Asian music secured a foothold in Kuhmo. Korean instruments were displayed in the Technical School and an instrument called kayagum was brought on the Kuhmo stage by Hwang Byung-Ki. Also baritone was a new acquaintance, brought to Kuhmo by Esterhazy Barytone Trio. The composers of the year were Pehr Henrik Nordgren and Joseph Haydn. For the first time, a whole chamber music orchestra performed at the Festival, i.e. the Suk Chamber Orchestra from Czechoslovakia. The ensemble of the year was selected among the students, an ensemble which later adopted the name Aboa Nova.

The Olympic Games and the hot weather slowed down the growth of the number of audience to some extent, but it still was more or less the same as previous year. The total budget amounted to 469.000 FIM and the financial support to 248.500 FIM.

After two years of absence, Seppo Kimanen came back to take charge of the Festival.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company recorded practically all concerts. Also a group from the American Broadcasting Company, a West German TV company and about ten foreign journalists visited the Festival.


The Festival period was prolonged to fifteen days offering, the students’ concerts included, more than 50 concerts. There were two music camps and 58 musicians were performing. Novelty of the year were the morning concerts at the church, where all quintets by Mozart were played. Also vocal music was heard for the first time in Kuhmo, performed by Taru Valjakka. Further, “Chamber Music Fever” and “Jazzy Chamber Music and Chamber Jazz” were also something new at the Festival.

The American composer Aaron Copland was the composer of the year. “… de Tartuffe, je crois” by Magnus Lindberg, born in 1958, had its first performance in an evening concert dedicated to modern music. Modern chamber music was also performed in the “Chamber Music Cavalcade”. The surprise guest of the year was Polish pianist Krystyan Zimerman. Old friends such as Gérard Caussé, Gidon Kremer, Eli Goren, William Pleeth and Dmitri Sitkovetsky had been in Kuhmo before.

By no standards could one suggest anymore that artists would come to Kuhmo partly to have vacation and appear after a couple of rehearsals. Today, Kuhmo is a stage for international top artists with constantly recording microphones and a growing amount of well-known international music critics.

There were 70 representatives of the media in Kuhmo in 1981, the first stereo recording was made and Pekka Lehtinen with his film group caught glimpses something of the Kuhmo spirit on his short film. The number of concert attendants was 17.500. The budget totalled 670.000 FIM including 310.000 FIM as public support. After the Festival, Seppo Kimanen drew a sigh of relief “once again, we created something of a miracle”.


The 13th Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival was a year of Soviet artistic invasion. The most prominent composer was Dmitri Shostakovitch. Fifteen works of his central chamber music production were performed during the two weeks of the Festival. As brilliant interpreters we heard Soviet musicians such as Oleg Kagan, Natalia Gutman, Eliso Virsaladze, Grigori Zhislin, Frida Bauer, Yuri Bashmet and Mihail Muntian.

The composer of the year was Erik Bergman. His string quartet, a commission work of the Festival, had its first performance in a concert dedicated to his music. It was interpreted by the Jean Sibelius Quartet.

The total number of concerts was 60 and of artists as high as 145 – partly due to two chamber orchestras, London Musicale and the Central Ostrobotnian Chamber Orchestra. A music camp was held with close to 100 students. The artistic level was higher than ever.

The total budget was 800.000 FIM, the number of audience exceeded 20.000, for the first time, and about a hundred representatives of TV and press visited the Festival. The opening concert was attended by President Mauno Koivisto as well as several cabinet members.


The French artists came, Gérard Caussé and Pascal Devoyon were old friends, new names were Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Jacques Rouvier and Philippe Muller. The British group of artists was larger than ever before: Eli Goren – for the eighth time already – the Chilingirian and Endellion Quartets, Lesley Schatzberger, Alan George and Shuna Wilson. Japan was represented by the group Pro Musica Nipponia with their traditional instruments and composer Minoru Miki. Minoru Miki and Finnish composer Einar Englund were the two composers of the year. Oleg Kagan and Natalia Gutman were as brilliant as ever, the same goes for the Georgian Quartet.

