Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto is one of the most versatile and distinctive musicians working today. Ever demonstrating his extraordinary individuality and imagination, Pekka is unusually free and fluid in his approach and has been acclaimed for the spontaneity and freshness in his playing. He collaborates regularly with musicians from many other genres, including jazz, rock and folk; as well as championing multi-media art forms including video and circus.
Pekka is seen increasingly directing ensembles from the violin – in this capacity, he is a regular guest with the London, Scottish and Irish chamber orchestras and the Britten Sinfonia. Last season saw Pekka directing the Chamber Orchestra of Europe on tour, and this season he returns to the Australian Chamber Orchestra and makes his debut with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra.
Each summer, as Artistic Director, Pekka creates his own programme of events at Finland’s Lake Tuusula Chamber Music Festival. Here, he presents a diverse programme incorporating some of his great passions, including jazz, folk and electronic music.
As a concert soloist, Pekka continues to work with many of the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors, offering fascinating contemporary repertoire as well as providing fresh insights into the core works. The concertos of Peteris Vasks and Magnus Lindberg are particularly important this season; Pekka performs these with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and at the Casa da Musica Foundation in Porto respectively.
A regular recitalist, and chamber music collaborator, Pekka’s recent projects have included a Musica Viva tour of Australia, a chamber music concert with Steven Isserlis at the Wigmore Hall and a recital tour of Japan for the Musashino Foundation.
Pekka records regularly for the Finnish label Ondine and recently recorded two highly-acclaimed discs of works by Sibelius, of whom Pekka is a leading exponent. Future plans include a disc of works for violin and guitar by Paganini. Pekka also features in 4, a DVD documentary about Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, in which he presents Winter, set in the snowscapes of Lapland.
Pekka Kuusisto plays a Giovanni Baptista Guadagnini violin of 1752, kindly loaned by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. He has been one of the Artistic Directors of the Tapiola Sinfonietta since September 2006.
The violinist made the most of every note, dissonance and change of tempo. The music alternately danced as if being played at a ceilidh and whispered as if even a short breath would break its spell… It was stunning in its audacious use and release of tension. – Toronto Star – October 2008