Young Finnish violinist PEKKA KUUSISTO embarked on his international career in 1995 at the age of 19. He has since become acclaimed for his flair for tone and technique, his natural expressiveness, infectious enthusiasm, and his imaginative interpretations. Kuusisto has performed with many of the world's most prestigious orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, and the Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Philharmonia orchestras. He has also appeared alongside conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Yuri Temirkanov, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Osmo Vänskä, and Paavo Berglund.
The past few seasons have also taken Kuusisto to the Czech and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic orchestras, the Hessischer Rundfunk, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich, the City of Birmingham, and the Detroit Symphony orchestras. He has performed with chamber orchestras such as the Nieuw Sinfonietta in Amsterdam and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, and frequently returns to the Australian Chamber Orchestra as soloist and guest director. Last season included appearances with the Trondheim Symphony and BBC Symphony orchestras, as well as performances with the New Jersey Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, the Sundsvall Chamber Orchestra, and the Hallé Orchestra.
This season begins with a period of guest conducting with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and a tour of Japan with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Susanna Mälkki. Kuusisto also makes his debuts with the Malaga Symphony Orchestra, the London Chamber Orchestra, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, and the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, and makes return visits to the Malaysian Philharmonic and the Ulster Orchestra.
Other highlights of the season include concerts with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under Thomas Dausgaard, and with the Warsaw Philharmonic under Leif Segerstam. With his regular duo partner, Raija Kerppo, Kuusisto has given recitals at London's Wigmore Hall and the Châtelet in Paris, as well as in Ravinia, Bergen, Bremen, and throughout Finland.
He has performed with pianist Olli Mustonen at Lincoln Center in New York and was invited by both Mustonen and cellist Steven Isserlis to take part in their chamber music series - most recently in Badenweiler, Germany, and London's Wigmore Hall. Last season Kuusisto undertook a solo Bach recital tour of Japan, and this season, he appears in recital at the East Neuk Festival in Scotland and for BBC Belfast's Schumann series. Winner of the 1995 Sibelius violin competition (and the first Finn to do so), Kuusisto is co-Artistic Director of the Lake Tuusula Chamber Music Festival in Finland together with his brother Jaakko.
Aside from his classical activities, Kuusisto is a devotee of many other musical styles including folk, jazz, and electronic music. His research into traditional Finnish violin music led to his recording Folk Trip, which was released by Ondine in Autumn 2002. In the jazz field Kuusisto has recorded with the Trio Töykeät, and regularly teams up with other musicians for pure or progressive jazz appearances and concerts. He has an electric violin and is particularly interested in utilizing the technology used in experimental music in combination with other styles - such as religious song, folk music, Bach, and his own compositions. Last season, Kuusisto appeared at the Barbican with the Finnish electronic jazz group Rinneradio as part of Herbie Hancock's 2005 festival.
An exclusive Ondine artist, Kuusisto's recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons with the Virtuosi di Kuhmo received outstanding critical reviews. Other discs have included the complete Bach violin concertos with Tapiola Sinfonietta and Jaakko Kuusisto, a disc of Olli Mustonen's works conducted by the composer, and a recording of Mozart Violin Concertos with the Tapiola Sinfonietta and Olli Mustonen. Kuusisto's most recent release is a highly-acclaimed disc of works for violin and piano by Sibelius, which he recorded in Sibelius' country home with pianist Heini Kärkkäinen. Pekka Kuusisto plays a Giovanni Baptista Guadagnini violin of 1752, kindly loaned by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.