Pekka Kuusisto VIOLIN

A violinist whose rare gift is to become rather than perform the music he plays.” – The Guardian, February 2012

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Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto is internationally renowned both as soloist and director and is recognised for his fresh approach to the repertoire. A strong advocate of new music, Pekka regularly collaborates with contemporary composers and in the 2012/13 season, he gave the world premiere of Sebastian Fagerlund’s Violin Concerto, written for him and commissioned by the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. Other recent highlights have included concerts with the Finnish Radio Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Swedish Chamber, Toronto Symphony and Washington’s National Symphony orchestras, as well as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Konzerthausorchester Berlin.

In 2013/14, Pekka joins frequent collaborators Britten Sinfonia in performances of four Britten works as part of the composer’s centenary celebrations, with choreography by the Richard Alston Dance Company. He also returns to the Cincinnati Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony and Philharmonia orchestras.

Pekka continually seeks to engage with people across the artistic spectrum, working on new interpretations of existing repertoire alongside original works. He regularly directs ensembles from the violin, including the Australian, London, Irish, Mahler and The Saint Paul chamber orchestras, as well as the Amsterdam Sinfonietta. Recent recital partners include Iiro Rantala, Anne Sofie von Otter, Angela Hewitt, Kimmo Pohjonen and Nicolas Altstaedt. He gave the world premiere of Olli Mustonen's Sonata for Violin and Piano with the composer at the Wigmore Hall in spring 2013, and later this year he tours Europe with his traditional music group, The Luomu Players.

'Our Festival', of which Pekka is Artistic Director, provides another opportunity for him to bring a number of artforms together in a single performance. Based in Sibelius’ home town, Järvenpää, it was selected as Festival of the Year by Finland Festivals in 2011. In 2013, Pekka gave the world premiere of an electronic work inspired by Magnus Lindberg’s Violin Conceto, which he co-wrote with Tuomas Norvio. He has also given duo concerts with juggler Jay Gilligan and performed Sibelius’ Violin Concerto alongside songs and poems from Karelia (sung by Ilona Korhonen) to draw comparisons between them. Pekka has established ‘Our Orchestra’, enabling musicians from his festival to continue to play together throughout the year.

Pekka has enjoyed a number of prestigious residencies, including at the Aldeburgh Festival, the Concertgebouw’s Robeco Zomerconcerten, and as a ‘Junge Wilde’ artist at the Konzerthaus Dortmund. He oversaw the programming for the 2011 Avanti! Summer Sounds Festival and he continues to work regularly with Tapiola Sinfonietta, where he was formerly Artistic Partner (2006-2013). Pekka is a member of quartet-lab, a recently formed string quartet, alongside Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Lilli Maijala and Pieter Wispelwey, with performances this season including Konzerthaus Berlin, London’s Wigmore Hall and at the Beethovenfest Bonn.

His most recent CD features Magnus Lindberg’s Violin Concerto with the Tapiola Sinfonietta (for the Ondine label). He has also recorded the complete works for violin and piano by Einojuhani Rautavaara with Paavali Jumppanen (for Ondine), works by Paganini with guitarist Ismo Eskelinen (for Ondine), 'Subterraneo' (for Liverace), which features Finnish tango works with Iiro Rantala, and 'Kiestinki' (for KHY Suomen Musiikki), an album written and performed with Finnish singer Paula Vesala and based on the experience of Finnish women on the front line during World War II.

Pekka Kuusisto plays a Giovanni Baptista Guadagnini violin of 1752 kindly loaned by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

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