Kuhmo Chamber Music 2018
For two frenetic weeks in July, Kuhmo in Eastern Finland is host to a chamber music festival attracting thousands of music lovers. In that fortnight, this town of 9,000 inhabitants echoes to the sound of music against a backcloth of a lake that almost laps the walls of the concert halls in the clear, unbelievable northern light.
The concerts are held at the Kuhmo Arts Centre, in the Lentua Hall renowned for its excellent acoustics, at the festival's cult locale, Kontio School, and in Kuhmo's beautiful wooden church. The first concerts in the new Tuupala Primary School will be held in summer 2018. The concert venues are all within walking distance of one another, and bicycles are a popular means of getting about, for artists and audiences alike. Music is everywhere, there are concerts from morning to late at night, and people just live for the music. In the evenings, gathered round an open fire in the yard of the festival restaurant, musicians and festival-goers get together and strike up friendships.
In just over 47 years, Kuhmo Chamber Music has grown to become one of the world's foremost music festivals. As early as 1989, the prestigious American journal Connoisseur was already calling it "possibly the best anywhere". In summer 2014 the British Financial Times described it as "a remarkable event, where unfettered creative idealism reigns. The Austrian music magazine Festspiele has rated Kuhmo among the world's leading festivals in 2008−2015.
The 49th Kuhmo Chamber Music on July 14−28, 2018
In the last two weeks of July, Kuhmo will be a place of dreams, because the theme of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival this year is 'The Dream Merchants'. There will be even more in store this time, as the Festival will actually begin on Saturday 14 July, and for two whole weeks there will be almost a hundred different events. The final concerts will take place on Saturday 28 July.
As well as the more traditional major chamber works, such as the famous Trout Quintet, there will be surprises, novelties and exotic experiences. Among the big works on offer are Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto and Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, both being performed with Historically informed (HIP) line-ups. There will also be a chamber version of the popular opera Carmen. "Everything has been done with this opera except paring it down; in this version we get to the music's core," says Artistic Director Vladimir Mendelssohn about Peter Brook's legendary version.
The dream continues with more than one hundred top musicians from home and abroad, such as pianist Nino Gvetadze, winner of the Sibelius Violin Competition 2010 Nikita Boriso-Glebsky, cellist and conductor Klaus Mäkelä, clarinettists Lauri Sallinen and Christoffer Sundqvist, the bandoneon artist Marcelo Nisinman and the singer Romina Basso. Ensembles include the Meta4, Borea, Danel and Enesco string quartets and the Storioni Trio.
"Do not miss the festival", says Mendelssohn, "for it will never happen again in the same way under the same stars". "Music is a mystery which sings and dances in and beyond time, since the beginning and forever always.... "
Welcome to Kuhmo – the capital city of chamber music!