Managing director Liisa Ketomäki and the Festival receive Aurora Medal

The Regional Council of Southwest Finland awards the Aurora Medal 2020 to managing director Liisa Ketomäki and the Turku Music Festival. The Medal is awarded annually in recognition of achievements contributing to the region by a person, an organisation or an official body in science, the arts or culture in general. 

The Turku Music Festival is Finland’s oldest consecutively running music festival, having been founded by the Musical Society in Turku in 1960. The purpose of establishing the festival was to enhance musical life in the city and to organise performances to a high artistic standard with a bold approach.

“Today, we may note that the Festival, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2019, has risen to those challenges thanks to painstaking long-term efforts. The Turku Music Festival has established itself as one of the most prominent classical music festivals in northern Europe – an event of high quality and diversity that appeals to a broad audience” the Regional Council of Southwest Finland explains.

During the tenure of Liisa Ketomäki, managing director of the Turku Music Festival Foundation since 2012, the event has become increasingly international.

“With her expertise and contacts, she has made a vital contribution to this progress, which has brought international performers of the highest calibre to Turku year after year. In 2019 alone, the programme included Ian Bostridge, Julian Rachlin, Thomas Hampson and Khatia Buniatishvili and also a concert performance of Handel’s opera Agrippina.”

“I am gratified and honoured by this award, which has a long and distinguished pedigree. We have worked hard to raise the international profile of the Turku Music Festival and of the city of Turku, and I have invested great energy and a confident vision in this work. When I first took up this position, I set my sights on bringing the world’s best artists to Turku to perform alongside Finland’s finest musicians and emerging young talent. This benefits not just Southwest Finland but also Finnish culture as a whole” says Liisa Ketomäki.

The Turku Music Festival offers everything from large-scale orchestra concerts to chamber music, jazz and concerts for children.

“It is a textbook example of a festival that is able and willing to change, expand and constantly revise its offering. Managing director Liisa Ketomäki and the Festival are to be commended for their originality and perseverance in creating programmes that add to the appeal of our region both nationally and internationally” the Council continues.

Liisa Ketomäki says that in addition to preparing for next year, a major new project is attracting international culture tourists to Turku: “This is a concrete two-year project that we are running jointly with Visit Turku and Business Finland, with support from the Ministry of Education and Culture. Festivals are important spearhead products for tourism, and as additional strong points Turku can offer culinary experiences, our wonderful archipelago, high-quality hotel services, expanding transport connections and the richness of a modern, forward-looking city with 800 years of history. Turku is an eminently European city, and we will continue our best efforts as soon as the coronavirus pandemic will allow.”

The Regional Council of Southwest Finland awards the Aurora Medal annually in recognition of achievements contributing to the region by a person, an organisation or an official body in science, the arts or culture in general. The Medal may also be awarded to a person born in Southwest Finland who has made an exceptional contribution to culture at the national level. The Medal is now awarded for the 96th time.