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Finnish composer to serve CAI residency

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Fostering engagement among UB students, faculty, visiting artists and the community is a key mission of UB’s Creative Arts Initiative.

To that end, CAI is bringing Finnish composer Jaakko Kuusisto to Buffalo May 7-14 for a weeklong residency during which he will give several free public talks and work with UB composition students.

The residency will culminate with the New York premiere of his “Trumpet Concerto” in concerts May 12 and 13 by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of JoAnn Falletta.

“If you’ve ever listened to a piece like Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and wondered how something like that comes together, now is your chance to find out,” says Robin Parkinson, the BPO’s director of education and community engagement. “Jaakko Kuusisto’s reputation has been growing steadily, and we’re pleased to partner with UB to bring him to Buffalo for this historic performance.”

Kuusisto is a highly regarded conductor and violinist, in addition to his composing. He is chief conductor of the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, artistic director of the Oulu Music Festival and has served guest conductor for numerous orchestras. He is also the former concertmaster of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and is one of Finland’s most-recorded instrumentalists. He has written more than 40 works, including a popular family opera, “The Canine Kalevala.” His Violin Concerto received its U.S. premiere in Buffalo at the 2015 Finn Fest.

Arguably, the highlight of Kuusisto’s residency will be the BPO concerts. His “Trumpet Concerto” will feature his longtime friend Alex Jokipii, the BPO’s principal trumpet.

Prior to the concert, Kuusisto will give free talks about the composing process.

On May 7, he will speak at noon at the downtown Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, and at 7 p.m. at Amherst Audubon Library, 350 John Jay Audubon Parkway.

On May 11, he will give a presentation at 5:30 p.m. at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, as part of M&T Bank’s Free Fridays event.

He also will speak one hour before each of the BPO concerts as part of the orchestra’s “Musically Speaking” series sponsored by Uniland Development.

For more information about Kuusisto’s residency, visit the CAI website.