuhani Rautavaara, commissioned by the Kuhmo Chamber Music
Festival and, further, the works for Accordeon Trio of Tuomas Kantelinen and Pehr Henrik Nordgren, commissioned By Trio Fratres

First-timer artists of Kuhmo were, among others, tenor Peter Schreier, acclaimed interpreter of Bach, pianist Angela Hewitt, violinist Mark Lubotski and young Finnish singers Mari Palo, Helena Juntunen and Topi Lehtipuu.

String Quartets occupied a conspicuous position. Founded 55 years ago, the Borodin Quartet as well as the Auer Quartet, a young and extremely promising Hungarian ensemble, performed at the festival. In all, the programme featured six string quartets, such as the Mandelring and the Vogler Quartets from Germany. Furthermore, we had the opportunity to listen to Florilegium, a leading Baroque ensemble from the UK and the Gryphon Trio from Canada.

The rejuvenation operation of the festival’s body of artists was clearly visible this year. In addition to the fact, that one of the festival’s objectives is to promote young artists the supply of young talent has grown enormously: the qualitative difference between the students attending the music course and the artists is narrower than ever, as the best students are close to coequal to the Festival musicians.

An “out-of-the Way” concert was organized in a most remote place: the concert venue, the Levävaara House, deep in the reserve of Elimyssalo, could only be reached via duckboards. The members of the Auer Quartet were supplied with wellies.

The festival’s Corsican theme, including a concert and an evening with Corsican food, was a success story and an overture to next year’s Mediterranean theme. Traditional Corsican vocal music was performed by the A Filetta ensemble in Kuhmo Church. Further, a series of three late night church concerts featured Biber’s Mystery Sonatas. These were performed by Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen and the Battalia ensemble and proved to be a success as well.

“The Bold and the Beautiful”, a photo exhibition of Caj Bremer, grand old man of Finnish photography, was on show during the festival at the Kuhmo Arts Centre.

Attendance got close to 42.000. The economic situation is tight, states Executive Director Tuulikki Karjalainen. The maturity of the festival organisation was proven and aa events were carried out without difficulties. This year’s budget was 5 MFIM.


For it’s 33rd season the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival reverted to it’s former dimensions after the previous summer’s big effort. In true Kuhmo tradition the programme was formed into a dialogue between old and new. The main themes running through this year’s festival were Vienna, the Mediterranean and Russia and, accordingly, Artistic Director Seppo Kimanen had put together a range of 83 concerts runnng across a fortnight. The festival took place 14 July – 28 July 2002.

The three themes created a veritable feast of styles, colours, different periods and a fireworks of excellent music. The red line running right through the fortnight were Vienna and the Viennese composers Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms. Around them the festival wove a tapestry of Spanish music from the 16th century to the present day, Italian Baroque and Romaticism, as well as a broad selection of leading Russian chamber music composers. In addition to such great Russian Romanticists as Pyotr Tchaikovsky, there was a pageant of Russian music from the Imperial Courts to Dmitri Shostakovich.

The most recent Finnish music was highlighted at the Uussävel Composer’s Competition. The winner was voted by the audience on the second Friday evening when the titles of the compositions and the six finalists were known but not which composer had composed respective work. The finale could be heard both at the Arts Centre and live at the YLE Radio One Channel. In the concert hall, the audience voted for their favourites by ballot and, the radio listeners via SMS. The competition was won by Seppo Pohjola and his composition New York New York. Jorma Härkönen’s Visions Invisibles was placed second, Tapio Tuomela’s Juoigga!, third, Juha Leinonen’s Foga, fourth, Uljas Pulkkis’ Djinni, fifth and Pertti Jalava’s Spiraali, sixth. The award sum (EUR 8 400) was divided between the works according to the amount of votes received.

A rarity representing another era, the Spanish chamber opera, La púrpura de la rosa (1701), performed as a concert version by Andrew Lawrence-King and his ensemble, represented another era.

This year the number of string quartets was eight. The legendary Russian Borodin Quartet was joined by the Chilingirian Quartet, UK and the Silesia Quartet, Poland. Among the newcomers the young Russian Dominant Quartet from Moscow and the Utrecht Quartet from the Netherlands could be heard at the festival. The Jean Sibelius, Tempera and New Helsinki Quartets represented Finland.

Spain and Morocco were this year’s new musical seizures of territory. Concentrating on early Spanish music, the a cappella vocal ensembles La Colombina and Musica Reservata de Barcelona appeared at Kuhmo. The Efim Jourist Tango Ensemble introduced Russian tangos to Kuhmo audiences, while the ensemble of traditional music, the Lmaalem Brahim Gnawa Ensemble and singer Karima Skalli as well as luthist Azeddine Montassere, Morocco, brought along a breath of Arabic culture from the Mediterranean region.

