Nurmes Summer Concerts 4.-11.7.2021

Welcome in Nurmes! 

The theme for this year's festival is HOPE. That is what we need after this long, strange year: A million good reasons to have faith in tomorrow, in good will, in the power of strong experiences, intimacy and community. 

Art evokes emotions, it provokes movement. 

As music fills our senses, it forces us not only to be present but also to reach beyond the unlimited dimensions of our imagination. We can only wonder and remain hopeful as we admire the beauty and uniqueness of humanity's creations.  

Can there be hope without sometimes occurring feelings of hopelessness? Is hope just sweet self-deception? How to carry on and keep on having faith in the future? 

Enduring contradictions helps to increase resilience. Recognizing and appreciating the multifaceted, complex fabric of humanity helps us to reach out from our egocentric "bubble".

The program of Nurmes Summer Concerts 2021 hovers around and brings together these themes with the interpretations by our fantastic musicians and performers. Our concerts offer contrasts, the both sides of a coin. And hopefully also many different shades of grey!

Our festival opens with a unique performance “For a while we are not going anywhere”, a combination of solo violin pieces and texts, performed by enchanting Antti Tikkanen. The drama continues throughout the festival week with multidisciplinary concerts and traditional theatre. Actor Kimmo Hirvenmäki’s heart-breaking interpretation of Duncan McMillan’s monologue "Every Brilliant thing" also involves audience participation. The story is about a boy who invents reasons to live for his suicidal mother. By the way - this is a million dollar moment to see a theatre piece with a teenager!!   

The film music concert on Thursday, dramaticized by actor Timo Vuento, ticles our memories of beloved classics and unforgettable film tunes.  

Pianist Antti Hotti is here again to take us into the seventh heaven with his improvisations - first in the opening concert and also in the final concert, with new spices. On Wednesday, in the middle of the festival week, we travel with a steam train to Höljäkkä to celebrate the 100-year-old tango maestro Astor Piazzolla with Trio Tanguango! 

Churches are sonorous for the whole week! We experience romanticism in Valtimo as the great Markku Mäkinen makes music with the pneumatic organs with his equally amazing colleagues Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch, Minna Pensola, Antti Tikkanen, Lilli Maijala and Lauri Angervo. We hear multiple concerts in Nurmes Church, including a rare gem as Tuija Hakkila interprets Beethoven’s Sonata op. 109 with her Böhm-labelled fortepiano. Exquisite cellist Robert Cohen performs Brahms’ Sonata for cello and piano with the pianist Anna Laakso, bringing also traditional yet immortal repertoire to the audiences’ enjoyment. Much loved late night candleconcerts take place both in Nurmes Church and in Orthodox Church. In one of them flutist Mikael Helasvuo offers us his insights on J. S. Bach’s Sonata for flute - an event you don’t want to miss!  

Contemporary music plays an important part in our concert series. We hear music eg. from Minna Leinonen, Lotta Wennäkoski, Kaija Saariaho, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, Cecilia Damström, Ilari Laakso, Olli Mustonen and Juhani Nuorvala. As the cherry on the top of the cake, the kantele artist Eija Kankaanranta performs a fresh interpretation of Dispersion, a brand new composition of Christopher Fitkin. 

Various concerts are preceded by live presentations with musical multi champion Ville Komppa shedding light on the concert programs and perhaps also on the soul landscapes of the performers. On Saturday we hear more talk about music as journalist Hannu Taanila shares ravishly his views on Bach’s rhetorics while Markku Mäkinen makes musical sense of Hannu’s statements.   

In the big final bash with two intermissions we let the creative force do its firework!
The final concert features music stretching from the real world to artists' imagination, from the mating rituals of woodpeckers to modern day melodrama, from the ease of the string orchestra to the comfort of a solo cello, not to mention duo Tiksola goofing around. The evening ends with illuminating clarinet quintet by Mozart, interpreted by a string quartet and the fabulous clarinetist Harri Mäki.

Nurmes Summer Academy is filled with hope and promise as tens of music students sprint in the festival field glowing energy, wisdom of youth and the thirst for new knowledge and skills. The student concerts are a vital part of the Nurmes Summer Concert series. As a trusted partner of the young musicians is the chamber pianist Mikael Kemppainen, whose brilliance we also get to admire eg. in the film music concert.   

The concerts take place all around in Nurmes area. The concert venues include Nurmes Church, Orthodox Church, Valtimo Church, Pielisareena in Hyvärilä and the “Stone school” in Kirkkokatu. When the weather allows, we enjoy outdoor concerts. 

We warmly welcome you to join us! We continuously monitor the corona situation and take the health regulations into account in our procedures. Despite the safety distances - we offer closeness and warmth in spirit from the bottom of our hearts!   

Nurmes is calling for you - Come!

Surrounded by the spring light:
Anna Laakso, the artistic director of the 2021 festival

Ps. The artistic directors of Nurmes Summer Academy & Summer Concerts are pianists Tuija Hakkila and Anna Laakso, who take turns every other year in leading the festival.   

Read more about the concerts here:
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