The Kuopio Symphony Orchestra’s audience education reaches especially children in daycare, nursery schools and schools, teens, high school and other students as well as young adults. Every season the orchestra invites these audience groups to special concerts and events designed for them. Artistic experiences and live music are also introduced to the elderly, groups with special needs such as the disabled and other adult groups, for example, in matinee concerts at the Kuopio Music Centre and free indoor / outdoor concerts around the city of Kuopio during the Kuopio City Festival in autumn.
Back in 2010, the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra invited for the first time an entire age group as its godchildren comprising children born in Kuopio in 2009, the orchestra’s 100th anniversary year. The second Godchild Project began in 2018, this time inviting children born in Kuopio in 2017, Finland’s 100th anniversary.
Since 2007 the orchestra has been an active part of the Kuopio city Cultural education plan (Culture Path) for early and basic education; every year junior high school 7th graders are invited to the Kuopio Music Centre to a Kuopio Symphony Orchestra’s special concert as part of the so called Music Path.
The Finnish Cultural Foundation chose the orchestra to be a member of a national Art Testers Campaign starting in 2017 – during the first three campaign years between 2017-2020 the KSO reached approximately 3.000 eight-graders from the Northern Savo region. The orchestra was chosen also for the new campaign continuing in 2020-2021. The aim of the campaign is to provide young people with an opportunity to experience art, also art to which many would not otherwise have access such as classical music concerts. After the artistic experience the teenagers can evaluate it on their smartphones or tablets answering questions, for example, about the emotions that the art experience aroused.
The aim of the KSO audience education is to reach people not only in Kuopio but also in the larger Northern Savo region; guest concerts for audiences of different ages in the whole Kuopio region and the municipalities of Northern Savo make live art music more accessible to a larger number of people.
The Kuopio Symphony Orchestra participates in 2020-2021 in a project Accessible Orchestras where Finnish and British orchestras team up to develop accessible services and activities for the elderly. The two-year project coordinated by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in collaboration with the Association of Finnish Symphony Orchestras will support equal accessibility to culture and the arts by seeking ways of bringing orchestra activities closer to those among the aging population who are unable to attend concerts in person. The aim of the project is to promote a sense of community and the active inclusion of elderly people through art. In addition to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the KSO, other Finnish orchestras participating in the Accessible Orchestras project include Lapland Chamber Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta and Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. Participating orchestras from the UK include the City of London Symphony, Manchester Camerata and three others. The producers of these orchestras will convene in Helsinki during the 2020–21 season to pilot new ideas and share ideas with each other for working with the elderly.