The Summer Concert Series: Since 1982
The first Riihimäki Summer Concert Series was organised in 1982. The first Artistic Director was Ilari Laakso, the Director of the Riihimäki Music Institute and the man responsible for getting the whole event underway. In those early years, it was natural that the festival was organised in close collaboration with the Riihimäki Music Institute. In 1989 the Summer Concert Series became independent of the Music Institute and was registered as the Riihimäki Summer Concert Series Foundation. Since 1995 its official name in Finnish has been Riihimäen Kesäkonsertit -yhdistys ry.
From its beginnings as a small-scale event, the concert series has grown gradually into a nationally and internationally renowned chamber music festival, affiliated with the Finland Festivals organisation.
The Summer Concert Foundation works in close cooperation with the Finnish Glass Museum, located in Riihimäki. The headline concerts take place in the unique surroundings of the museum’s acoustically brilliant performance hall, which has an audience capacity of around 300. The concert series gains a quality all its own from the combination of glass art and the very best in chamber music.
The Artistic Director of the Summer Concert Series beginning in 1996 was Juha Pesonen. In 2004 the role passed to the Tempera Quartet, an energetic collective of young women: Silva Koskela, Laura Vikman, Tiila Kangas and Ulla Lampela. After Tempesta conductor Esa Heikkilä lead the Summer Concerts as an Artistic Director from 2008 to 2014. In 2015 cellist Joel Laakso started as an Artistic Director and his season ended on summer 2017. The new Artistic Director of the festival is Ismo Eskelinen, who’s acclaimed to be one of the world’s finest classical guitarists.
Chairman of the Board of Riihimäen Kesäkonsertit ry is Martti Paloheimo, and the Executive Director is Miia Maria Lahti.
Over the past couple of decades, the Riihimäki Summer Concert Series has featured a great many famous artists and ensembles from Finland and around the world, including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Grigori Sokolov, Dmitri Bashkirov, Roland Pöntinen, Olli Mustonen, Gabriel Suovanen, Natalia Gutman, Tommi Hakala, Helena Juntunen, the Borodin Quartet, the Chilingirian Quartet, the Lithuanian National Chamber Orchestra, the Tapiola Sinfonietta, Virtuosi di Kuhmo, the Central Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Ralf Gothóni, Soile Isokoski, Sakari Oramo, Osmo Vänskä and many other well-known artists.