Heat and nearly tropical humidity prevailed in the summer 1983. The circumstances in concert halls were from time to time almost intolerable. Due to humidity, also the instruments were in danger to be damaged. However, as far as number of audience is concerned, a new record was made again – 23.000.

Beethoven was the theme of the year. Thirteen of his seventeen string quartets were performed at the Festival. Almost sensational was the Austrian Hagen Quartet. The average age of its members was less than twenty years. The young quartet was highly valued by the Kuhmo audience.

More vocal music was heard than in previous years. A new record was also made in the recital given by Jorma Hynninen with Tauno Äikää. The Kuhmo church was filled up with audience – 1.300 listeners in all. Vocal chamber music was also performed by the Bolshoi star Makvala Kasrashvili, Irma Urrila, Ritva Auvinen and Maynie Sirén.

The Festival budget totalled 957.000 FIM, of which 280.000 FIM came as state support, 130.000 FIM as financial aid from the Municipality of Kuhmo and 50.000 FIM from various foundations. The music camp had 120 students and a separate budget amounting to 215.000 FIM.


The 15th Jubilee of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival was celebrated in 1984 and it showed in many ways. The Festival Ball, Argentine tangos, music for percussions, Peking Opera, bitonal Mongolian solo singing, Viatnamese folk music, all that contributed to the variety of the programme.

Quartets by Schubert and Dvorak were played at the church in the morning concerts. Less familiar to the audience was no doubt the chamber music production of the Finnish composer Aarre Merikanto.

Two Finnish string quartets, commissioned by the Festival, had their first performances, i.e. the string quartet No. 5 by Aulis Sallinen, played by the American Kronos Quartet, and string quartet No. 3 by Jouni Kaipainen, played by Nachum Erlich, Sakari Oramo, Matti Hirvikangas and Raimo Sariola.

Not only the instruments, but the artists and the audience as well, were afflicted with thunder storms, heavy rains and sometimes almost tropical humidity. It was like a steam bath at the Kontio School concert hall. Still, a new record in the number of audience was made again – 28.000. The number of concerts was 61. The urgent need of a new concert hall became obvious. A hope is cherished by the Festival to have a new concert hall for an audience of, say, 850-950 persons in the new library near Pajakkakoski.

The 15th Jubilee also drew a huge number of artists: the New Chamber Orchestra of Stockholm, conducted by Paavo Berglund, the 28 members of the Peking Opera, the Nexus Group from Canada comprising of five members, Lindsay Quartet and cellist Steven Isserlis from England, Takacs Quartet from Hungary, Ciurlionis Quartet as well as Oleg Kagan, Natalia Gutman, Eliso Virsaladze and Vasili Lobanov from the Soviet Union. From France came pianist Pascal Devoyon, from Holland violist Vladimir Mendelssohn, from the United States pianist Edward Auer. Also new faces were seen and heard, among them Radu Chisu, an oboist who not only played his main instrument but also mastered singing, piano and conducting.

The Jubilee had a magnificent ending. The final performance at the Church was a concerto for four violins and a chamber orchestra. The well-known festival artists played in the orchestra and the solo parts were played by 10-12-year-old girls of the music camp, who were not even born when Seppo Kimanen had his grand idea about the festival and wrote about it to Kuhmo.

The total budget amounted to 1,4 million FIM of which 390.000 FIM came as state support and 140.000 from the Municipality of Kuhmo. The budget for the music camp for 146 students amounted to 126.000 FIM.

As many as 150 representatives of media – TV, radio and press – attended the Festival, some of them from as far as New York and Los Angeles.


The 16th summer in the history of Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival exceeded all expectations. Despite the renovation works in the church, the number of audience reached more or less the same level as the previous year – 28.000. However, the lack of a proper concert hall manifested itself clearly again and the Festival is anxiously looking forward to realization of the construction plans of a new hall.

