Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival - EFFE Laureate
Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival in Finland has been featuring small scale classical music for fifty years. It takes place in the last two weeks of July and prides itself on offering high quality chamber music in an area of beautiful landscape 600km north of Helsinki, close to the Russian border. Kuhmo is part of the region of Karelia, an integral part of Finnish stories but also f the music of Jan Sibelius, who drew on its folk traditions in many of his most famous works.
Even the nearest railway station is 100km away in Kajaani so
there is little point in turning up for just a single concert. Despite its
relative isolation and having a population of under 10000, Kuhmo boasts a fine
modern arts centre in lakeside surroundings. Events take place there and in the
town's wooden church, as well as its newly built school and surrounding
The festival plays host to an impressive array of musicians, using the small scale to its advantage by allowing performers and audiences to mix easily. In a way there is little choice as the town only has two hotels. Visitors and artists spread out into holiday cottages, camp sites and local homes.
The Artistic Director is the viola player and composer, Vladimir Mendelssohn, who has been playing in Kuhmo for nearly forty of its fifty years – although he is originally from Bucharest, connections which triangulate Europe between them.
Note from the EFFE International Jury
This festival in Finland has been featuring small scale classical music for fifty years. It offers high quality in a beautiful landscape: a very resilient festival that has kept its artistic integrity and draws attention to this distant area 600km north of Helsinki close to the Russian border. Even the nearest railway station is 100km away.
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