OLLI MUSTONEN has established himself as one of the most exciting pianists of his time. His brilliant technique and startling interpretations have challenged and fascinated audiences throughout Europe and America.
Born in Helsinki, he began his studies firstly in harpsichord, then piano and composition at the age of five. His first piano teacher was Ralf Gothoni and he subsequently studied piano with Eero Heinonen and composition with Einojuhani Rautavaara.
At the heart of his piano playing is his life as a composer; the deeply held conviction that each performance must have all the freshness of a first performance, so that audience and performer alike encounter the composer as a living contemporary. For Mustonen, to follow traditional interpretations unthinkingly is uncreative, but every bit as uncreative is the performance that seeks only to be different. Following the creative process of composers whom Mustonen highly admires, he has performed several premieres, some of which have been works especially written for him - most recently the Piano Concerto No. 5 of Rodion Shchedrin, which he premiered with Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Olli Mustonen has worked with many of the world's leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, London Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Royal Concertgebouw; and with conductors including Ashkenazy, Barenboim, Berglund, Boulez, Chung, Dutoit, Eschenbach, Salonen, Saraste, Tennstedt, and Vegh. In recital, he frequently plays in the world's music capitals including London, Vienna, Paris, Tokyo and Berlin, appears at leading festivals such as Ravinia, Hollywood Bowl, BBC Proms, Edinburgh, and Schleswig Holstein Festivals, and he enjoys significant chamber collaborations with partners including Steven Isserlis, Pekka Kuusisto, and Joshua Bell.
During 2002/03 season Olli Mustonen performs a recital program of Bach/Busoni and Prokofiev world wide, including performances throughout Europe, concluding with a recital at the Berlin Konzerthaus, at select venues in Australia and in the U.S. including Chicago's Symphony Hall. While in Australia he will perform concerti with the Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, and return to the U.S. performing as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen. He will also conduct the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie in a program including his own Triple Concerto for three violins.
Increasing his conducting activities, Mustonen founded a new ensemble, the Helsinki Festival Orchestra, last season, and as of the 2002/03 he has been appointed Artistic Director of the Tapiola Sinfonietta.
Olli Mustonen's recording catalogue is already broad based and exceptionally distinguished. His release on Decca of Preludes by Shostakovich and Alkan received the Edison Award and Gramophone Award for the Best Instrumental Recording in 1992. With BMG he has released an album combining the Preludes and Fugues of Bach and Shostakovich, and a disc of Beethoven Sonatas and Diabelli Variations. More recently he has signed a long-term contract with Ondine Records to record solo and orchestral works, the latter in collaboration with the Helsinki Festival Orchestra. A solo disc of the piano works of Sibelius was released in Fall 2002 and an orchestral recording with the HFO is soon to be released.