Piano music for four hands was another of this year’s festival themes, performed by the popular Kutrowatz brothers from Austria and the Önder sisters from Turkey. Music making families were well represented at the festival: Natalia Gutman appeared with her son Sviatoslav Moroz, Valentin Berlinsky (cellist with the Borodin Quartet) with his daughter Ludmila Berlinskaya, and Anna Gebert with her brother Alexander Gebert.

Newcomers at the festival were, among others, pianists Boris Berezovski, Roberto Prosseda and Dmitri Vinnikas as well as violinists Judith Ingolfsson, winner of the Indianapolis violin competition, Svetlin Roussev and Sonia Wieder-Atherton, also known as a composer and the star French oboist Francois Leleux. As usual, Virtuosi di Kuhmo appeared under Peter Csaba.

The rising Finnish stars at Kuhmo included Arttu Kataja, recent winner of the Lappeenranta Singing Competition,Tuuli Lindeberg and Herman Wallén, both newcomers at Kuhmo.

The attendance was 41.000 visitors. Judging from attendance the message seems to be: We will be back next summer. The audience clearly showed authentic enthusiasm – I can look forward to the future with confidence, says Kimanen.

The Festival’s most explicit innovation could be observed at the music course, where several chamber music ensembles were formed. The new Artistic Director Junio Kimanen seized upon the original idea of the course and stressed the express importance of chamber music ensembles.

At the music course, the Kees Wiebenga scholarship was distributed to the Quartett Ensemble as well as to the performers of the Mendelssohn octet of the Prima Vista workshop, tutored by Anna Gebert. A scholarship of one thousand euros was distributed in connection with Inspirations of the Day, the student concert series. After listening to all the students’ performances, the jury members Junio Kimanen, Grazyna Zeranska and Yrjö Manninen chose the best new ensemble, founded at the music course. The scholarship was distributed for the first time.

Fortunately enough the Chamber Music Workshop concerts and the student concerts were well attended.

A record number of programmes about the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival were made for international TV distribution. Fuji Television, Japan, were preparing a programme to be broadcast next fall primetime (Incredible Stories series). Further, Reiner Moritz, RM Associates, recorded all Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich string quartets performed at Kuhmo by the Borodin Quartet, as well as a range of Brahms works, performed by violinist Elisabeth Batiashvili and pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. The cooperation with Filmikonttori, Finland, initiated last year, was continued this summer. The Finnish Broadcasting Company was present at he festival as well: the Belaieff Salon concert was broadcast live and the company also recorded three concerts.

Two “Out-of-the-way” concerts were organized. The concert venues were the Niva House, village of Niva (Silesia Quartet) and the Levävaara House, situated in the nature reserve of Elimyssalo, which can be reached via duckboards (Ensemble Capriccio).

Elina Pyykkönen and Marja-Stiina Suihko, two voluntary workers from the Festival Café, were awarded a trip to Japan each. Both live in Kuhmo. The trips were donated by Akiko and Kiyomasa Arai, Yoshiko Arai’s parents.

A collection of Finnish contemporary art from the OKO Arts Foundation was on show in the vestibule of the Arts Centre.

Weather was extremely variable, changing from hot to several rainy days. Although it had rained all day on the day of the Chamber Music Fever concert, the sky cleared up and, there was splendid sun shining in the evening from the first intermission. And there was a chance to arrive dry-shod to the Amati café before next rain.

The Chamber Music Festival budget 2002 was 800 000 euros.


In its 34th summer Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival connected chamber music to dance. The praised performance of Petrushka by the Tero Saarinen Company as well as Tiina Lindfors’ choreography to Four Walls by John Cage featured in the festival programme

Other festival themes highlighted a broad range of W. A. Mozart’s chamber music work, keyboard music by Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann and Frédéric Chopin as well as French 19 century piano music with emphasis on Eric Satie. There was a record number of pianists among the festival artists and there was an audible presence of a great many string quartets. The Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival took place 13-27 July 2003.

Together with the Drottningholm, the Aix-en-Provence and the Santa Fe festivals, the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival headed Andrew Clark’s list of the four most remarquable music festivals, published in the Guardian, in good time before the festival.

This summer’s first performances included a Piano trio by Paavo Heininen and a Clarinet quintet by Pehr Henrik Nordgren, both commissioned by Kuhmo Chamber Music. In all, nearly 60 commissioned works have been performed at the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival.

The Wasifuddin Dagar Dhrupad Ensemble appeared as a guest from India, where the Dagar family has kept the Islamic Dhrupad vocal tradition alive for over 22 generations. The Moroccan Mohamed Briouel Ensemble performed classic Moorish-Andalucian music, and Klezmer music, especially popular in Central Europe, was performed by the Györa Feidman Quartet, a newcomer in Finland.

