Iitti Music Festival near Kouvola

Music festivals and the church village

Kouvola's idyllic neighbor Iitti is full of music and merriment.

This chamber music event  Iitti Music Festival  centres on the 300 year-old wooden cruciform church in the village of Iitti, about 70 miles northeast of Helsinki. The high point of the festivities will be hauling a piano to the lookout point at Hiidenvuori hill for a watchnight concert. 

Revving up at Puimala

The Iitti Music Festival is a four-day festival that mainly focuses on chamber music. Pianist Laura Mikkola has long served as its Artistic Director. She is particularly well-known for interpreting the piano works of Einojuhani Rautavaara.

The festival begins with a concert at the Verla Groundwood and Board Museum. In the atmosphere of its mill, a lighter and more experimental programme than chamber music can usually be heard. 

The chamber music concerts are held mainly in Iitti’s wooden cruciform church.

The same ensembles that play in the church are also playing evening concerts at Iitti Golf at Puimala. It really is an old threshing barn (the meaning of the town’s Finnish name), dilapidated in a nice way. There the musicians will rev up and give magical yet relaxed demonstrations of their skills. The programme is not revealed in advance.

A rowing boat journey for Hella’s grand piano

The final summer night concert at Hiidenvuori hill has long traditions. The first time that a piano was carried to the top of Hiidenvuori on Hiidensaari island was July 1914.

The party tradition continued in the 1930s, when the mistress of Marlebäck Manor, Hella Wuolijoki, lent her grand piano, which was towed to the island on a rowing boat and carried up the hill by men.

Nowadays, there are between six and eight carriers. Once a tarpaulin was needed to protect the piano, but otherwise the weather has generally been favourable for the night-time performance.