Ensemble Competition

The International Competition for Kantele Ensembles will be held in Kaustinen, Finland from 5th to 7th of May 2017 by Kantele Association. The competition is open for every kantele ensemble regardless of the nationality.

There are several categories in the competition arranged according to the size of the ensemble, the age and skill of the players, and the repertoire. The organizers and the jury reserve the right to change the categories based on the number of participants or for any other reason.

The Patroness of the Competition

The patroness of the competition is the spouse of the President of the Republic of Finland, mrs Jenni Haukio.


In connection to the competition, there is also KanteleKimara event for groups of children under the age of thirteen. In addition to being arranged to several classes according to their skill, the groups will receive written feedback from experts on the field, which will support their development. The groups will be estimated according to their instrumental skill, the unity of the group, the unity of their repertoire and how well they perform. The categorisation and the feedback is meant to activate the groups in order to develop their skills both at playing and at performing. The categorisation also aims to support the music instructors with their work, as well as help the children to grow as players and as a group. The kantele groups will be arranged into levels of Musicants (Musikantit), Virtuosos (Taiturit) and Masters (Mestarit). The judges will award groups with honorary and monetary rewards. Some groups chosen by the judges will perform at a gala concert at the end of the competition.

By an initial estimate there will be two categories at the children’s event .In addition, the children’s event corresponds with the competition of the older players by the groups being divided into small and large ensembles. Depending on the number of participants or for any other reasons the organiser and the judges may change the categories or combine them.

The style of the music performed is free and the repertoire may last 10 minutes. (Please, see also Sizes of Ensembles and General Rules.)


Participant may register for the competition through the electronic registration form on the Kantele Association’s homepage in by the 10th of January 2017. The competition repertoire for the youth category, open category and professional category is to be sent by the 28th of February 2017 via an electronic form on the same homepage. For the children’s KanteleKimara event the repertoire is due by the 31st of March 2017. Late entries will not be accepted.


For those who have joined Kantele Association by the end of January 2017 and payed their membership fee by 13th of April 2017 the competition is free of charge. You have to be either a full member, an additional family member ( available if someone else in the family is already a full member) or a contributing member (a person). For other participants the entrance fee is 40€ per person. You can join the Kantele Association online at



Age limit: The participants are studying in primary school during the school year 2016-2017 (ages 7 to 12) or are younger than that.

ages 10 and below (4th grade and below)

ages 11 to 12 (5th and 6th grades)

The duration of the performance: max.10 minutes

Youth Category

Age limit: The participants are studying in secondary school during the school year 2016-2017 (ages 13 to 15)

The duration of the performance: max.10 minutes

Open Category

Age limit: No age limit

Other requirements: The participants are not studying or have not graduated from a vocational music school with kantele (or an instrument belonging in kantele family) as their main instrument.

The duration of the performance: max.15 minutes

Professional Category

Other requirements: Professional refers to kantele players who are studying or have graduated from a vocational music school with kantele (or an instrument belonging in kantele family) as their main instrument.

The duration of the performance: max. 20 minutes

The allowed exceptions for the categories are defined later. If the birth year or the school grade is not announced in the registration form, the participant is presumed to be over the age of 15.


There are no separate genres in the KanteleKimara event. For the other categories the genres are:

  1. Folk music

– The repertoire may include different genres of folk music, own compositions and arrangements based on folk music, and improvisation.

  1. Art music

– The repertoire may include different styles of art music made for various ensembles, and/or arrangements.

  1. Other music

– The repertoire may include experimental music, own compositions or arrangements, improvisation, rhythm music, jazz, etc.


– Small ensembles: duos, trios, and quartets

– Large ensembles: quintets and larger ensembles

Duos should chose the category according to the more advanced member. In trios and quartets one member is allowed to belong to a higher category. In quintets and larger ensembles two exceptions to a higher category are allowed. In the amateur categories teachers may take part to the performances of the large ensembles they instruct. Their should have an assisting part.

If needed, the categories can be altered after all the registrations have arrived. The judges have the right to validate the final categories.


In all of the categories the groups will perform the repertoire that they have announced in advance. The duration of the performance should not exceed the time limit, and if it does the judges have the right to deduct points. One third of the group’s repertoire is allowed to depart from the overall genre of their performance. For example, a group performing art music may perform folk music or other music for one third of the overall duration of the repertoire. The judges will emphasise the importance of thorough knowledge and mastery of the music genre and the good flow of the performance. There are no obligatory pieces. The information form for the repertoire must include precise information about the names of the pieces, the composers, the arrangers, the lyricists and the durations.


There are no separate preliminaries and finals, which means that all the ensembles have only one performance in the competition. One person may be a part of several ensembles, for example, a child between the ages 7 to 12 may perform in a large ensemble in KanteleKimara, and also be a younger member of a duo taking part to the Youth Category. In duos, one member may play some other instrument than kantele or sing. In trios or larger ensembles one third of the members may play some other instruments or sing. A player may also sing as a part of their performance. The repertoire should highlight the kantele.

The participants should bring to the venue all the instruments, tables, music stands and other equipment they need. If the ensemble will bring PA equipment they should mention it in connection with their registration. Regular chairs without armrests and a few piano chairs will be provided by the organizer.


There are many panels of judges in the competition. Each performing ensemble will receive a brief written feedback. The judges will award groups with both honorary and monetary prizes according to their judgement. They will also assemble the programme for the final gala concert of the competition.


The participants will cover all their own expenses.


The board of Kantele Association or a committee authorised by the board reserves the right to make alterations or clarifications to the rules above.


The partners of the competition are the municipality of Kaustinen, Folk Arts Center, Kaustinen Folk Music Institute and Kaustinen Folk Music Festival