The traditional Saturday Cavalcade was replaced by a Tango-Klezmer concert at Kontio School and a Mozart Marathon at the Arts Centre. After that, at 22.00, Mozart’s Requiem was performed at Kuhmo Church. Conducted by Andres Mustonen, a chamber version of the work was performed, where the soloists executed the choir’s parts

Newcomers at Kuhmo were pianists Bruce Brubaker, Andrew Russo, Jean Dubé and Pierre Mancinelli, cellist David Geringas and clarinetist Ronald van Spaendonck, the Jean Paul Piano Trio.

In addition to the Jean Paul Trio there were other small-sized ensembles at Kuhmo, such as the Danel Quartet, the Endellion Quartet, the Uusi Helsinki Quartet and the Gryphon Trio.

There were two larger ensembles appearing at the festival: Avanti! and Virtuosi di Kuhmo, who concluded the 34th Chamber Music Festival, conducted by Peter Csaba and Natalia Gutman as soloist.

Owing to illness Gergely Bogányi had to cancel his appearance. He was replaced by Antti Siirala, who payed Kuhmo a flying visit.

Launched by the Virtuosi – International Centre of Chamber Music, the Melartin Project was continued, as four quartets by Erkki Melartin were performed by the Melartin and Meta4 Quartets at Lentiira Church. The works were recorded during the festival as well. Fallen into near oblivion, these string quartets were prepared for execution and recording in the frames of the project, which lasted eight months.

A photo exhibition by Jorma Komulainen, presenting people from Kainuu in the 70s, was on show in the foyer of the Kuhmo Arts Centre.

During the festival, its most recent partner, the National Board of Forestry, organized two excursions to Huovisnäreikkö, Sotkamo. This year, the “out-of-the way” concerts took place at the Jauhovaara Forestry hut, after the excursions. The excursions were fully booked in a couple of days.

The Kuhmo Chamber Music Shop and the Café were shifted to the Kontio School Cantine and it was therefore open all the day. Due to record attendance, Harry Halbreich’s daily presentations of the day’s programme, had to be transferred from the Amati Café to the more spacious Salakamari premises. The festival cantine was moved to Tuupala School.

For the first time, an Internet-based ticket sales system was in use, and run smoothly.

Weather was eceptionally good, even hot and oppressive at times. There was thunder in the air a couple of times, but only once a proper thundershower could be admired. In a fortnight there was a cloudy morning only once. In her recital, Brasilian pianist Cristina Ortiz compared the sultriness to her native Brasilian heat.

The attendance reached 44 000. The festival budget 2003 was 800 000 Euros.


During its 35th summer season the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival took upon itself the vast project of performing all the Haydn string quartets. To play the no fewer than 69 works it invited along 14 string quartets – a record number in the history of the Festival. Among them were both young Finnish ensembles such as the Meta4 Quartet and the legendary 60-year-old Borodin Quartet. The Lindsay Quartet, which plans to disband next year, gave its last recital on the second Tuesday of the Festival to a packed Lentua Hall. Seppo Kimanen bade the quartet farewell with fine sauna switches to a standing ovation. A traditional Finnish sauna kit complete with tar and liquor was presented to the quartet at the Salakamari. The Lindsay’s performances were recorded by RM Associates.

Other themes for the year, besides Haydn, were the core chamber repertoire of Felix Mendelssohn, and emigrant composers in the United States.

The season’s premieres were commissions from Jouni Kaipainen and Tapio Tuomela. Performing at the 90 concerts were 170 artists in a festival that ran from 11 to 25 July.

Making their first visit to Kuhmo were the French Castagneri and Diotima Quartets, the Austrian Aron and German Rodin. Representing Finland were the New Helsinki, Tempera, Meta4 and Jean Sibelius Quartets. Also appearing at the Festival were the Petersen and Georgia Quartets from Germany, the Danel from Belgium, the Auer from Hungary and the Borodin and Dominant from Russia.

The Festival featured a record number of pianists – 24 in all, including such names as Daniel Blumenthal, Filippo Gamba, Stefan Litwin, Antti Siirala and Lisa Smirnova. Among the first-time singers were Susan Narucki and Gabriel Suovanen, and Canadian Marie-Nicole Lemieux, whose contralto sent her Kuhmo audience into ecstasies.

The eagerly-awaited visit by György and Marta Kurtág, and by Nuria Schönberg-Nono, daughter of Arnold Schönberg, had to be cancelled for reasons of health.

Five of the concerts were already sold out at the start of the Festival, fourteen three days later and more and more as the Festival proceeded. An extra concert was arranged on the last weekend due to the great demand for tickets. The 35th anniversary concert at the Kuhmo Arts Centre was sold out beforehand and a parallel extra all-stars concert was held at Kontio School.

The soloists for the new Young Chamber Musicians concert series in the second week of the Festival were selected from the applications submitted. The most distant were from New York and Japan. The aim of the series is to provide performing opportunities for talented young musicians and to bring them in contact with festival and concert organisers. Some of the 14 young soloists attended the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival music course, which attracted 121 students in 2004. The Artistic Director of the course was Junio Kimanen.

