Alexei Lubimov is a Russian pianist who also plays fortepiano and harpsichord. In his early years he studied at the Moscow Central Music School, and in 1963, entered the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied with Heinrich Neuhaus and Lew Naumov. He developed a strong interest in Baroque music and 20th century modernist works. Lubimov gave the Soviet premieres of many western compositions, including pieces by Charles Ives, Arnold Schoenberg, John Cage, Terry Riley, Pierre Boulez, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, which brought censorship from the Soviet authorities. For a number of years he was prevented from traveling outside the Soviet Union. For a number of years he was prevented from traveling outside the Soviet Union. Turning to his interest in period instruments and authentic performance practices, he founded the Moscow Baroque Quartet and co-founded the Moscow Chamber Academy with Tatiana Grindenko. Lubimov also organized the avant-garde music festival "Alternativa." Much in demand as a soloist since the 1980s, Lubimov has performed with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the London Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, to name a few. He has collaborated with many conductors, among them Vladimir Ashkenazy, Christopher Hogwood, Neeme Järvi, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Roger Norrington, Marek Janowski, Iván Fischer, Kent Nagano, and Frans Brüggen. In 1998, Lubimov toured Europe with Jukka-Pekka Saraste and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in performances of Rachmaninov's four piano concertos. He has performed with Andreas Staier and Alexei Zuev in piano duets; played chamber music with Natalia Gutman, Heinrich Schiff, Christian Tetzlaff, Gidon Kremer, and Wieland Kuijken; and accompanied tenor Peter Schreier in vocal music.
Roland Pöntinen is a Swedish pianist and composer. Thanks to insatiable musical appetite and a stupendous technique he has acquired a vast repertoire ranging from Bach to Ligeti. His emphasis is on the “golden era” in piano literature from the 19th century – through the first half of the 20th century with composers such as Debussy, Busoni, Szymanowski and Rachmaninov. Roland Pöntinen has performed with major orchestras throughout the world and worked with conductors like Esa-Pekka Salonen, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Evgeny Svetlanov and Leif Segerstam. Many composers, among them Sven-Erik Bäck, Veli-Matti Puumala, Anders Eliasson and Anders Hillborg, have dedicated works to him and in 2007 he gave the world premiere of Shchedrin’s Romantic Duets together with the composer at the Verbier Festival.
The imaginative and versatile Finnish virtuoso Paavali Jumppanen has established himself as a dynamic musician of seemingly unlimited capability who has already cut a wide swath internationally as a solo recitalist, orchestral collaborator, recording artist, artistic director, and frequent performer of contemporary and avant-garde music. Paavali Jumppanen collaborated with such composers as Boulez, Murail, Dutilleux, Penderecki, as well as many Finnish composers. The Boston Globe praised the “overflowing energy of his musicianship” and The New York Times his “power and an extraordinary range of colors.” Paavali Jumppanen’s has an expanding discography which includes, according to the Guardian, “the best recorded disc of Boulez’s piano music so far” (The Guardian, about the three sonatas recording on DGG made upon the composer’s request).
Tuika Hakkila performed as soloist, in chamber groups and as accompanist throughout Europe, in the United States, Japan, Indonesia, Africa and South America. She has collaborated with eminent musicians like Karita Mattila, Vera Beths, Anner Bijlsma, Mikael Helasvuo, Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch, Anssi Karttunen, Alexei Lubimov and performed with conductors like Okko Kamu, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Leif Segerstam and Sakari Oramo. Her repertoire ranges from Bach to contemporary music; She has developed her interest in period instrument performance, presenting classical and romantic programmes on period pianos. She works with a number of today's composers and is invited to give world premiere performances. In 2014 she was appointed Professor of Piano Music at the Sibelius Academy. She has been the Artistic Director of the Early Music Festival in Hämeenlinna, the Sibelius Academy Concert Series, Kaiho Festival in Espoo and Nurmes Summer Academy and Concerts.
Irina Zahharenkova is an Estonian pianist, harpsichordist and fortepianist. Irina is an outstandingly versatile musician with an impressive list of prizes and awards from competitions. She frequently performs on the piano and harpsichord in solo recitals, chamber music concerts, and as soloist with orchestras in Europe and Japan. Her repertoire encompasses a wide range of musical styles from Baroque to contemporary. Apart from concert activities Irina Zahharenkova is teaching piano in Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. In addition to her piano studies, she has pursued advanced courses in harpsichord, fortepiano, organ, chemistry, as well as Estonian and Finnish philology.
