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Lecture / Discussion  |  Jaakko Kuusisto

Friday, May 11, 2018, 5:30–7:30 pm

Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium  

Jaakko Kuusisto joins us from his native country of Finland to talk about his life in music. Jaakko began his career as a solo violinist. In fact, he has recorded concertos by some of the most prominent Finnish contemporary composers, such as Rautavaara, Aho, Sallinen and Pulkkis, and is one of the most frequently recorded Finnish instrumentalists. He also works extensively as a conductor all over the world.

But, it is his composing that brings him to Buffalo this spring. Jaakko’s Trumpet Concerto will be featured at Kleinhans on May 12 and 13, featuring the BPO’s own principal trumpeter Alex Jokipii as soloist. His compositions range from chamber music to opera, but concertos form an important part of his works; the Violin Concerto, written for Elina Vähälä, has become an international success, and his concertos for piano and bassoon have also been received with enthusiasm.

Come hear this world renowned musical artist speak about his creative process, his personal relationship with Alex Jokipii and his upcoming concerto performance with the BPO.

Jaakko Kuusisto’s Buffalo residency is made possible through funding from a UB Creative Arts Initiative Grant.
Jaakko Kuusisto
Finnish composer, conductor, violinist

Jaakko Kuusisto enjoys an extensive career that was launched by a series of successes in international violin competitions in the 1990s. Having recorded concertos by some of the most prominent Finnish contemporary composers, such as Rautavaara, Aho, Sallinen and Pulkkis, he is one of the most frequently recorded Finnish instrumentalists. When BIS Records launched a project of complete Sibelius recordings, Kuusisto had a major role in the violin works and string chamber music. Moreover, his discography contains several albums outside the classical genre. He was concertmaster of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra during 1998 - 2012.

Kuusisto’s compositions consist of nearly 40 opuses: chamber and vocal music, orchestral pieces, operas, as well as music for films. His family opera, The Canine Kalevala, was hugely popular at the Savonlinna Opera Festival and has since had several productions elsewhere. Moreover, his latest opera Elämälle about composer Oskar Merikanto’s life was received with acclaim at the Ilmajoki Music Festival in June 2015 and 2016. Kuusisto's next opera, Jää (Ice) is based on the award-winning book by Ulla-Lena Lundberg. Commissioned by the Finnish National Opera, it will be premiered in January 2019.
Kuusisto’s conducting repertoire is equally versatile and ranges from baroque to the latest new works, regardless of genre. He has worked with many leading orchestras, including Minnesota Orchestra; Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras; National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa; NDR Hannover, DeFilharmonie in Belgium; Chamber Orchestras of Tallinn and Lausanne; Helsinki, Turku and Tampere Philharmonic Orchestras; Lahti Symphony Orchestra as well as the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra. Kuusisto served as principal guest conductor of the Oulu Symphony Orchestra during 2005-2009. He works regularly in opera as well; in 2016 he orchestrated and conducted Indigo at the Finnish National Opera, a work written by Eicca Toppinen and Perttu Kivilaakso of Apocalyptica. Kuusisto has been appointed Chief Conductor of the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, starting August 2018.
Concertos form an important part of his works; the Violin Concerto, written for Elina Vähälä, has become an international success, and his concertos for piano and bassoon have also been received with enthusiasm. His latest addition to the concerto repertoire, a concerto for trumpet, will be premiered in the United States in November 2017. In the summer 2016 BIS Records released an album called “Glow”, which consists of Kuusisto’s chamber music pieces.

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    May11

    Special Event  |  May M&T Second Friday

    Friday, May 11, 2018, 10 am–8 pm

    On the Second Friday of every month, thanks to the support of M&T Bank, the Burchfield Penney hosts something great! The galleries are open from 10 am - 8 pm and are free all day! Special programs begin at 5:30 pm.