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Buffalo to host cultural event celebrating Finland

Chris Caya/WBFO News

A local architecture gem has helped attract another national event. FinnFest USA, an annual conference celebrating Finnish and Finnish-American culture and heritage, is coming to Buffalo in October. The conference coincides with the 75th Anniversary of Kleinhans Music Hall, which Buffalo Philharmonic Music Director Joann Falletta points out is the work of two great Finnish architects Eliel and Eero Saarinen.

"The sound of the Buffalo philharmonic has its origins in this hall," said Falletta, at an announcement Thursday morning. "The wonderful, profound sense of depth of sound that we have in this orchestra is due to the fact that we play here. We've learned how to make music in an extraordinary space."

The BPO will also mark the 150th Anniversary of Finnish composer Jean Sebelius with special concerts and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery will feature works by renowned Finnish artists and a talk on Finnish culture by Janne Siren, director of the Albright Knox.

Event co-chair Cindy Abbott-Letro says exhibits by Finnish artists at the Albright-Knox and Burchfield Penney will run much longer.

"It will be something where there will be a legacy for the community that families can take their kids to," said Abbott-Letro. "There's a lot to be learned. [Finland] is a very progressive country."

The four-day conference is expected to attract about 2,000 visitors over the Columbus Day weekend.