Emil Holmström has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and ensemble keyboard player throughout Europe, the Americas, Japan, and Australia. He appears frequently at Finnish music festivals and concert series and has been a featured soloist with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. An ardent champion of new music, Holmström is a member Finnish groups defunensemble, the Uusinta Ensemble, and the Tristero Piano Trio, and plays as a regular guest with the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra. He has worked as a recording artist for Alba Records and the Finnish Broadcasting Company, and made numerous world premiere recordings. He runs the Ristiveto Collective, which specializes in performing late 19th-century music on period instruments.
Mirka Viitala is a pianist who is passionate about music, regardless of genre. Mirka´s repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary. Mirka received awards in several international and domestic piano competitions, among others she won the 1st prize at Fazer Piano Competition in 1988 and at Espoo Chamber Music Competition in 1992; 2nd prise at Tel-Hai Masterclasses in Israel in 1996; received di Merita award from Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena. Viitala has performed in Finland, Europe, USA, Israel, Russia and Sounth Africa. Her recordings include the works of Sergei Prokofiev, Franz List, Pasi Lyytikäinen, Jean Sibelius, Jean-Pierre Rameau, Manuel de Falla and Fred Lerdahl. Mirka also is a member of several ensembles, including UMUU avant-garde ensemble.
Risto-Matti Marin has recorded many internationally acclaimed solo piano discs, and several discs of chamber music. He has also made a number of recordings for the Finnish
Broadcasting Company (YLE). Marin's recorded catalogue varies from the cornerstones of classical/romantic piano repertoire to rare original works, transcriptions, and contemporary music. Marin earned his doctoral degree in 2010 from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. In addition to his work as a piano recitalist and chamber musician Marin lectures on piano music and teaches at masterclasses in Finland and abroad. His early teachers in the Kuopio Conservatoire were Jouni Räty and Jaakko Untamala. Later Marin studied in the Sibelius Academy, where his teachers were Erik T. Tawaststjerna and Teppo Koivisto. As a soloist, as well as a chamber musician together with classical saxophonist Olli-Pekka Tuomisalo, Marin has premiered many Finnish contemporary works, by Eero Hämeenniemi, Sebastian Fagerlund and Matthew Whittall, among others. Recently, Marin was the co-dedicatee, along
with Angela Hewitt, of Whittall's piano concerto "Nameless Seas", of which he gave the European premiere in November 2017 as soloist with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Olari Elts.
Yana Ivanilova has worked with such esteemed conductors as Kent Nagano, Evgeni Svetlanov, Vladimir Fedoseev, Mikhail Pletnyev, Richard Bonynge, René Clemencic, Vladimir Spivakov, and Alexander Rudin. She has appeared as a soloist with the Moscow New Opera Municipal Theatre, the Moscow Bolshoi Theater, at Victoria Hall in Geneva, and at Westminster Cathedral in London, among others. Her operatic roles thus far include Violetta in La Traviata; Maria Stuarda in Donizetti's opera of the same name; Tatiana in Eugene Onegin; Lucrezia in I Due Foscari; Statue in Rameau's Pigmalion; and roles in Baldassare Galuppi's Il Re Pastore and Giuseppe Sarti's Enea nel Lazio. The last several roles underscore Ms. Ivanilova interest in early music, and in particular she has taken a keen interest in resurrecting 18th c. Russian secular and courtly vocal music that she performs regularly. This along with her activities performing contemporary music make Ms. Ivanilova a versatile vocalist indeed.
Stanislav Malyshev is a Russian violinist, conductor and educator. He performs as a soloist with with Nice Philharmonic Orchestra, Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra, Musica Viva Orchestra, Studio for New Music Ensemble and Ensemble Modern (Germany) etc. Since 2008 he has been a soloist and concertmaster of the Studio for New Music Ensemble. With this ensemble Stanislav has performed the Russian premieres of the violin concertos by György Ligeti, Kaija Saariaho, Faraj Karaev and also played the rarely performed concertos of Alban Berg, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Lou Harrison, Arthur Lourié, Giacinto Scelsi, Salvatore Sciarrino. Since 2016 Stanislav is the second conductor of the Studio for New Music Ensemble. Stanislav is the first violin of the String Quartet "Studio of New Music", he also collaborates with the percussion ensemble M. Pekarsky ensemble "Opus POSTH" Tatyana Grindenko, the Moscow chamber choir of the Moscow Conservatory, plays with pianist Alexandr Lyubimov. Stanislav actively collaborates with contemporary composers: Krzysztof Penderecki, Helmut Lachenmann, Vladimir Tarnopolski, François Paris, Serghey Slonimsky, Sofia Gubaidulina, Tigran Mansuryan, Faraj Karaev and others.
