Joensuu Winter Music Festival and Big Music for Small Cities project

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Joensuu Winter Music Festival meets its 40th anniversary together with Big Music for Small Cities project.

In 2021 Joensuu Winter Music Festival is being held for the 40th time! The anniversary festival is held in three parts. The first concert set will be held on February 25-28th, the second one will be organized on June 12th when the festival continues for two more events and one concert on August 18th. The event is organized by the Joensuu City Orchestra together with local music actors. The artistic director is the conductor Eero Lehtimäki.

The planning of the Joensuu Winter Music Festival 2021 has been very variable process. The changes and limitations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have made the implementation of the program challenging. A big challenge for concert organizers is that only 20 people can be admitted to the concert hall. Another challenge is that it is impossible for foreign performers to travel to Finland. Therefore, contrary to the tradition, the times and methods of the festival concerts have had to be rethought in a new way. However, the new approach offers additional opportunities for fresh festival formats.  Streamed concerts create an opportunity for a new kind of visibility and even a wider audience base.

“Plans have changed many times and the fear of being able to run the festival at all has been strongly present, but the challenges have been made to be overcome. We want to offer people stimulating and hopefully also empowering music experiences that can be listened to and watched safely from home,” says Eveliina Pietarinen, producer of the Joensuu Winter Music Festival.

The jubilee year program is comprehensive and varied. The Big Music for Small Cities project is involved in four streamed concerts:

26.2. at 12 a.m. available until 28.2. the Joensuu City Orchestra, conducted by Eero Lehtimäki

PREMIERE: Cecilia Damström: Nixus Op. 75

26.2. at 6 p.m. Joensuu Big Band & Aili Ikonen

27.2. at 2 p.m. Frigg

28.2. at 4 p.m. available until 7.3. the Symphony Orchestra of Karelian State Philharmonic conducted by Alexey Nyaga

Please note, that the time for concerts above is Finnish (Helsinki time)!


PREMIERE: Karelia Suite (2020): Ilya Kuznetsov, Myths and Legends of the Karelian Land; Pavel Karmanov, White Night on a Forest Lake, Alexey Kurbatov, Aurora Borealis.

Thanks to the Big Music for Small Cities project two world premieres Nixus Op. 75 and Karelia Suite will be performed online at Joensuu Winter Music Festival.  New music pieces for symphony orchestras were commissioned under the project supported by the Karelia CBC program and funded by the European Union, Finland and Russia.

All concerts supported by the project are free to watch online. More detailed program information and links to concerts can be found at: The website contains the entire program of Joensuu Music Winter as well as more detailed information on streamed and free concerts and concerts with the tickets.

Joensuu Music Winter breaks boundaries by expanding the program for the coming summer and autumn. In June, for example, children and young people with their families will be able to enjoy a varied market event, which will be carried out with the support of the project.

Enabled by the Big Music for Small Cities project, Joensuu Winter Music Festival gets a new look in its anniversary year. The aim is to create an even stronger awareness and visibility for the festival. The look is set to remain the same for years to come, of course modified by theme. The new look can be found on the festival’s website and social media, as well as in the poster, commercials and program brochure. The project is also reflected in the visual look of the Carelia Concert Hall. A new illuminated desk and new lights have been acquired for the Joensuu City Orchestra.

Welcome to see and experience the rebranded and youthful 40-year-old Joensuu Winter Music Festival for yourself!