Also the artistic level was high. The number of artists who performed at the Festival was 87. Old friends such as Oleg Kagan, Natalia Gutman and Vasili Lobanov had already a permanent place in the hearts of the audience. Also musicians such as Vladimir Mendelssohn, Philippe Muller, Krystyan Zimerman, Peter Csaba, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Vladimir Mikulka and Radu Chisu charmed the audience with their interpretations. As new acquaintances we heard this year Patrick Gallois and Christian Ivaldi from France, Robert Cohen and Jane Manning from England, Oleg Kryssa, Valeri Popov and Anatoli Vedernikov from the Soviet Union.

The favourite of the Sibelius Violin Competition, Chinese Hu Kun had successfully participated in the Queen Elizabeth Competition just before the Kuhmo Festival and could only perform once in Kuhmo. A violin wonder from Moscow, now residing in Yugoslavia, Pavel Vernikov, was instead heard in several concerts. The 18-year-old violist Tabea Zimmerman is also considered as a kind of child prodigy and she performed among others with young Finnish cellist Martti Rousi, who – once student of the music camp – now performed as an invited artist.

The two Festival weeks offered a great variety of performances. Sonatas by Scarlatti were heard in the morning concerts played by the Japanese born cembalist Eiji Hashimoto. The majority of the chamber music production of Arnold Schönberg was played in the afternoon concerts. In addition to compositions by Schönberg himself, the Cabaret Arnold Schönberg offered waltzes by Strauss as his arrangements. The waltzes were played by ensembles of probably highest educated musicians in the world.

A leading theme of the evenings concerts was piano quartet. Piano quartets were played by various ad hoc-ensembles. What is generally praised by the Kuhmo artists is the way of forming ensembles just for and in Kuhmo. Most of the musicians perform as soloists and playing in varying ensembles with artists from different countries offers rich new experiences. The result of this musical communication was enjoyed and rewarded by the enthusiastic Kuhmo audience.

This year, the most exotic visitors came from India. The opening night offered the audience Dhrupad music, performed by Dagar Brothers, whose family has maintained the tradition of this rarely heard vocal music already in 19 generations.

The Festival comprising of 60 concerts ended in the appearance of the world famous Tokyo Quartet, which was playing with genuine, decorated Stradivari instruments. The value of the instruments is immeasurable. Private support made their appearance in Finland possible. A long cherished dream of music lovers – to be able to listen to a concert performance by all Stradivari instruments – thus became true.

From economic viewpoint, the year was satisfactory. The budget totalled 1,7 million FIM.


A more hectic atmosphere than ever was experienced at the Kuhmo Festival in 1986. Most evenings the concert halls were filled up with audience and sweltering heat together with the practically non-existent ventilation tried both musicians and audience. The audience numbered over 30.000 and thus beat all earlier records.

The programme offered great diversity and high level performances. The world famous Moscow Virtuosi opened the Festival at the newly renovated Kuhmo Church.

The morning concerts at the Kuhmo Church consisted of works by Haydn. String quartets by Joseph Haydn were interpreted by the Komitas, Panocha, Hagen, Kokkola and Lindsay Quartets.

The theme of the afternoon concerts was Czech music and plenty of music not heard in Kuhmo earlier was performed. Such composers as Leos Janácek, Bohuslav Martinu, Bedrich Smetana, Antonin Dvorák, Anton Reicha and Joseph Suk were on the programme and were interpreted by both steady and ad hoc-ensembles.

Central works of chamber music repertoire were heard in the evening concerts. A commission work of the Festival, String Quartet No. 5 by Pehr Henrik Nordgren, was played by Kokkola Quartet as first performance. The late evening concerts offered Chopin performed by about ten pianists including Grigori Sokolov.

Also this year, Asian art was well represented at the Festival. Two exotic groups came as surprise guests to Kuhmo, Jiuta-mai group from Japan and a group called Zhejiang Ensemble from China.

The Festival culminated with the final concert, when a new chamber orchestra Virtuosi di Kuhmo performed for the first time. The orchestra was formed of talented young Finnish musicians, selected and rehearsed by Peter Csaba.

