Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Olli Mustonen has a unique place on today’s music scene. Following the tradition of great masters such as Rachmaninov, Busoni and Enescu, Mustonen combines the roles of his musicianship as composer, pianist and conductor in an equal balance that is quite exceptional, often bringing them together in one fascinating triple role performance. This season, he continues his position of Principal Guest Conductor of the Lapland Chamber Orchestra where he combines orchestral concerts with chamber music and recitals.
During an illustrious career, Mustonen has brought his extraordinary musical insight to many of world’s most significant orchestras, including the Berlin, New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orkest, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Tonhalle Orhester Zürich, and all the London orchestras.
Opening this season in Turku he is joined by friend and long-term collaborator Steven Isserlis for performances of Britten’s Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, as well as Shostakovich’s less frequently performed Symphony No. 15. He performs with the Tonhalle Zurich under Paavo Järvi, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrucken for Bartok’s second Piano Concerto and Respighi’s Concerto in modo misolidio with Solistes Européens in Luxembourg. A regular visitor to festivals across Europe, he appears at Klassiske Dage Holstebro where he is also composer in residence, returns to South America to open the Cartagena Music Festival with Grieg’s Piano Concerto as well as give recitals. Other festivals include Concentus Moraviae, Stavanger Piano Festival and Tampere Chamber Music Festival, and he gives recitals across Austria and Germany.
Last season he returned to Camerata Zürich for the second consecutive season as Artist in Residence and went on a fifteen-concert tour in Australia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Following that, he returned to Japan to perform with Herbert Blomstedt and the NHK Symphony Orchestra as well as a series of recitals in Tokyo and a return to London’s Wigmore Hall for a full cycle of Prokofiev sonatas. Other recent highlights have included the Prague Philharmonia and RSO Wien for Martinu’s Piano Concerto No.3. Further afield, he returned to Brazil for his triple role, conducting the Orquesta Filarmonica de Minas Gerais, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.25, and opened the programme with one of his own compositions – The Old Church at Petäjävesi. He has strong relationships with orchestras across Finland including the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic and Jyväskylä Sinfonia as well as the Sinfonia Lahti with whom he has recently released an album of Rautavaara and Martinu’s third piano concertos under the baton of Dalia Stasevska.
Recipient of the 2019 Hindemith Prize of the City of Hanau, Mustonen’s life as a composer is at the heart of his piano playing and conducting. Frequently bringing his own works to the chamber music stage, the world premiere of his work Taivaanvalot (Heavenly Lights) for Tenor, Cello and Piano was performed at Het Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam by Mustonen himself, alongside Ian Bostridge and Steven Isserlis. Additional performances took place at London’s Wigmore Hall and in Hong Kong. His string sextet, was commissioned by the Beethoven Festival Bonn and first performed there in February 2020. Last season saw the premiere of two of Mustonen’s new works: Apotheosis, in memoriam Pablo Casals commissioned by the Kronberg Academy, at the opening gala of the Casals Forum in Kronberg, Germany, and his Sinfonia No.3 Taivaanvalot with the Turku Philharmonic and Tenor soloist Ian Bostridge.
As a recitalist, Mustonen has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Center Chicago, Diaghilev Festival Perm, Dresden Festival, Lockenhaus Festival, New York Zankel Hall and Sydney Opera House. With Steven Isserlis, Mustonen has performed as a duo for more than thirty years. 2019 saw the release of their disc of Russian works for cello and piano on the Hyperion label.
Born in Helsinki, Olli Mustonen began his studies in piano, harpsichord, and composition at the age of five. Initially learning with Ralf Gothoni, he subsequently studied piano with Eero Heinonen and composition with Einojuhani Rautavaara.
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