The programme for the 2004 Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival also included traditional vocal music from Sardinia sung by the Tenores di Neoneli, and hymns with a jazz orientation performed by the Perko-Pyysalo-Viinikainen Trio.

In the foyer of the Kuhmo Arts Centre was an exhibition designed by graphic artist Pekka Lehtinen of Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival posters over the years, while the Salakamari put on an exhibition by Stefan Bremer devoted to 35 Years of Kuhmo Images. A work of art by calligrapher Shôka Zaitsu donated to the Kuhmo Chamber Music Association was displayed in the upper foyer of the Kuhmo Arts Centre.

The 35th Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival began with the finals of an international competition for string quartets and piano trios that was won by the Carducci Quartet of players from the UK and Ireland. The winner of the second prize was the UTA Quartet from Finland and of the third another Finnish quartet, the Kamus. In view of the high standard of the competition, the Jury decided to award several special prizes. That for the best ensemble that failed to reach the finals went to the Royal Quartet from Poland. The first prize was worth €12,000, the second €8,000, the third €4,000 and the special prizes €2,000 in all. The prizes were presented to the winners by the Finnish Minister of Culture, Ms Tanja Karpela.

The first week of the Festival was extremely wet. The sun nevertheless came out at the beginning of the mid-Festival weekend and continued to shine over the Kuhmo region for the whole of the second week.

The Festival had a budget of €850,000 and recorded a total audience of 41,000.


The three main themes for this year’s Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival were Czech music, the solo songs of Jean Sibelius, and Luigi Boccherini. Receiving their first performance were the sextet Metamorphoses for accordion, string quartet and double bass by Paavo Korpijaakko – a festival commission – and the guitar sonata “Jehkin Iivana” by Olli Mustonen. The 36th Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival was being held from 17 to 31 July 2005.

This year was the last for Professor Seppo Kimanen as Artistic Director of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. The programme for next summer is being planned by Vladimir Mendelssohn, Professor of chamber music at the Paris Conservatoire. Last spring he took up the post of Director of the Finnish Institute in London. To my mind, our expectations have all been met, and I could not hope for more. I will go away from the festival and my 35 years in Kuhmo in a very positive mood, says Seppo Kimanen.

In addition to more than 60 songs by Sibelius, the festival programme included a number of violin and piano pieces by him. The Czech works numbered more than a hundred and include all the Dvorák string quartets apart from some of the early ones. Kryštof Mařatka (b. 1972), a leading contemporary composer, was also well represented and will be attending the festival in person, and so was Australian composer Andrew Ford.

Among the first-timers were mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, Polish-born tenor John Daszak, Cyprian baritone Kyros Patsalides, Finnish baritone Tommi Hakala and Finnish soprano Tiina Penttinen and mezzo soprano Essi Luttinen. Among the stars at this year’s festival were the recent winner of the Franz Liszt Competition Yingdi Sun and the winner of the 2003 Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition Severin von Eckardstein. The list of artists further included such names as violinists Chloë Hanslip, Pekka Kuusisto, and Hagai Shaham, cellists Natalia Gutman, who performed all the Bach suites for solo cello, Christoph Richter, Michel Strauss, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and Marko Ylönen. Other instruments were represented by Mika Väyrynen, accordion, Ismo Eskelinen, guitar, and others.

Eleven string quartets could be heard during the festival: the Ardeo, Danel, Dante, Emperor, Mozarteum and Utrecht, and from Finland the Kamus, Meta4, Jean Sibelius and New Helsinki. The Australian Goldner Quartet were playing works by leading contemporary Australian composers. Appearing at the festival was also the Virtuosi di Kuhmo, conducted for the first time by Okko Kamu, and the Baroque ensembles The Brook Street Band and Capella Apollinis. There were three wind quintets at this year’s festival: the Ma’alot Quintet, the Phoenix Wind Quintet and Arktinen Hysteria. Festival ended on Sunday with a concert in Kuhmo Church by the Lumen Valo vocal ensemble.

Works by Hannu Väisänen were on display in the main foyer of the Kuhmo Arts Centre and watercolours by Klaus von Matt in the upper foyer.

The estimated number of festival visitors before the last two concerts stands at nearly 40,000, which is slightly less than last year. In the end, no fewer than 16 of the festival concerts were sold out. The budget for this year’s Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival is €880,000.


Ludwig van Beethoven was the spotlight composer for the 37th Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, featuring the Finnish premiere of an arrangement for chamber ensemble of the composer’s piano concerto no. 4, as well as the complete string quartets and seldom performed miniatures for mechanical organ. This was Vladimir Mendelssohn’s first season as Artistic Director of the Festival. There were 20 concerts less in the programme while there were more concerts with one or several intermissions. The Festival took place 16 – 29 July 2006.

