The 48th Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival ended on Saturday 22 July with a performance of Handel’s Messiah. More than 32,000 seats were taken during the two weeks of the Festival, and 10 concerts sold out entirely. The second week was especially busy.

The theme for Kuhmo this year was ‘ZAP’ – a kind of channel surfing to discover unusual juxtapositions. But the resultant musical eras and styles were really a continuation of a pattern that was familiar from the previous programmes put together by Artistic Director Vladimir Mendelssohn.

The most popular concerts included a performance of tangos by Astor Piazzolla and a rendition of the Fauré Requiem. When it comes to surprises, the highlight this year must have been Handel’s Messiah, featuring a jazz trio and the American rap artist Baba Israel.

According to the Festival’s Executive Director, Sari Rusasen, this summer was one of the most successful, even if the fact that there were fewer concerts this year means that they did not reach the figure for visitor numbers last summer.

[b]Crossing boundaries next summer[/b]

Next year the Festival will run from 15 to 28 July. As before, the focus will be on the classics of the chamber repertoire, but there will also be unexpected discoveries and new sounds, from the world of jazz to ‘pocket’ opera. The final programme will be announced in January.

“The main theme will be crossing boundaries,” says Vladimir Mendelssohn. “I also want to lend the concerts a sense of the extreme and contrast.”

On the agenda too is an abundance of traditional chamber music, such as Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, Mozart’s duos and all the Beethoven trios and sonatas for violin and piano.

In addition to the usual concert venues – the Kuhmo Arts Centre, the Old Kontio School and Kuhmo Church – use will be made of the new school in Tuupala, whose hall has been designed for concerts as well as other school activities. Tuupala will also provide much needed additional space for courses and student concerts.

“Kontio School will be an important venue for the Festival in the future,” says Vladimir Mendelssohn. He thinks it is important that, although it is no longer a school, the building can be preserved to function alongside the Kuhmo Arts Centre.

Further information from:
Kuhmo Chamber Music, tel. +358 8 652 0936