The two Festival weeks offered 63 concerts performed by 140 artists from 18 different countries.

Preparatory work for the 17th Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival was initiated for the first time by a permanent office in Kuhmo and by a permanent Executive Director. The organization with Tuulikki Karjalainen as Executive Director and Seppo Kimanen “only as Artistic Director”, as he put it, seemed to work well. The state support, however, was a disappointment. The Festival is operating on an incredibly low budget – 2,6 million FIM, particularly when one thinks of the abundance and variety of the programme.


Sweltering heat in the first week and heavy rains in the second characterize the external circumstances of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival 1987. The evening concerts mostly filled up the Kontio School hall. Early music at the church and French music at the Vocational Training Centre in the afternoon also gathered a satisfactorily large audience. The total number of audience was as high as 31.000.

The artistic level was perhaps higher than ever before. The two weeks of the Festival were started with a concert by the chamber orchestra Virtuosi di Kuhmo, conducted by Rätö Tschupp, and a family concert with an animal theme and with a well-known Finnish actor Lasse Pöysti as reciter. The composer name of the evening concerts was Robert Schumann and the Festival offered his entire production of instrumental chamber music. Two first performances were heard, a string quartet by Sofia Gubaidulina and a piano trio by Jouni Kaipainen, both commissioned by the Festival.

The festival weeks offered 58 concerts performed by 130 artists, half of them Finnish and the rest from 14 different countries. Besides Finland, the concerts were broadcast to at least five countries. French chamber music was played in Kuhmo by several French artists, such as Patrick Gallois, Christian Ivaldi and Michel Lethiec – all known from previous festivals – and new acquaintances, harpist Marielle Nordmann and violinist Pierre Henri Xuereb. Old friends at the Festival were also Radu Chisu, Hu Kun, Peter Csaba, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Pavel Vernikov and Konstantin Bogino. Also great many Soviet artists performed at the Festival, among others Dmitri Alexeev, Yuri Bashmet, Mihail Muntian, Valeri Popov and Alexandr Rudin. Besides Virtuosi di Kuhmo, we heard performances of other top-class Finnish musicians, such as trio Hakkila-Koskinen-Karttunen, the Kokkola and Jean Sibelius Quartets. Further Marjatta Airas, Anna-Maija Korsimaa, Esko Laine, Elina Mustonen and Olli Mustonen performed at the Festival. From the USA came the Aspen Quintet and pianist Grant Johannesen. Such outstanding quartets as Ciurlionis from Lithuania, Chilingirian from England and Erato Quartet from Switzerland also performed at the Festival.

The festival budget totalled 2,4 million FIM.

During 1987 plans were made to erect an Arts Centre on a site close to the Kontio School. The design was commissioned and the construction work would be carried out by a constructing company with the City of Kuhmo and the Kuhmo Chamber Music Appreciation Society as shareholders. The construction work can start as soon as the City of Kuhmo and the state authorities have decided on financing.


The 19th Chamber Music Festival in Kuhmo offered an extensive and abundant programme including 60 concerts performed by 200 artists. Music was interpreted by musicians, singers, dancers and reciters. The first Sunday introduced one of the two main themes, Italian music. It was given a youthful interpretation by the Festival Orchestra, Virtuosi di Kuhmo, conducted by Peter Csaba, two youth choirs from Kajaani and international soloists.

The other main theme of the Festival, Russian music, brought a large number of Soviet artists to Kuhmo. Along with interpretations of older music there were also four first performances, three of them commissioned by the Festival. The new chamber music works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Alfred Schnittke, Rodion Schedrin and Vasili Lobanov had their first performances in Kuhmo. Also six contemporary Soviet composers came to Kuhmo to meet Finnish colleagues.

One of the two by-themes was the performance of all string quartets by Mozart in the morning concerts. The quartets were played by the Bulgaria, Endellion, Gnesin and the New Helsinki Quartets as well as ad hoc-ensembles.

