Rich in tradition, the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival started on Sunday. The festival, which was founded in 1970, is now held for the 40th time. The celebration of chamber music will continue for two weeks and the last concerts will be heard on Saturday 25. July. Up to 150 international and Finnish top musicians will perform in more than 70 concerts.
Scenic Kuhmo, a small town on the eastern border of Kainuu, fills up with Finnish and international chamber music enthusiasts during the year's busiest period.
The festival's Artistic Director Vladimir Mendelssohn has given birth to a versatile jubilee programme, including both novelties and curiosities as well as chamber music classics. The carrying theme of the summer are fairytales and stories. The concert of Monday night brought to the stage the beloved Finnish actor Lasse Pöysti, who narrated a Karelian fairy tale, enhanced by music composed by pianist Olli Mustonen.
The concerts take place every day, from the morning until late evening. The musical journey around the world starts from London, continuing eastwards and ending up in New York. The string quartets of Beethoven and Shostakovich, as well as the music of Gustav Mahler are central to this year's festival. Music pieces from different parts of the world, which have been awarded at the Kuhmo International Composition Competition, blow fresh wind into the festival programme.
More than 20 000 tickets have already been sold, which is a thousand more than last year. Nearly a half of the festival's income originates from ticket sales. Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival is Finland's biggest chamber music festival. In 2008 it was the fifth biggest festival in Finland. Executive Director Tuulikki Karjalainen believes that this year's jubilee festival will be a success both financially and artistically.
Music courses are organised in connection with the festival by the Artistic Director Junio Kimanen. In addition to master classes in piano, violin and chamber music, instruction in wind instruments will be given.
Photographs by Caj and Stefan Bremer, exhibited in Kuhmo Arts Centre, depict forty years of chamber music in Kuhmo. An exhibition of festival posters by Pekka Lehtinen will also be on show. Other local events timed for the festival period will give the visitors a holistic Kuhmo experience.