On the occasion of its 25th anniversary in 2010, Ondine releases a series of five two-fers, featuring each two best-selling CD titles from its back catalog. The focus is on five star artists: sopranos Soile Isokoski and Karita Mattila, baritone Jorma Hynninen, violinist Pekka Kuusisto, and clarinetist Kari Kriikku. This anniversary edition is limited and special-priced: 2 CDs for less than the price of 1.
Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto is one of the most versatile and distinctive musicians working today. Always demonstrating his extraordinary individuality and imagination, he is unusually free and fluid in his approach and has been acclaimed for the spontaneity and freshness in his playing. As he puts it, "I don't play to be different or the same as anyone else, I just play it the way I think it and feel it." Setting Pekka Kuusisto apart from most other violinists of his generation is his desire and ability to improvise, and his love of playing many different styles of music, channeling the same intensity into each genre.
Pekka Kuusisto began to study the violin with Géza Szilvay at the age of three. In 1985, he went on to study with Tuomas Haapanen at the Sibelius Academy. He also studied with Miriam Fried and Paul Biss at Indiana University in Bloomington from 1992 to 1996. He embarked on an international career after winning the Jean Sibelius Violin Competition in 1995. He has since performed with many of the world's major orchestras, such as the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Czech Philharmonic, the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic, the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Conductor champions include Valery Gergiev, Yuri Temirkanov, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Osmo Vänska, Paavo Berglund, Thomas Dausgaard, and Leif Segerstam. Apart from his appearances as a soloist, Pekka Kuusisto also performs chamber music, jazz, folk music, and electronic music. He became Artist in Residence at the Tapiola Sinfonietta in September 2006, a post he took up along with pianist Olli Mustonen and conductor Stefan Asbury. Together with his brother Jaakko Kuusisto he is Artistic co-Director of the Lake Tuusula Chamber Music Festival.
Pekka Kuusisto has an exclusive recording contract with Ondine. His acclaimed first disc, Jean Sibelius's Violin Concerto with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under Leif Segerstam, was released in 1996 (ODE 878-2). By the same composer, he has recorded further works for violin and orchestra with the Tapiola Sinfonietta (ODE 1174-5) and works for violin and piano with pianist Heini Kärkkäinen (ODE 1046-2). In addition, he has made recordings of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with the Virtuosi di Kuhmo (ODE 939-2), the complete Violin Concertos of J.S. Bach with the Tapiola Sinfonietta and Jaakko Kuusisto (ODE 980-2), a disc featuring works by Olli Mustonen conducted by the composer (ODE 974-2), and Mozart's Violin Concertos nos. 3, 4, and 5 with the Tapiola Sinfonietta under Olli Mustonen (ODE 1025-2). Pekka Kuusisto plays a Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin (1752) kindly lent by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Submitted on 08/22/10 by M. Katskee