Another by-theme, which also had a great cultural value, was the performance of all compositions for violin and piano by Jean Sibelius. Yoshiko Arai and Eero Heinonen played all the 33 duos in four concerts. The performance was a great success and gained popularity both among the audience and other musicians.

When assembling the concerts the Artistic Director used a kind of mirror technique. Contemporary music was performed along with older compositions based on harmony and form. For instance, dance was added to Italian contemporary music as a visual element. A new aspect to the musical repertoire of the Festival was also brought by vocal music.

As in previous years, old acquaintances as well as interesting new names were found among the artists. Oleg Kagan, Natalia Gutman, Pavel Vernikov, Konstantin Bogino, Mi-Kyung Lee, Philippe Muller, Grigori Zhislin, Esko Laine and Anna-Maija Korsimaa have already performed several times in Kuhmo. New acquaintances were among others Maria Tipo, Heidrun Holtman, Leslie Howard, Ilja Grubert, Kolja Blacher, Annick Roussin, Adriano Camorro, Florian Kitt, Anatole Liebermann and two young Finnish musicians, Tommi Aalto and Maija Lehtonen.

In the final concert, both main themes of the Festival – Italian and Russian music – represented by Schnittke and Vivaldi, were interpreted by Moscow Soloists, a chamber orchestra conducted by Juri Bashmet.

The Festival budget amounted to 3,0 million FIM.


“The 20th Jubilee of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival was a success beyond all expectations”, said Artistic Director Seppo Kimanen after the last tunes had ceased in the final concert, the 24-hour Marathon. The audience numbered as high as 39.500 (41.000, when the audience of the Chamber Music Cavalcade in the spring is included) and filled the concert halls every night to the doors. So, the extensive programme seemed to have found well deserved response among the devoted Kuhmo audience. The Jubilee programme was based on three main pillars, which were the three main concerts on the three Sundays. The opening concert offered music by Haydn, the second big event was “Die Kunst der Fuge” by J.S. Bach as an arrangement made for 50 musicians and conducted by Radu Chisu. A 24-hour marathon concert covering 240 years of chamber music ended the Festival. Between these pillars, an extraordinarily vast variety of music was heard representing various periods and styles.

The composer of the year was Ludwig van Beethoven. All his string quartets and piano trios were played during the Festival. The string quartets were interpreted by Lindsay Quartet, well-known and favoured by the Kuhmo audience.

The actual main themes of the Festival were Finnish and Japanese music. The works of four Finnish and two Japanese composers had their first performances in Kuhmo. The Festival programme also offered abundantly other old and contemporary music.

The Japanese theme brought a great many Japanese artists to Kuhmo, among them conductor Akeo Watanabe, marimba player Keiko Abe and Okinawa Moon Beach Festival Quartet. Old imperial Gagaku music was performed by Kirik Ensemble, Shomyo singing by Tendai Shomy Ensemble and traditional Japanese dances by Jiuta-mai Group.

All in all, 170 artists from 16 different countries appeared in Kuhmo, among them both old friends as well as interesting new names.

At the time, we did not know that it was the last time we could enjoy oboe playing of Radu Chisu and his touching, warm humour. The 20th Jubilee was his last summer in Kuhmo. We all miss him.

Television also conspicuously participated in transmitting impressions and the atmosphere of the Jubilee. Detective Backman was a domestic adventurer accompanied by chamber music and the Belgian TV produced a documentary, which contributed to making Kuhmo known on TV 5-satellite channels. The representatives of the press and TV numbered 130.

According to the basic philosophy of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, time is music, not money. Nevertheless, also money is needed to make music. The state subsidy increased from the preceding year and the ticket sale was most satisfactory. Thus, the Festival – including music camp – was carried through within the pre-planned budget of 4,2 million FIM.

Also the project to erect an Arts Centre has advanced. Detailed project plans have been made, the constructing company is being founded and financial provisions made in the state budget. In 1989, the future prospects of the Kuhmo Chamber Music were almost as bright as the Kuhmo summer nights.