We, the undersigned, appeal to the City of Kouvola decision-makers to safeguard the operation of the Kymi Sinfonietta and not to implement the plans for cutting the orchestra’s funding.  

The City of Kouvola is planning to make sizeable cuts in its annual funding of the Kymi Sinfonietta, or even to stop funding the orchestra altogether. All the options would mean that the Kymi Sinfonietta as it is at present would cease to exist.

The grant for the International Uuno Klami Composition Competition is also under threat.

The only orchestra in Finland maintained by two cities, the Kymi Sinfonietta is one of the most cost-effective orchestras, even by international standards. The costs are shared by two cities, Kouvola and Kotka, and the orchestra performs each week in both. The volume of work is almost double that of an orchestra maintained by a single city. The Kymi Sinfonietta personnel are nevertheless extremely committed to sustained work and have been providing musical wellbeing to the people of Kotka and Kouvola for over 21 years.  

The Kymi Sinfonietta budget has, right from the start, been tight. Last year, the City of Kouvola reduced its support for the orchestra by 10 per cent; the two cities’ grant has also been reduced in other years, so that it is now smaller than it was ten years ago. The Kymi Sinfonietta is thus already serving the two cities at extremely low cost.  

The immediate consequence of further cuts would mean a reduction in the size of the orchestra. This would in turn result in a reduction in the grant from the state, since the size of this grant depends on the orchestra’s wage costs. It would mean the demise of an ensemble of both regional and national significance born of years of sustained work and with a repertoire suited to its size. Another problem would be the joint ownership by the cities of Kouvola and Kotka, because the funding is according to a fixed agreed percentage.  

The Kymi Sinfonietta is a popular and respected cultural actor in Kotka and Kouvola. It has a large audience, and the numerous comments made in an audience survey carried out in spring 2020 proved just how highly people in the region value its concerts. It has succeeded in responding quickly to any challenges that arise; an example here is the daily posts made on social media and digital platforms; these received a wealth of positive feedback during the Covid-19 pandemic in spring 2020.  

The Kymi Sinfonietta is also known outside Finland as an innovative, energetic orchestra with a broad, highly-acclaimed repertoire, and as an orchestra keen to explore new fields. It attracts top soloists, conductors and composers both from Finland and abroad, such as its present Artistic Advisor, the conductor Olari Elts.  

The Kymi Sinfonietta is the orchestra for one of the world’s leading composition competitions, the International Uuno Klami Composition Competition. The finals concerts are broadcast by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) not only in Finland but also to other parts of Europe via the European Broadcasting Union. Any cuts in funding would endanger the Uuno Klami Competition, an international event also directed at children and young people.  

Both the Kymi Sinfonietta and the Uuno Klami Composition Competition are major image and attractiveness factors for Kotka and Kouvola and help to make the region better known internationally. The orchestra also brings a breath of the world beyond Finland’s borders to the people of the region through collaborations with international actors such as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the State Choir Latvija and the Tallinn Cahmber Orchestra.                               

The Kymi Sinfonietta also takes music out to persons with no access to a concert hall. Its outreach programme as a whole is the widest of all Finnish orchestras. Small groups made up members of the orchestra tour day nurseries, schools, old people’s homes, care homes, hospitals and offices, giving little concerts that annually reach thousands of listeners throughout Kouvola and Kotka. These concerts make a significant contribution to the musical education of the region’s children and young people and to the physical and mental health of the elderly.  

The Kymi Sinfonietta is the cultural dynamo of the Kymenlaakso region of SE Finland, linking the southern and northern parts of the region, providing new ideas and constantly engaging in joint productions with local actors. Its partners have been many, from music colleges to choirs, youth to social and mental health services, day nurseries and schools to care homes. All the music classes specialising in music in Kouvola and Kotka occupy a special role in the orchestra’s operations; these classes thus come into live contact with an orchestra and music making.  

The Kymi Sinfonietta operates over a wide field. Active and of a high standard, it is important to the visibility, attractiveness and mental wellbeing of Kouvola and Kotka. The presence of the orchestra and its musicians radiates out into society and the lives of its owner-city residents in many ways. The orchestra cannot sustain any further cuts. We therefore appeal to you to save Kymenlaakso’s “Little Giant”.




Photo: Tommi Mattila

Tuomo Tapola, on behalf of the listeners of Kymi Sinfonietta    Contact the author of the petition

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