RUSK is a chamber music festival held annually in Pietarsaari/Jakobstad, Finland at the end of November. At the heart of this festival embracing superb chamber music and various other genres of the arts is the Schauman Hall in the centre of town, but the events also spread out into the surrounding urban environment.
The festival was founded in 2013 by clarinettist Christoffer Sundqvist and composer Sebastian Fagerlund, who both served as the festival’s artistic directors from 2013 to 2019. In 2020 conductor Anna-Maria Helsing was appointed as new artistic director of RUSK.
In the space of one week, artists both Finnish and foreign give concerts of both chamber music classics and rarities along with contemporary works. Each year, the festival invites a guest of international renown as its focus composer. In 2013 this was Sebastian Fagerlund, in 2014 Daníel Bjarnason, in 2015 Jesper Nordin, in 2016 Jukka Tiensuu, in 2017 Cecilia Damström, Raoul Björkenheim, Ralf Nyqvist and Sauli Zinovjev, in 2018 Erkki-Sven Tüür, in 2019 Outi Tarkiainen and in 2020-2021 Juhani Nuorvala.
RUSK seeks to reflect the present day and age with its myriad variations and challenges. It is a melting pot in which creativity is unleashed in exotic contexts at the darkest, bleakest time of the northern year.