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Paavali Jumppanen with a new commission by Outi Tarkiainen

solo piano 

Sunday Concert

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Paavali Jumppanen

Finnish pianist Paavali Jumppanen returns to the Phillips for a special performance featuring a new commission from The Phillips Collection by Finnish composer Outi Tarkiainen. Tarkiainen is one of a new generation of composers whose work bears intense witness to the world around us, exploring the forces of nature through sound and music. She has chosen artist Richard Pousette-Dart’s 1978 painting Immortal Prints, as the inspiration for a new work for solo piano. Combining musical response to a visual artwork, Tarkiainen also introduces poetry into her interdisciplinary process, infusing her conceptual approach with the work of Sámi poet, Nils-Aslak Valkeapää.

Inspired by Tarkiainen’s new work and its focus on the natural world, Paavali Jumpannen has constructed a program that explores the idea of human inner experiences being projected onto nature through music, featuring music by Claude Debussy, Béla Bartók, Franz Schubert, and Miriam Hyde.

Funding for the Phillips Music Centennial Commission Fund is generously provided by the Sachiko Kuno Foundation.

This performance will be broadcast on this event page and is free with registration. Once you have registered, return to this page on April 18, 2021, scroll down to the section “Watch the Stream” and enter the password provided to you at registration. The performance will be available to view On-Demand for the following 7 days.

In the brief span of recent seasons, the imaginative and versatile Finnish virtuoso Paavali Jumppanen has established himself as a dynamic musician of seemingly unlimited capability who has already cut a wide swath internationally as solo recitalist, orchestral collaborator, recording artist, artistic director, and frequent performer of contemporary and avant-garde music. Mr. Jumppanen has performed extensively in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia and is known for his remarkable expressivity and intense musical curiosity. He has shared the stage with many great conductors, among them David Robertson, Sakari Oramo, Susanna Mälkki, Osmo Vänskä, and Jaap van Zweden. He has commissioned numerous works and collaborated with pivotal composers such as Boulez, Murail, Dutilleux, Penderecki, as well as his own generation of Finnish composers. In particular he also been praised by The Boston Globe for the “overflowing energy of his musicianship” and by The New York Times for playing of “power and an extraordinary range of colors.”

During the 2019–20 season, Mr. Jumppanen concertises in the United States, China, and various European countries. During the fall 2019 he performs as the soloist of several concertos by Mozart and Beethoven in Finland, appearing with the Ostro Botnian Chamber Orchestra, the Joensuu Symphony and the Kymi Sinfonietta. In November, he performs as the soloist of the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra in the Helsinki Music Centre in the final concert of the PianoEspoo Festival. This grand program–Akademie 1808– recreates the full program of Beethoven’s epic matinee in Vienna from the year 1808. Mr. Jumppanen performs as the soloist in Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto and the Choral Fantasy. Other performances during the season include appearances with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Benjamin Schwartz and performances at the Rusk Chamber Music Festival in Jakobstad, Finland.

During the spring 2020 Mr. Jumppanen presents various programs celebrating Beethoven’s 250th anniversary. A concert series called Beethoven’s Story curated by Mr. Jumppanen for the House of Nobilities in Helsinki features an impressive roster of visiting artists appearing alongside Mr. Jumppanen in performance of the Viennese master’s music. He also performs the composer’s 32 Piano Sonatas in the city of Porvoo, Finland, and appears in a series of chamber music concerts focusing in Beethoven’s music in New York with the musicians of the Orchestra St. Luke’s.

In June 2017, Mr. Jumppanen curated the Väyläfestival – a new nine-day arts festival containing a variety of music, performance, photography, and lectures. The vision behind the event was to found a rostrum for the creative forces of the rural areas of northern Europe and promote artistic collaboration among different genres. The festival took place in locations along the shores of the Tornio and Muonio Rivers in northern Scandinavia, crossing the national border between Sweden and Finland. The second and third editions in 2018 and 2019 presented folk groups, Sami music, avant-garde jazz, visual arts, literature, and classical music. Since 2015 Mr. Jumppanen has also held the position of Artistic Director for PianoEspoo Festival, the widely-known international piano festival in his native Finland.