The audience and the press took a special interest in a most extraordinary instrument, a glass harmonica, played by Thomas Bloch. Seldom heard composers were Beethoven’s contemporaries Heinrich Baermann, John Field, Franz Xaver Mozart, Archduke Rudolf and Franz Xaver Süssmayr. The late White Night concerts were devoted to nocturnal music. Exceptionally, the closing concert of the Festival took place already on Saturday evening at Kuhmo Arts Centre.

Exceptionally, two chamber orchestras appeared at the Festival: Kremerata Baltica under the baton of Gidon Kremer and Virtuosi di Kuhmo conducted by Peter Csaba. The list of pianists, starring at the festival included, among others, Paavali Jumppanen, who appeared at the festival in his hundreth concert, the fine array of violinists featuring such names as Peter Cropper, Chloë Hanslip and Patricia Kopatchinskaja.

The body of String Quartets appearing at the festival included the Enescu, Iturriaga, Meta4 and Quarrell Quartets as well as the Danel Quartet, who performed all the Beethoven string quartets. Other ensembles appearing at the Festival were Belcanto Strings, the Storioni-trio from Amsterdam as well as the Kraft-duo with Pekka Kuusisto, violin and Johanna Juhola, accordion. A dance performance was featuring in this year’s festival programme again, as Tiina Lindfors performed her solo choreography Three Dreams as One to music by Mikko Heiniö.

The Young Chamber Musicians programme included musicians such as Juho Pohjonen and recent winner of the Leipzig International Bach Competition Irina Zahharenkova, piano, Olga Polonsky and Sini-Maaria Simonen, violin, as well as eleven years old Saara Heikkinen, from Kuhmo.

In the Kuhmo Arts Centre foyer, facsimiles of watercolours by composer Mendelssohn-Bartholdy were exhibited.

The first festival week was sunny, the evenings were rich in atmosphere. On Wednesday of the second week weather cooled down. The attendance estimate exceeded 35 000. Seventeen concerts were sold out, among these the Wednesday morning Church concert featuring Kremarata Baltica and Gidon Kremer was fully booked.

The budget for the 2006 Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival was €840,000.


The focus composers at the summer 2007 Kuhmo Chamber Music were Johannes Brahms and Franz Schubert. They were featured in and around the main theme of the Festival, which was The Journey. Among the many rarities on the programme were the Souvenir de la Russie published under Brahm’s pseudonym, and the rediscovered French horn duets by Schubert. The Festival’s commissioned work was the piano quartet Voice of a Tree by Mikko Heiniö. In addition to a host of top instrumentalists the Festival were welcoming on of the finest chamber music choirs in the world, that of Eric Ericson, conducted by its founder and Eric-Olof Söderström. One special item at this year’s Festival was Howard Hawks’ silent film A Girl in Every Port (USA, 1928) screened to the accompaniment of live music. This was composed by Marc Marder, who came to Kuhmo to conduct the performance. The 38th Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival was held on July 15-28, 2007.

The Festival’s Artistic Director, Vladimir Mendelssohn, devised a kaleidoscope of musical journeys. The opening concert at Kontio School on the evening of Sunday July 15 is a marathon journey to Vienna (Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Ravel, Schreker, Kreisler, Sioly), where the evening ended with Pierrot Lunaire by Arnold Schoenberg. The other concerts lead to Eszterhazá (Schubert, Tommasini, Haydn), Scandinavia (Sibelius, Grieg, Heiniö, Nielsen), and Hungarian (Ligeti, Arriaga, Haydn, Brahms, Schubert, Kurtág, Lehár, Hahn), South American (Piazzolla, Ada Stillman, Kagel, Villa-Lobos), Parisian, Polish and French themes. Works by Schumann, Kurtág, Schubert and Brahms was plucked from composers’ secret gardens. Music by Mozart focused on his journeys to Paris, Mannheim, the Netherlands and Italy. Also on the programme music performed by Chopin on his last visit to Paris, late-night Bach and Liszt, and a concert dedicated to music for keyboard. The Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival ended at the Kuhmo Arts Centre on Saturday evening, July 28.

In addition to the work commissioned from Heiniö the Festival presented in its world premiere Ralf Gothoni’s February 30th for string quartet, Jouni Kaipainen’s preludes for piano and the first performance in Finland of Mozart’s once-lost Pantomime. The choreographer and dancer for Pantomine is Tiina Lindfors, as for Ligeti’s Poéme Symphonique for a hundred mentronomes (1962).

Our literary-flavoured performances began with some piano music by a man better known as a philosopher and writer, Friendrich Nietzsche. The Inner Journey concert Happy Days in Hell featured excerpts from Uncle Joe (about Josef Stalin, 1988) by Veikko Huovinen and music by Dimitri Shostakovich. Oscar Wilde’s story The Happy Prince was told at a children’s concert along with minimalist music by Terry Riley performed by Young Chamber Musicians.

