Finnish Classical Music Past & Present


Concert Series featuring Finnish Solo and Chamber Music

Celebrating 100 Years Finland Independence in 2017

Finland celebrated 100 years of national independence in 2017.   The year also marked the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and the 150th birthday of Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, who together with Jean Sibelius may count as the two most important individuals in Finnish national life.    The Lutheran church in Finland has played the central role in Finnish religious life and practice.

This series presented four concerts in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which featured three guest artists all highly conversant in Finnish music and culture, performing 24 different Finnish composers.    The series is now complete, for the time being.     Future concerts may be planned and performed in 2019 and/ or 2020.    

This series is funded in part by a generous grant from the Finlandia Foundation.
Itfunctions under the Springboard for the Arts fiscal sponsorship program.  


 Programs Presented:


Sunday, October 29 
Gregory Barrett, Clarinet Soloist
Craig Randal Johnson, Pianist
Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church "Mindekirchen"
Minneapolis, Minnnesota


Mimmi Fulmer

Mimmi Fulmer











September 17, 2017

Northern Lights
Mimmi Fulmer, Soprano Soloist
Craig Randal Johnson, Pianist

Christ Church Lutheran
3244 34th Avenue South/ Minneapolis, Minnesota


Mimmi Fulmer performs repertoire ranging from early music to premieres of works written for her. She has appeared as soloist at the Aspen Music Festival, the Kennedy Center, CAMI Hall, the Meadowlark Festival, and the Walker Art Center. The granddaughter of immigrants from Finland and Sweden, she has presented programs of Nordic repertoire throughout the US, and is the editor of a three-volume anthology, “Midnight Sun”, including phonetics, translations, and text recordings. Her book about “Vision and Prayer” by Milton Babbitt will be published in 2016. She has recorded with the Centaur, Albany, Innova, and CRI labels. Her solo CD, "About Time" was called "a gratifying testimony to..composers in America" (Opera News online), and her CD of works with flute, “American Vistas”, was described as “superb” (American Record Guide). Ms. Fulmer is Professor of Voice and Opera at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mimmi Fulmer with Craig Randal Johnson as accompanist has recently performed at Finnfest 2012 (Tucson AZ) and Finnfest 2014 (Minneapolis). Here wide ranging repertoire encompasses lieder and songs from the Finnish national romantic composers Kuula, Melartin, Sibelius and others to the present day, including Kortekangas and Rolf Gotóni.

Previous Program:
Co-sponsored by Minnehaha Music

January 23, 2017

Piano Music from Finland
Craig Randal Johnson, Pianist
Normandale Lutheran Church
6100 Normandale Road/ Edina, Minnesota

This recital explored the connections amongst Finnish piano music, Finnish national independence, the civil war which immediately followed independence, as well as the relationship between Jean Sibelius and Carl Gustaf Mannerheim.    Einojuhani Rautavaara’s ‘Ikonit’/ Icons was featured, as Eeva Savolainen read the composer’s own texts descrbing each of the six icons depicted in music.   This was in honor the great composer who died in July 2016.  Music by Toivo Kuula, Joonas Kokkonen, Matti Tuhkala and Leevi Madetoja was also performed.  The program was well attended and very well received.     



May 21, 2017, at 3:00 PM

Reformation, Runes and Reverberations
James Koenig, Baritone Soloist
Craig Randal Johnson, Accompanist
Music from the time of the reformation in Scandinavia and Finland. as well as Finnish national romantic music

Christ Church Lutheran
Minneapolis, Minnesota