SEPPO KIMANEN has created a diverse musical career spanning six decades. He is best known as the founder and long-standing artistic director of the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. He has played cello with the Jean Sibelius Quartet (1980–2013), taught the cello and chamber music and written non-fiction, besides serving as director of the Finnish Institute in London and as Press and Cultural Counsellor at the Finnish Embassy in Tokyo. He has also hosted radio and TV shows.
Born in Helsinki in 1949, Kimanen studied the cello at the Sibelius Academy and went on to study with André Navarra at the Paris Conservatory and with William Pleeth in London. He began his career as Lecturer of Cello at the Turku Conservatory in 1971. In 1974, he joined the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Helsinki as 3rd Principal Cello and also took up teaching at the Sibelius Academy. He has appeared as a chamber musician or soloist on more than 2,000 occasions in Europe, Asia and the USA. In addition to the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, which he co-founded with his wife, violinist Yoshiko Arai, he has directed the Kauniainen Music Festival (2010–2016) and music events in Japan, the UK, Germany, the former Yugoslavia and Chile.
Kimanen published an autobiography titled Kimasen lento in 2013. His non-fiction work Kamarimusiikin kauneus [The beauty of chamber music], published in 2019, earned him a merit prize from the Lauri Jäntti Foundation. He was granted the honorary title of Professor by the President of the Republic in 1999, and he held an Artist Professor appointment from the Finnish Government from 2000 to 2005.