Among the seldom-heard repertoire at the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival was choral works by Felix Mendelssohn, The Seasons by his sister Fanny, and Les Sirénes for soprano, choir and piano by Lili Boulanger. Visitors to the Festival had also a unique opportunity to hear all 15 string quartets by Schubert. These supplemented by his Trout – a Festival tradition – both for quintet and for voice and piano, and Vivalsi’s Four Seasons. Representing contemporary music was the Grammy-nominated Clarinet Quintet by Osvaldo Golijov (b. 1960), In the Earth and Air by Silvia Colasanti (b. 1975), a visitor at last summer’s Festival as well as scores by K Pendereceki, W Lutoslawski, G Kurtág, Earle Brown, and M Lindberg.

This summer, for the first time, the festival was also holding concerts at the Petola Visitor Centre near the heart of Kuhmo.

During the fourteen days of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival 145 artist presented some 260 works at 72 events.

The Virtuosi di Kuhmo, the chamber orchestra protégé of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, performed under the baton of Jan Söderblom, who also appeared at the Festival as a violinist.

Making his Kuhmo debut was Konrad Jarnot, one of the most interesting young baritones, in Schubert’s Winterreise and Die schöne Müllerin. Other singers included soprano Pia Freund, tenor Tuomas Katajala and mezzo-soprano Elsa Maurus, who was singing in Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gasellen and in Das Lied von der Erde with which the Festival ended.

The Festival pianists included Konstantin Bogino, Ralf Gothoni, Paavali Jumppanen, Junio Kimanen, Heini Kärkkäinen, Juhani Lagerspetz, Laura Mikkola, Dalia Ouziel, Valeria Resjan, Henri Sigfridsson, Anu Vehviläinen and the winner last year’s Leipzig Bach Competition and Alessandro Casagrande Piano Competition Irina Zahharenkova.

Stars of the violin faculty included Ik-Hwan Bae, Philippe Graffin – a new friend from France -, Chloë Hanslip, Alina Ibragimova, Patricia Kopatchinckaja, Pekka Kuusisto, Mihaela Martin, Gordan Nikolic, Hagai Shaham, Massimo Quarta, John Storgårds and Elina Vähälä.

There were also viola players – Matti Hirvikangas, Nobuko Imai, Thomas Riebl and Ásdis Valdamarsdóttir – and cellists – Andreas Brantelid, Jan-Erik Gustafsson, Frans Helmersson, Jérôme Pernoo and Marko Ylönen.

Composer Marc Marder was also appearing on double bass. Among the other artists was Kuhmo first-timer Ugo Orlandi, mandolin, Ismo Eskelinen, guitar, Janne Thomsen, Petri Alanko and Jacques Zoon, flute, Nicholas Daniel, Lucas Macías Navarro, oboe, Joy Farrall, Michel Lethiec and Kari Kriikku, clarinet, Jaakko Luoma, bassoon and Hervé Joulain and Esa Tapani, French horn. Also appeared as soloists Jukka-Pekka Kuusela, accordion, Thomas Bloch, Ondes Martenot and Hansjörn Albrecht, oragan.

As usual the Festival generated a number of ad hoc ensemles. The regular line-ups present this year the Rosamunde, Enesco and Meta4 quartets and the Storioni Trio.

Concurrent with the Festival was the traditional Kuhmo music courses and Young Chamber Musicians programme under their Artistic Director Junio Kimanen.

In December 2006 the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival held auditions and selected talented young players and composers for the 2007 Young Chamber Musicians programme. The 13 musicians appeared at the Festival in the Company of other Festival artists. The music courses consist of masterclasses in the piano, violin and chamber music and tuition in the flute, oboe, French horn and strings.

The Festival’s visual artist for this year was the German painter and graphic artist Emil Nolde (1867-1956), and original works by him was on display in the foyer of the Kuhmo Arts Centre. Nolde was a member of the expressionist Die Brücke group condemned like other modernist by the Nazi regime as degenerate. In 1941 he was banned from painting but secretly produced, 1,300 small watercolours that were easy to hide.

Audiences at Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival admired gobelins by textile artist Ariadna Donner in an exhibition at various Festival venues entitled The Roar and Spark of Silence. In 2002 the Finnish Association of Artists and Designers chose Ariandra Donner, who lives at Iivantiira in Kuhmo, as Artist of the Year.

The popular Live Poet’s Club met again. Reading their poetry at four sessions were Jyrki Heikkinen, Lars Huldén, Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen, Ville Hytönen, Silja Järventausta, Pentti Saaritsa, Tuomas Timonen and Jarkko Tontti.
The talks (in English) on music by Harry Halbreich continued at the Salakamari on weekdays at 9.30.


