Our Events

Heikki Sarmanto’s 80th Birthday Celebration

St. Marks Church-In-The-Bowery

131 East 10th Street 

New York, NY 10003

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Join us to celebrate Heikki Sarmanto's 80th birthday in the company of this remarkable composer and performer and many of his musician and lay friends! Food and drink included, of course. 

Composer and pianist Heikki Sarmanto is a leading Finnish jazz scene figure who has been internationally praised for his symphonic, orchestral and jazz ensemble works.

During the early 1960s, Sarmanto studied at the Sibelius Academy in Finland. Shortly thereafter he won a prestigious award for the International Competition of Jazz Composition in Minneapolis, MN. Sarmanto entered the Berklee College of Music in Boston, in 1968 where he honed his piano and composition skills with coaching from Herb Pomeroy, Charlie Mariano and Margaret Chaloff. In 1970, Sarmanto was chosen “Jazz Musician of the Year” in Finland. Back in Boston, he joined fellow musicians Lance Gunderson (guitar), Craig Herndon (drums), George Mraz (bass) and fellow Finn Juhani Aaltonen (saxophone) to record what would be released 38 years later as “Boston Date” (Porter Records). This quartet, with Pekka Sarmanto replacing George Marz, would be known as the “Serious Music Ensemble”. They would go on to record “Counterbalance” and “Like a Fragonard” (EMI/Odeon) in Finland. These two powerful recordings showcase both of Sarmanto’s amazing abilities as a piano player and composer. They incorporate elements of jazz, folk, improvisation and even rock to make a distinctive statement.

In 1971, he was awarded top honors at the Montreux Jazz Festival in both piano and combo categories. In the 80s, Mr. Sarmanto was chosen by Sonny Rollins to arrange and conduct his “Saxophone Concerto”, which premiered and was televised in Tokyo in 1986. Some of his key works include “New Hope Jazz Mass” dedicated to Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, which was received with unequivocal praise at the opening of Saint Peter's Church in New York, and also Suomi Symphony, which premiered to rave reviews at Carnegie Hall in 1988.

He was instrumental in founding the internationally lauded UMO Jazz Orchestra and was appointed its artistic director in 1999. Sarmanto headed the Jazz Studio at the Sibelius Academy which is highest institute of Finnish music and now home to the foremost jazz department in that nation.

Through the intervening years he has continued to compose, record, and tour internationally. In 2008 Sarmanto composed the jazz opera “Manon”, which premiered in Estonia with great success. It is currently in process of being produced for a Broadway debut.

Contributions will benefit the cultural and community work of St. Mark's Church and Finland Center Foundation. Thank you to our in-kind sponsors Long Drink and Finlandia Cheese.

Past Events

New Yorkin ystävät - Friends of New York

August 7, 2019 @ 17- 19

8th floor of Stockmann in Cafe

Aleksanterinkatu 52, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

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Casual gathering for happy hour MOVED from Restaurant Hernesaarenranta in Helsinki to the indoor cafe at Stockmann’s due to predicted rain.

If you lived in New York, or just visited many times, and want to meet old and new friends, or are planning a move there, come join us!

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The collegiate Pedavoces Choir performed two concerts in New York: in Hudson River Park on July 27 and the following day at the St. John Nepomucene Church on the Upper East Side. This student Choir from Åbo Akademi University in Vaasa was founded in 1974 by Per-Håkan Jansson and it has 40 singers which come from Vaasa’s university and it’s many polytechnic schools. This year the choir is celebrating their 45th anniversary by participating at the Missoula International Choir Festival in Montana. Maria Timoshenko has been the conductor of Pedavoces since 2009. The Pedavoces performed a range of music from classical to folk to modern as well as pieces in Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian. Look for a blog post and videos coming soon of the performances.

Finland Center Midsummer 5K Run

June 16 @ 9 am

Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Past Events

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Our 8th Annual Midsummer 5K was held again in Prospect Park on the 16th of June! Part of the proceeds went to support The Kota Alliance’s work for gender equality and women’s empowerment. At the finish line, water and hearty rye sandwiches awaited the runners courtesy of Finlandia Cheese. This year, an 11- year old won the men’s prize!! Thank you to our participants , supporters and volunteers (above, Karoliina, Iida-Maija and Thomas).

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Picnic and Mölkky game held on May 18

on the lawn of Pier 45 (end of Christopher St. in Greenwich Village, New York City)


Improv Theater : “Two Angry Finns” at the Annual Meeting


On Monday, March 4, we had Finland Center's Annual Meeting.

We had the pleasure to have the improv duo called Two Angry Finns to perform for us.


Finns Studying in the USA

On Tuesday, January 22nd, Finland Center Foundation hosted a panel discussion for Finnish college students who are studying in New York. Read our blog post about the event here!


On November 27, the String Orchestra of New York City performed an all-Finnish program at St. Peter's Church in Chelsea.

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A workshop where participants were taught the old Finnish art of birch bark weaving took place in the Women's Lab at the Centre for Social Innovation on November 3rd, 2018. Read our blog post about the event here.


Check out this short video from our annual Midsummer 5K Run that took place in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, on June 17th 2018!


Upcoming Finnish Events Calendar

From fashion shows and musical performances to marathons and seasonal celebrations – check out our upcoming and on-going events and enjoy fun get-togethers in New York City and elsewhere! Is your Finnish or Swedish a little rusty? Join the Members’ Book Club or let’s get together for an informal discussion over drinks. You can keep track on what’s going on through the calendar below.


What We’ve Done Before

If you want to see what we have done in the past, you can read more about our past events from this archive.