ARTO NORAS, Founder and Artistic Director of the Naantali Music Festival and the International Paulo Cello Competition, is one of Finland’s most celebrated performers and among the world’s most outstanding cellists. He is known as an expressive and technically brilliant soloist as well as an intense and sensitive chamber musician.
Following studies with Professor Yrjo Selin at the Sibelius Academy, Arto Noras went on to work with Paul Tortelier at the Paris Conservatoire, where he received the coveted Premier Prix diploma in 1964. Two years later he was awarded second prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, which launched an international career that has brought appearances at the most important concert halls of Europe, Asia, and both North and South America, where he has performed regularly ever since. He was awarded Denmark’s Sonning Prize in 1967 and the Finnish State Music Prize in 1972.
Arto Noras’ repertoire covers all the principal works composed for his instrument, including those by contemporary composers, works he has recorded extensively for the Finlandia label (Warner). His extensive discography includes concertos with the Norwegian and Finnish Radio Orchestras, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Warsaw National Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under such conductors as Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Sakari Oramo, Markus Lehtinen, Paavo Berglun, Yan Pascal Tortelier and Krzysztof Penderecki and sonata recordings with pianists Bruno Rigutto, Ralf Gothoni, and Juhani Lagerspetz.
In spring 2013 Arto Noras returned to the Festival Pablo Casals in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In summer he performed at the Casals Festival in Prades, France and at the BBC Proms under Charles Dutoit. He gave premieres of two compositions by Krystoff Penderecki: Concerto doppio per violin, viola e orchestra in Noras’ own arrangement, and the Suite for Cello Solo. That fall he performed at gala 80th Birthday celebration for Penderecki in Warsaw. He played Penderekci’s Concertto grosso for three cellos with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2013 and will play this again in November 2014 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He gave the premiere of Kalevi Aho’s Second Cello Concerto with Lahti Symphony under Osma Vanska in June 2014 and toured the United States with colleagues from the Casals Festival, Prades in October 2014
A distinguished chamber musician, he is a member of the Helsinki Trio and is a founding member of the Sibelius Academy Quartet. He is likewise a noted teacher, appointed Professor of Cello at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki in 1970 and more recently named Professor of Cello at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg, Germany. Arto Noras has served on the juries of the Tchaikovsky, Casals, Rostropovich, and Cassado competitions and he gives master classes throughout the world.