- For two decades, Elina Aho-Kuusama and Juha Kuusama’s cottage in Korsaari was their getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As the couple started spending a larger part of their week at the cottage than at their home in Tampere, they decided to permanently move to Korsaari.
Currently, Elina Aho-Kuusama and Juha Kuusama’s home is packed. Their cottage in Korsaari in Pyhämaa, which previously served as their leisure home, has now been stuffed full of everyday items – kettles, jars, furniture and moving boxes that have yet to be unpacked.
Their move from their Tampere home to the cottage has been ongoing for a few years now, but after they sold their four-storey log house in Pyynikki, they had to move the rest of their things to the cottage – or rather their new home.
“I admit that leaving our Pyynikki home behind was bittersweet, but now it’s starting to feel like this is our home,” says Elina.
The couple was already familiar with Uusikaupunki as the town where they had their cottage, so the move did not feel like starting completely from scratch. The change of scenery started gradually in the spring of 2020, when the COVID-19 restrictions were enforced globally.
“It was the time when there were talks of a public curfew. We thought that if it ever came to that, we could still move around the cottage without needing to see other people, and the ocean scenery would be nicer to look at than the road out of our window,” says Juha Kuusama.
They packed their car and drove to their cottage. Both of them were able to work on their laptops with no problem, and working from the cottage did not feel different to working from elsewhere.
“For a long time, we had had a rule that we would not be allowed to bring our work to the cottage. The cottage was a sort of getaway from daily life,” says Elina.
Gradually, they started spending more and more of their time at the cottage. In the past, they had lived at home and only visited their cottage, but the pandemic turned the situation on its head. Finally, a year and a half ago, Juha decided to move his business to Uusikaupunki, as he worked from the cottage anyway.
They made the final decision to move last summer, when Elina was appointed the new Executive Director of Crusell Week. Elina and Juha have been official Uusikaupunki residents since February.
“The town is not at all as quiet as you may think based on the first impression. The Uusikaupunki milieu is very lovely. Here, we have even bigger companies and an active and innovative atmosphere. There seem to be a lot of active women in particular, and I love to see the work ethic here,” says Elina.
She has got more acquainted with the town also through her new job. She has been hard at work building the programme of the upcoming Crusell Week next summer, and the tickets just went on sale. Elina finds that the music week centred around wind instrument music is a unique gem, which she hopes to further develop with the Crusell Society in the future
“I would like to more strongly connect the event to local operators, people and events, and especially to the cultural history of the 19th century, which Crusell represents as well. This is a completely unique festival, and that uniqueness is a good spring board for the future.”
Elina knows what she is talking about. She has an extensive and diverse background in music that spans several decades and includes the positions of Assistant Curator of Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and the Executive Director of Helsinki Baroque Orchestra. She also regularly sings in concerts with the vocal group Lumous, which performs colourful music of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
“I find it important that when you create beautiful music and stunning performances, the lyrics are presented so that the audience can understand them as well,” she says.
In the upcoming summer, she will be able to both take in the offerings of Crusell Week and enjoy the atmosphere of the seaside town as its new resident. Currently, Elina and Juha are watching the spring come to bloom from their home beach in Korsaari. That is one of the best things about their new hometown.
“The lifestyle here is different from the larger cities. You can see the changes in nature by simply looking outside your window – when the swans return, when the deer have come through or when a fox has walked through the yard. At the moment, this is a good place for us to live,” says Juha.
Crusell Week is filled with dreams about tomorrow
Crusell Week, which is centred around wood instrument music, is organised in its familiar site in the last week of July (22–29 July 2023). The theme of the week – Dreams of tomorrow – deals with nature conservation and climate change from a hopeful perspective. The music festival explores the different ecosystems of the world through the eyes of wood instrument music.
“We have thought about what we could do for the cause. What happens in the world touches musicians, too. During the upcoming Crusell Week, music and the greater societal themes blend into one hopefully successful package,” says Elina Aho-Kuusama.
The partner of Crusell Week is WWF Finland, and a portion of the ticket sales is directed towards conservation of the Baltic Sea.
The programme and tickets for the upcoming Crusell Week are available at crusell.fi