The 39th Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival was held on July 13-26, 2008. The Festival’s Artistic Director Vladimir Mendelssohn devised a programme which scales from the old music to first performances. The central themes were string quartets and music at courts.

During the fourteen days of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival around 150 international and domestic top artists were presenting some 240 works at 72 events.

There were ten string quartets performing, and it was possible to review the history of the string quartet from its conception through to a world premiere performance of Pehr Henrik Nordgren’s String Quartet No. 11. Almost all of Mozart’s string quartets were performed. Six Finnish composers wrote a new variation on the finale to Haydn’s string quartet 103.

The visiting composer this summer was the famous Sofia Gubaidulina, whose works was heard during the second week. The Eric Ericson Chamber Choir were visiting the Festival during the first week and performed Mozart’s seldom-heard notturnos.

The Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival was founded in 1970 and it is the largest chamber music festival in Finland. It was the fifth largest Finnish festival in terms of ticket sales last year.

Violonists Pekka Kuusisto, Pavel Vernikov and Massimo Quarta performed during the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, as were pianists Konstantin Bogino, Jeremy Menuhin, Heini Kärkkäinen and Paavali Jumppanen, cellists Frans Helmerson, Marko Ylönen, Jan-Erik Gustafsson and Martti Rousi, clarinetist Michel Lethiec, flutist Andras Adorjan, baritone Gabriel Suovanen, soprano Salomé Haller, as well as the Festival’s artistic director, violist Vladimir Mendelssohn.

International string quartets Danel, Ardeo, Artis, Brentano and Enescu Quartets were performing during the festival, as were Finnish quartets Meta4, Tempera and the New Helsinki Quartets. There were two quartets in the Young Chamber Musicians programme.

There were familiar pieces in the programme as well as surprising rarities. In addition to traditional composers such as Schubert, Schumann and Brahms, there were also works by Astor Piazzolla and George Gershwin. During the course of the Festival, was revealed how author Boris Pasternak composed, how a theremin sounds, what kind of music Benny Goodman commissioned, and how the sewing machine was promoted music.

Festival days started at 11:00 with church concerts. The afternoon concerts were at 14:00 at the Kuhmo Arts Centre and at 16:00 at the Kontio School. The evening concerts began at 18:30 in the Kuhmo Arts Centre and the last concert of the day started at 21:15. After the concerts, the popular Live Poets’ Club meeted three times. Kuhmo music students performed in concerts from July 19-25 and admission to these was free.

The Kuhmo Chamber Music opened on Sunday the 13th of July, with a concert of opus number one works. From Monday onwards, there were five concerts daily. The Trout Quintet, traditionally performed every year, was not forgotten. In addition to the daily dose of classics, there were rarities to be experienced every day. On Monday the 14th, string quartet versions of Piano Sonata Op. 2/1-3 was performing; on Tuesday the 15th a virtual music salon from the Princess de Polignac’s palace was re-enacted; on Wednesday festival goers were able to experience the first string quartet ever; on Thursday Lords and Knights were to be met and there was a Finnish premiere of Brahms’ Canon. On Friday the 18th a three-hour-long (r)evolution in music concert was performed, the components of which changed the history of music. On Saturday evening an instrumental opera concert was performed opera without words.

The second week of the Festival commenced with a musical visit to Versailles. On Monday, audiences had a close encounter with the fates of several queens. On Tuesday, in two concerts, Sofia Gubaidulina presented works that have inspired her own works. On Wednesday, the Finnish premiere of Gubaidulina’s On the Edge of the Abyss for Solo Cello, Six Cellos and Two Waterphones was performed. On Thursday the 23rd Don Juan’s musical portrait was presented. Friday was seen the summer’s quartet theme reach its peak with the world premiere of Pehr Henrik Nordgren’s String Quartet No. 11, as well finale variations of Haydn’s string quartet 103 by Finnish composers Ralf Gothoni, Juha A. Koskinen, Jaakko Kuusisto, Olli Mustonen, Jukka Tiensuu and Adam Világi. Mozart’s rarely performed Nocturne for four string quartets and eight french horns was performed during the same concert.

On the closing day of the Festival, visitors were able to visit the enchanted world of Queen Titania on the wings of music, and was able to become acquainted with Don Quijote. The final performance was Manuel de Falla’s chamber opera, El retablo de Maese Pedro (Master Peter’s Puppet Show).

The Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival has been held annually since 1970 and has been the most visited chamber music festival in Finland for a long time. It was the fifth largest Finnish festival in ticket sales last year. In 2007, 32,436 tickets were sold. The budget for the 2008 festival was €890,000.

The concert venues were the acoustically excellent Kuhmo Arts Centre, built in 1993, the traditional Kontio School and the Kuhmo Church. Concerts were also performed at the Petola Visitor Centre, Lentiira Church and in Salakamari.