Australian pianist Aura Go enjoys an active and multifaceted musical life, performing as a soloist, chamber musician, lied pianist and conductor. Recognized for her imaginative and compelling performances, Aura has been soloist in concertos ranging from Bach to Schnittke, and appeared at international music festivals including the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Metropolis New Music Festival, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival and Edinburgh Festival. Marking the beginning of her ongoing interest in Finnish music, Aura gave the first Australian performances of Rautavaara’s first and second piano concertos with the Melbourne and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras in 2002 and 2003. Recent highlights include performing as soloist with the Tapiola Sinfonietta in Aarre Merikanto’s third piano concerto for the 2017 PianoEspoo Festival, solo and chamber performances at the Kuhmo and Kauniainen music festivals and recitals in Denmark, Poland, Italy, the USA and Australia. Upcoming highlights in 2018 include her recital debut at the Sydney Opera House, her first regional Australian tour with the KIAZMA Piano Duo and performing as guest artist at the Huntington Music Festival (Australia) and Rauma Festivo.
Erica Back has been praised for her ‘round, beautifully shining and effortlessly ringing voice’ (Helsingin Sanomat) and is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after singers of her generation in Finland, regularly appearing in opera, oratorio and lied.
Erica is an active performer in oratorio, chamber music and lied. She has performed in Mozart’s Requiem, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and St Matthew’s Passion, Händel’s Dixit Dominus and Resphigi’s Lauda per la Natività, among
others. Erica’s chamber music repertoire ranges from baroque to new music. The art song genre in particular lies close to Erica’s heart. Since fall 2015 she has regularly collaborated with Australian pianist Aura Go, with whom she finds the exploration of new art song repertoire richly rewarding and inspiring.
Sanni Antikainen is a versatile keyboard enthusiast. She handles herself with modern piano, harpsichord, historical fortepianos and occasionally even finds herself behind an organ. She performs regularly in a variety of roles as a chamber and orchestra musician and a soloist. Lately she has played at BarokkiKuopio, Ankkabarock and SibaFest music festivals, among others. She also teaches keyboard instruments at Keskisen Uudenmaan music school.
Sanni holds a Master of Music from the piano department of the Sibelius-Academy and has also studied at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm and Metropolia University. Currently she is enrolled at the SibA in the early music department, where she studies the harpsichord under Anssi Mattila and Annamari Pölhö.
Rovaniemi-based musician Väinö Jalkanen is inspired especially by Monteverdi, Morton Feldman and Mordvinian Folk Songs. Having begun his musical education at the Lapland Music Institute, Jalkanen pursued studies at the Hanns Eisler Conservatory in Berlin, the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest and at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki with professor Liisa Pohjola, Fabio Bidini and András Kemenes, among others. In recent years, he has appeared as a performer in the Budapest Spring Festival, the Icelandic Chamber Music Festival, June in Buffalo, and on stages such as the Berlin Konzerthaus, and the Chamber Music Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.
A committed interpreter of contemporary music, Jalkanen is a member of Uusinta Ensemble [Helsinki], and co-founder of ÄÄNI-kollektiivi [Jyväskylä/Kuopio/Joensuu]. In 2016 he founded the Kaivos Festival, and served for that season as its artistic director - a position that he will return to in 2019. Jalkanen has recorded Kalevi Aho’s Quintet for Piano and Winds together with the Wind Quintet of The Lapland Chamber Orchestra for the Swedish BIS Label. In addition, Jalkanen is a co-founder of Korvissa soi –concert series held since 2009 in Kainuu region.
Valkealaislähtöinen Joel Papinoja opiskeli pianonsoittoa Sibelius-Akatemiassa professori Erik T.Tawaststjernan oppilaana sekä 2010-11 Erasmus-vaihto- oppilaana Dublinin musiikkiakatemiassa. Joulukuussa 2014 hän suoritti pianodiplominsa parhain mahdollisin arvosanoin. Hän on esiintynyt esiintynyt solistina sekä orkesteri- ja kamarimuusikkona muun muassa Lontoossa, New Yorkissa sekä toissa keväänä Melbournessa ja Canberrassa, Australissa. Hän on myös aktiivinen ja kysytty liedpianisti ja esiintynyt monen Suomen eturivin laulajan kanssa koti- ja ulkomailla.
