Next Crusell Music Festival 22-29 July 2023
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.
BERNHARD HENRIK CRUSELL
(1775 – 1838)
Composer & Clarinetist
Bernhard Henrik Crusell was born on the 15th of October 1775 in Uusikaupunki where he also spent the first eight years of his life in a small house on Myllykatu Street. His first contact with music was already at the age of four when he ran away from home to listen to his neighbour playing the flute. When he and his family moved to Nurmijärvi, Crusell met Henrik Westberg, the son of a clarinettist who taught him how to play the clarinet. In turn, Crusell taught him how to read and write.
Captain Armfelt, living in the neighbourhood, noticed the musical talent of Crusell and took him to Wiaborg in 1788 where he was employed as a musician in the Lifeguard. In 1791 Crusell moved with Major Wallenstjerna to Stockholm where he seriously started his music studies. In 1798 Crusell studied music in Berlin where he also gave some concerts. Next year, however, he returned to Stockholm and married Anna Klemming.
In 1801 Crusell gave concerts in Helsinki, Turku and St. Petersburg.
After that, though, he never returned to Finland again.
Later, Crusell also studied in Paris. At the turn of the century, Crusell was especially interested in his own instrument, the clarinet, and so he produced three clarinet concertos. Subsequently he concentrated more on vocal music.
In 1818 Crusell was nominated the musical director of the Royal Lifeguard in Stockholm. With his concert income as a base he founded a fund to help the widows and orphans of musicians. In the 1820’s Crusell met Karl Maria von Weber who encouraged him to compose an opera.
As a result, in 1824 he finished the opera “A Little Bond-Woman” or
“Ali Baba” which is the first Finnish opera.
Crusell’s health had gradually weakened and in 1833 he resigned from his vacancy as the musical director. Before his death, on the 28th of July 1838, he received the medal of honour from the Swedish Academy.
The clarinet concertos are regarded as Crusell’s major works. His production was characterised by large-scale instrumental music where his talent is most clearly visible. The first Crusell Music Festival was arranged in Uusikaupunki in 1982.