Finland has more symphony orchestras per population (17: 5million) than any other nation. It also has more saunas per orchestra than anywhere else.
Neither of these facts has been, until now, politically contentious. Both contribute to the most admired education system on earth.
But cuts are kicking in and a sword is hanging over six ensembles.
Orchestras currently under threat are: Kuopio Orchestra, Lohja Orchestra, Kemi Orchestra. In addition, Lappeenranta Orchestra, Lapland Chamber Orchestra (chief conductor John Storgårds) and Helsinki Baroque Orchestra are under pressure.
The political pressure comes from the fast-rising, isolationist True Finns party. The TFs now have members in many municipal councils and in the national parliament. The Finnish consensus is under threat.
Here are some recent links (in Finnish):
* Kuopio Orchestra in severe problems; deputy mayor: “It’s not out of question to discuss shutting down the entire orchestra”)