Hannu Alasaarela received his first private piano lessons at the age of eight. At twelve he entered the Oulunsalo Art School, where he studied with Kimmo Pihlajamaa, and Jouko Tötterström. He became a student at the Sibelius Academy in 2014, where his teachers have been Hui-Ying Liu-Tawaststjerna, Liisa Pohjola; and currently Ilmo Ranta and Tuija Hakkila. Alasaarela won the first prize in the national Leevi Madetoja Piano Competition in Oulu in 2012. He was also a prize winner at the Helmi Vesa Piano Competition in Helsinki (2015), and the Tampere National Piano Competition (2017). In August 2017 Alasaarela represented Finland in the Fourth International Maj Lind Piano Competition in Helsinki, where he was the only European pianist who reached the final round of the competition. In addition to the Finalist Prize, he also received the Special Prize for the Best Performance of the Commissioned Work, as well as a recording prize (the YLE Prize) awarded by the Finnish Broadcasting Company. An experienced recitalist, Alasaarela has concertized in Finland and in the Baltic countries. As orchestral soloist he has appeared with the Oulu Symphony, the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, Lappeenranta City Orchestra and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Besides performing, Alasaarela also composes music to satisfy his creative impulses.
Aleksei Zaitsev has participated successfully in Finnish national and international piano competitions: Kuopio Piano Competition for young pianists (2nd prize, 2011), the Stecher and Horowitz foundation’s 7th International New York Piano Competition (finalist, 2014) and Helmi Vesa piano competition in Helsinki (prize winner 2015). In 2017 he was chosen to represent Finland in the International Maj Lind piano competition. He has been awarded scholarships and grants for outstanding achievements by different Finnish cultural foundations.
As a recitalist, orchestral soloist and chamber musician, he has performed in many cities in Finland, the USA, France, Belgium, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and Japan. He appeared with the Joensuu City Orchestra under the conductor Arturo Alvarado in 2011, and with Belgium’s Musica Mundi Festival Orchestra under the baton of Maxim Vengerov in 2012. He has also given concerts at the Sound of Lempäälä Music Festival, Mänttä piano festival, and the Joutseno Summer Arts Festival in Finland.
Miikka Taipale is currently studying piano performance in Sibelius Academy under the guidance of professor emeritus Liisa Pohjola. He started his studies in the Academy’s youth department at the age of 14 with professor Tuija Hakkila, and later on had had lessons with Antti Siirala. He has attended masterclasses of inter alia Dimitri Bashkirov, Gary Graffman, Hortense Cartier-Bresson, Matti Raekallio, Akiko Ebi and Emmanuel Krasovsky. Miikka Taipale has performed in numerous festivals in Finland. He has appeared as a soloist with Pori Sinfonietta, Jyväskylä Sinfonia, Kuopio Symphony Orchestra and Sibelius Academy Symphony orchestra, etc. He has also performed in Sweden, Germany, Italy and Israel. In Finland he has been awarded with the first prizes in three different youth competitions and in 2014 he was given the 4th prize in the Ilmari Hannikainen Piano competition. He has also been awarded with a Pro Musica scholarship in 2011 and 2015.
Matias Häkkinen (b.1981) is one of the most active, dedicated and interesting musicians in his native Finland. He has a wide repertoire that ranges from renaissance to most recent contemporary music with a special interest in late 17th century music. He is a versatile musician who has given solo recitals, as well as worked as a conductor, lied-pianist, organist, chamber musician and accompanist with several singers, instrumentalists, and as a member of different ensembles and orchestras all around Europe. He is also working as a writer, lecturer and expert of early music matters and keyboard instruments as a freelancer in different organisations.
Häkkinen is the artistic director of the orchestra Ensemble Nylandia and Café Barock concert series and president of the Finnish Early Music Society. In 2009-10 he was a member of the European Union Baroque Orchestra and in 2010 he toured with the European Union Chamber Orchestra. He has worked with the Finnish National Opera, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, the Guard's Band, Finnish Baroque Orchestra, Opus X and numerous other orchestras and ensembles. He also has worked as a teacher of the harpsichord, piano, basso continuo, chamber music and accompaniment in Helsinki Conservatory, Metropolia University and the Sibelius Academy. His activities include also different management and production engagements.
Matias Häkkinen graduated from Sibelius Academy in Helsinki with excellent grades having studied with professors Anssi Mattila and Annamari Pölhö. He has also studied at Amsterdam Conservatory with prof. Menno van Delft and in Escola Superior da Música e das Artes de Espectáculo, in Porto, Portugal with prof. Ana Mafalda Castro. He also holds a bachelor degree in the piano and has attended numerous masterclasses with some of the most prestigious professors in the early music world. His work has been supported by grants from several funds and foundations (Finnish state/Ministry of education), Pro Musica, Alfred Kordelin, MES).
As of 2018 his main focus are getting to really know the clavichord and preparing for concerts with contemporary and early music, improvisation and more than one keyboard instrument.