Music is an essential part of North Karelian culture and its supply of events.
In the programme of the 60-year-old town orchestra you can find events and concerts to suit every taste. The Joensuu City Orchestra consists of 35 full-time musicians. The orchestra performs on its home stage in the Carelia Hall regularly and the repertoire consist of symphonic, baroque, church, chamber and
entertainment (not to forget rock) concerts, and particularly, concerts
for children and young people. It is also in charge of the arrangements of the Joensuu Music Winter programmes.
July 1-6 there is in Joensuu a new Joensuu Music Festival and every year at the end of the school season (30.5.2014) there is Coming of Summer event with about 6000 schoolchildren at the Festival Stage of Joensuu.
Several nationally and internationally successful artists and bands come from North Karelia, such as Nightwish, Stella, Ismo Alanko, Ilkka Alanko, Katri Helena, Anna Puu, Värttinä and Eläkeläiset (the Pensioners). Many musical events are arranged in Joensuu all the year round, such as the Music Winter, Rokumentti Rock Film Festival, Ilosaarirock, Ilovaarirock and Vekararokki (Kids’ Rock), Kihaus Folk in Rääkkylä and Lieksa Brass Week.
Joensuu Pop Musicians, a society of live music registered in 1971, promotes and supports playing pop music in North Karelia. The best-known event arranged by the society is Ilosaarirock, but the same society also organises Vekararokki Kids’ Rock Festival and Rokumentti Rock Film Festival. The hottest artists can be found in the cultural center of the Karelian House and Kerubi on the island of Ilosaari in Joensuu.
The Joensuu Conservatory was established in 1978 and it is the biggest of its kind in Finland. There you can do music studies specializing in folk music, pop jazz music and art music. Student concerts give a pleasant addition to the versatile supply of North Karelian music.
On the best-known symbols and sights in Joensuu is the open-air music stage completed in 1985. There you can see a most different choice of cultural events from rock and symphony concerts to dance art. Several nationally important major events are also arranged there. The tradition of Karelian song festivals has also been revived in cooperation with activists from North Karelia and the Republic of Karelia.
In North Karelia you can also find the Christmas Song Town of Europe. In Nurmes the repertoire of the Christmas Song Town includes Christmas concerts in the Nurmes House and churches for about one month.