Nordic Historical Keyboard Festival


This summer, the Nordic Historical Keyboard Festival (NHKF) returns to Kuopio, Finland. The third installment of this music event will take place from August 13 to August 22 and gather an international array of early keyboard specialists, who will offer concerts, lecture-recitals and specialized courses. The clavichord, harpsichord, fortepiano, organ, and virginal will be the leading instruments on stage. Concerts will take place in venues throughout the city, including the Music Center, the Cathedral, the beautiful Town Hall, and several churches and chapels.

NHKF is co directed by clavichordist Anna Maria McElwain (Finland) and multi-keyboardist Michael Tsalka (Israel/Netherlands). Both artists will perform in several of the twenty-one concerts projected for 2014. Michael Tsalka, together with virtuoso mandolinist Alon Sariel (Germany/Israel), will be heard in the opening recital on August 13. Anna Maria McElwain will perform clavichord recitals, with varied repertoire.

The event will feature a wide range of keyboard music, from medieval music to four new works for early keyboards especially composed for NHKF. Composer Herbert Lindholm from Kuopio has drawn inspiration from Greek mythology in his work Hefaistos' Dream, which will be premiered by Pekka Vapaavuori (clavichord) and Silja Kallio (kantele). The other world premieres were composed by James Hewitt (Great Britain), Max Yount (Taiwan/U.S.A), and Péter Tornyai (Hungary).

This year marks the 300th anniversary of composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. His intricate and vibrant musical style will be celebrated in recitals interpreted by Aapo Häkkinen (Finland),   (Hungary), Shuann Chai ((U.S.A./Netherlands) and Norberto Broggini (Argentina). The modern piano will also be heard in a charming recital of Romantic noctures played by Frederic Voorn (Netherlands). The period instruments of Baroque Ensemble Galantina (Finland) will fill the Chamber Music Hall of Kuopio Music Center with three harpsichord concerti from the eighteenth century. Swedish organist Göran Grahn and Finnish clavichordist Assi Karttunen will present two intriguing programs with seldom-heard Spanish and French Baroque composers. Danish organist Daniel Bruun will present a magnificent program at the Cathedral with German and English Romantic repertoire.

Besides historical keyboards, several period instruments will be heard throughout the festival, such as the rare five-string Baroque cello played by Clemens Goldberg (Germany), the Baroque violin in the masterful hands of Shunske Sato (Japan), and the Baroque flute played by Wendy Rolfe (U.S.A.), a virtuoso who specializes in female composers. Soprano Christina Knochenhauer will also delight audiences with the beauty of her timbre and bel canto technique.

In 2014, NHKF will also offer lectures and individual instruction on all types of historical keyboards. Students from five different countries will gather in Kuopio for the summer courses. Teachers will include Professor Joyce Lindorff, from Temple University (Philadelphia, U.S.A.) and the Dean of Kazan Conservatory (Russia), organist Rubin Abdulin. Also, the First International Clavichord Competition—the first in the 700-year-old history of the instrument—has been organized by NHKF. The competition has raised interest around the world and competitors from Europe, the U.S.A. and Japan have been selected to participate in the finals, which will take place on August 14.