Concurrent with the Festival, the traditional Kuhmo music courses and Young Chamber Musicians programme was run by Artistic Director Junio Kimanen. There were lessons in piano, violin, woodwinds, and chamber music.


This summer the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival entered its 40th season! On the programme for this jubilee year were over 70 concerts given by some 150 top musicians from Finland and abroad, beginning with Pinchas Zukerman and Natalia Gutman. In the space of two weeks, the Festival travelled through Europe to Asia, hearing fairytales and stories along the way and stopping to listen to familiar classics, some rare gems and surprises. The Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival ran from July 12 to 25, 2009.

Among the 150 Festival artists were violinists Pinchas Zukerman, Massimo Quarta, Chlöe Hanslip, Vasile Pantir and Pekka Kuusisto, soprano Salome Haller, mezzo-soprano Monica Groop, cellists Natalia Gutman and Andreas Brantelid, pianists Olli Mustonen, Ralf Gothóni and Peter Frankl, clarinettists Michel Lethiec and Kari Kriikku and bassoonist Sergio Azzolini.

Also making an appearance was, of course, cellist Seppo Kimanen – founder of the Festival back in 1970 – and the Virtuosi di Kuhmo, a chamber orchestra that has grown up with the Festival. A number of ensembles was also coming to Kuhmo, such as the Brentano Quartet, the Danel Quartet, the Storioni Piano Trio and the Festival’s own Quartet in Residence, Meta4.

The Festival began with the Creation on Sunday July 12 and ends on July 25 with the songs of a wayfarer. All in all around 300 works was performed during the two weeks, at the rate of five concerts a day.

The main theme of this year’s Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival was fairytales and stories. For two weeks the Festival was also tracing the tracks of the Orient Express. Departing from London, it slowly travelled eastwards and finally ended up in New York. Other major themes for this year were the Beethoven and Shostakovich string quartets and the songs of Gustav Mahler – these latter serving as a musical bridge between the two composers.

New works have always been a major element of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. This year they included a number of prize-winners in the international Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival Composition Competition. This competition drew entries from 198 composers in 38 countries, some as far away as New Caledonia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Singapore and Uruguay. There was also premieres of works by Olli Mustonen and Perttu Haapanen.

The programme further included works seldom heard and familiar classics, poetry, talks, a dancer and a barrel organ, tangos performed on a bandoneon and, as always at Kuhmo, some surprises.

Each day is like a 12-hour concert, because the works and concerts for that day are all inter-related, says the Festival’s Artistic Director Vladimir Mendelssohn. Young chamber musicians playing old music and old chamber musicians playing new music, was how he described the overall programme concept.

The variety on offer during this anniversary year was evident from the very first concert. Sunday evening began with Milhaud’s Creation, experienced love and death before proceeding to the Quartet for the End of Time and finally receiving John Cage’s Postcard from Heaven.

The programme span was just as wide on all the other days. Monday of the first week took in works on Shakespearean themes and fairytales, and an Olli Mustonen premiere, Kolme puuta, kolme poikaa. Tuesday was a French-music-and-tango day. Wednesday’s destination was Venice, for a meeting with some commedia dell’arte characters, Thursday was dedicated to Czech music, and Friday ended with a concert under the umbrella theme of tears. The subject for Saturday was Vienna, city of both Webern and Strauss.

The second Sunday leaded back to Vienna. Monday travelled along the Danube to Hungary and Romania, Tuesday introduced some fairytale characters and Wednesday a selection of chamber classics. Thursday’s special was Bach’s Chaconne with accompaniments by both Schumann and Mendelssohn. Friday was a day of lightness and darkness, and the day when the prizes in the Festival’s Composition Competition was awarded and two of the winning works were performed. Other prize-winning music was heard on Saturday July 25. The two-week feast of chamber music ended with the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen by Gustav Mahler.

The Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival held since 1970 has long been Finland’s biggest chamber music festival in terms of audience figures. Ticket-wise, it was Finland’s fifth biggest festival in 2008, with 31,698 tickets sold and 36,235 concert attendances. The budget for this year’s Festival was one million euros.

The concerts was held in the Kuhmo Arts Centre, a hall with excellent acoustics opened in 1993, the traditional Kontio School and Kuhmo Church. Some were also given at Lentiira Church, the Salakamari and the Petola Visitor Centre.

Once again the Kuhmo Music Courses under their Artistic Director Junio Kimanen was held in conjunction with the Festival. These courses likewise celebrated their 40th anniversary this year. Designed primarily for professional music students, they were taught by Festival artists providing tuition in the piano, violin and wind instruments. The course students were giving free concerts from July 18 onwards.

Poetry was another feature of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, at sessions of the Live Poets’ Club. On display in the Kuhmo Arts Centre was photos by Stefan Bremer and Caj Bremer, who have been capturing scenes and people from the Festival for many years.