Described by “The Telegraph” as a musician “who surely has the most personal sound of any classical violinist now alive”, Pekka Kuusisto is internationally renowned for his fresh approach to the repertoire. An advocate of new music, Kuusisto regularly works with composers such as Nico Muhly and Thomas Adès and gave the world premiere of Sebastian Fagerlund’s Violin Concerto. The subsequent recording with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra was released on BIS in early 2015, to widespread critical acclaim. Future recording plans include Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto with the Tapiola Sinfonietta, featuring Pekka as director and soloist, and paired with traditional Finnish rune singing.
This season Kuusisto returns to the Scottish Chamber, City of Birmingham Symphony and Toronto Symphony orchestras and debuts with Bamberger Symphoniker. As soloist, last season’s highlights included concerts with the Seattle and BBC Scottish symphony orchestras, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig and Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia. A keen chamber musician, regular partners include Anne Sofie von Otter, Simon Crawford-Phillips, Nicolas Altstaedt, Alexander Lonquich and Olli Mustonen. This season Kuusisto performs recitals at the Bachwoche Festival in Ansbach, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Dortmund Konzerthaus and London’s Wigmore Hall.
Kuusisto is widely recognised for his flair in directing ensembles from the violin. From January 2016 he becomes Artistic Director of ACO Collective – a string ensemble which connects the musicians of the Australian Chamber Orchestra with Australia’s most talented young professional musicians to deliver innovative projects across the country – and following a longstanding creative collaboration with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, he takes on the role of Artistic Partner with the ensemble from 2016/17. In 2015, he directed The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen on a sold-out tour of South America and is a regular guest with the Mahler, Swedish and Irish chamber orchestras and the Britten Sinfonia.
In addition to his many international commitments Kuusisto frequently performs and curates projects in his native Finland. This season he returns to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Sibelius’ Violin Concerto to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth, conducted by Susanna Mälkki. He is Artistic Director of Our Festival, which takes place annually in Sibelius’ home town. Named Festival of the Year by Finland Festivals in 2011, it was later awarded the State of Finland Music Prize for its innovative programming. Regularly collaborating with performers across the artistic spectrum, he joins forces with actress Seela Sella and director Kristian Smeds for a new theatrical production “Tabu” at the Finnish National Theatre, which features Kuusisto as both composer and performer.
In 2013, Kuusisto was the recipient of the Nordic Council Music Prize, with judges describing him as “a violinist in the absolute elite”.
As of June 2016