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Tampere Chamber Music festival celebrates human wellbeing

Published on 10.1.2020
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Heini Kärkkäinen_TAMK
The fourth annual edition of Tampere Chamber Music festival vows to deliver its attendees a fully immersive experience in Finland’s most loved city. Think fascinating chamber music concerts, master classes, lectures and workshops, all carefully curated by Artistic Director and Pianist Heini Kärkkäinen.

The 2020’s programme conjures up strength in your personal voice discovering elements to nurture the strength. Some may call it the meaning of life, others belonging, but to Heini Kärkkäinen it is an honest connection with something greater than herself. “The moments I’m connected to something bigger than myself are the times when I feel the strongest. It’s nature and music to me. I need this pure connection to begin hearing my own voice. Life has many dimensions, and so does wellbeing. The theme of my festival this year echoes this philosophy.”

Music is moving energy

As an intriguing blend of classical music and human wellbeing, Tampere Chamber Music goes from strength to strength and gives the lie to those who think that a classical music festival is unapproachable and lacks versatility. More than anything else, the festival itself is a live testimonial of inclusion, diversity and authenticity. It is difficult not to pique interest in lectures on sleep and music as medicine, personal empowerment and empathy as well as music and communality. Heini feels it is very important to discuss the holistic way to breathe the music out, together with Violinist Reka Szilvay and Cellist Robert Cohen in a workshop themed “The importance of using gravity in playing.

She elegantly refers to it as “a matter of the heart: Not the hands that are playing the music, but the expression that comes through your hands. What we feel inside is important because that energy reaches the listeners. Music is moving energy. And it has to come from an open heart.”

Throughout her teenage years, Heini used music as a channel to express her feelings and the things she could not put in words. She has performed widely across Europe and the United States in festivals where she has gained international experience and recognition. But as a Principal Lecturer at Tampere University of Applied Sciences, she finds it imperative to engage a smaller, yet equally important audience in a more profound manner.

“Students are the future of music. I think we can prevent later problems in life so much easier if we can create a healthier music world for them. To build resilience, they need to stay concentrated for long periods. Only then, they can reach deeper frequencies in music which help their entire lives. It’s critical not to lose those frequencies which too often slip away through our fingertips.”

A festival designed to support students and their wellbeing

Her students have showed considerable interest in Tampere Chamber Music ever since its first edition in 2017. Their volunteering efforts have been rewarded with credits, new skills and opportunities to see renowned musicians and wellbeing experts sharing their knowledge on and off stage. They have left home feeling inspired, which is precisely what Heini had envisioned when she created the festival.

She reveals that “when I was of their age, I participated in Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival and that experience impacted on my whole musical career. That inspiration carries me still. It’s something I want to offer to students in Tampere, Helsinki and abroad with Tampere Chamber Music.”

To mark a new decade of chamber music in the city, Beethoven’s Archduke Trio will open the Tampere Chamber Music festival 2020 in Tampere Hall. People of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to the four-day programme delivered by luminous artists like Robert Cohen and Vladimir Mendelssohn performing alongside Finnish wellbeing experts Katri Saarikivi, Jarmo Ahonen and many more.

Unlike many other festivals, Tampere Chamber Music 2020 does not sell miracles or transcendental experiences. But it can be life-changing to those who in their search for connection, intuition and personal voice are willing to surrender to music and its higher expressions.

Find the full programme here:

Text: Andruta Ilie
Photo: Jaakko Saarilampi