Crusell Music Festival from 22nd of July until 29th of July 2017!

Crusell Music Festival is an internationally acclaimed music festival dedicated to woodwind music and is combined with advanced master classes held by leading international artists. Since 1982 Crusell Music Festival has been held at the turn of July and August in the beautiful coastal town of Uusikaupunki, Finland. It has its own strong standing among summer events in Finland as a unique combination of musical performances with a strong purpose.


The Treaty of Uusikaupunki

History was made in 1721 when Russia and Sweden ended their hostilities and the so-called Great Wrath. After this the two empires fought again over Finland on three occasions. Arms were already raised again already in the year of Antonio Vivaldi’s death, 1741, which induced the Lesser Wrath. Young Bernhard Henrik Crusell was a music cadet in Suomenlinna in 1788 when the war of Gustav III began. The last time these dear neighbours fought was in the Finnish War of 1808-1809. One can still see the bullet holes from the 1808 Battle of Ruona in the logs of my grandmother’s childhood home in Kuortane.

When one reads history, one is usually reading about the history of war. Still, somehow people went about their everyday business, paying no attention to the power struggles between czars and kings. They went on with their lives, making art and music. It was people, and the cultures they brought with them, that influenced each other.

Sweden and Finland have now halted hostilities towards each other, hopefully forever. Finland is an independent nation which has a unique culture. It is a fascinating mixture of east and west, mysticism and rationality, melancholia and joy.

Perhaps it is in music that we hear this the most. This week we draw a contour line around Finnish music culture with it’s foundation of Swedish and Russian music.

In the festival concert we will be hearing the new winner of the International Georg Solti conductor competition, Valentin Uryupin, conducting the Tapiola Sinfonietta. The program isn’t exactly normal. This time we leave Sibelius out and instead we will be listening to Shostakovich’s arrangements of Finnish folksongs and his extremely intense chamber symphony.

We’ll be arranging our own “peace summit” with the first piece when clarinet soloist Uruypin and the renowned Swedish clarinetist Sunden play Ponchielli’s composition ”The Meeting”.

During this week there will be very many hints of east and west music culture. But at the core of the whole festival is the shamanistic Pekko Käppi. When you hear him in the opening concert on Saturday, 22.7 in Cruselli or in the same day’s opening ceremonies on the town square, the theme of the whole week is revealed in a totally different way!

From a wider point of view the most interesting part of the festival will still be the Crusell International Flute Competition. The world’s best flautists will gather in Uusikaupunki in July. This new generation of top players will be challenging each other to attain even better performances, and the esteemed jury will be deciding who gets the first prize. This year will certainly be an exciting and dramatic competition. Come and listen to the first rounds, pick your favorite, and see who wins!

Harri Mäki
Artistic Director of the Crusell Music Festival