Building an impressively expanding discography, Mr. Jumppanen recently completed a multi-year project of recording the complete cycle of Beethoven Piano Sonatas with Ondine Records. His recording with violinist Corey Cerovsek of the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Piano & Violin for Claves Records received the Midem Prize of Cannes as the best chamber music disc of 2008. His debut recording was the three Piano Sonatas of Pierre Boulez recorded for Deutsche Grammophon in 2005 upon the composer’s request. The Guardian praised the recording as “the best recorded disc of Boulez’s piano music so far. Mr. Jumppanen’s most recent recording, the complete Préludes by Debussy, was released to critical acclaim in January 2018. The recording has earned much praise in the international press, the Diapason in France giving it full five stars and issuing a warmhearted “warning for Jumppanen’s colleagues due the height on which he set the bar in the beginning of the Debussy anniversary”.

During the 2018–19 season Mr. Jumppanen appeared as the soloist of the two piano concertos by Brahms in Helsinki, appearing with the Tapiola Sinfonietta conducted by Mario Venzago and the Helsinki Philharmonic conducted by Susanna Mälkki. Other recent highlights have included a solo recital at the prestigious Frick Collection in New York, for which Mr. Jumppanen chose the unusual program of selections from William Duckworth’s remarkable Time Curve Preludes, generally considered to be the first “post-Minimalist” composition, as well as the complete Études of Debussy (Books I and II) and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 23 in F minor, “Appassionata.” The American composer William Duckworth, who died in 2012, was a collaborator of Mr. Jumppanen and personally coached him as well. In 2017 he performed a three-concert cycle of music by Debussy, Boulez, and Bartók presented in the memory of the late Pierre Boulez at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. That year he also toured in Australia and premiered a concert-length triptych for piano and electronics composed for him by Perttu Haapanen at the Musica Nova Helsinki festival.

Other particularly memorable performances from recent years include all five Piano Concertos by Beethoven with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and the world premiere of the Piano Concerto by Seppo Pohjola with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Helsinki and the Nordic premiere of the Dynamic Triptych by John Foulds with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. In 2016 Mr. Jumppanen led a project focusing on works by Debussy, Crumb, and Beethoven at the Australian National Academy in Melbourne.

A frequent performer at venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Mr. Jumppanen has appeared with the Melbourne Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra as well as numerous festivals including Finland’s Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival and the La Roque d’Anthéron Festival in France. Mr. Jumppanen has been a regular soloist with Finland’s leading orchestras since early in his career, often appearing with the Helsinki Philharmonic, Finnish Radio, and Lahti symphony orchestras. A frequent performer at France’s Festival Messiaen, Mr. Jumppanen has given a number of performances of Olivier Messiaen’s virtuosic concert-length solo piano cycle, Vingt Regards Sur l’Enfant Jesus. His 2010 performance of the complete cycle at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was selected as one of the top ten performances of the year by The Boston Globe, which termed the event “a rare wedding of intellectual penetration, coloristic imagination, and sheer virtuoso firepower.”

Paavali Jumppanen was born in Espoo. In 1979, at the age of five, he began piano lessons at the Music Institute. He entered the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki in 1992. From 1997 to 2000, he studied with Krystian Zimerman at the Basel Music Academy in Switzerland where he also studied the organ, fortepiano, and clavichord. He has also been mentored by Russian-born pianist Konstantin Bogino throughout his career. In 1994 he won the first prize in Helsinki’s Maj Lind Competition, and in 2000 he was awarded first prize in the Young Concert Artists’ International Auditions in New York. From 2011 to 2012 Mr. Jumppanen had a residency with the Harvard University Music Department, where he was able to realize his longtime aspiration of studying musicology and music theory while deepening his understanding of Viennese 18th century music. Mr. Jumppanen writes a popular blog called Paavali’s Studio. In 2017 The Wall Street Journal published an article by Paavali Jumppanen, telling the fascinating story of the “Appassionata” by Beethoven, Mr. Jumppanen’s favourite piece of music.

Outi Tarkiainen is one of a new generation of composers whose work bears intense witness to the world around it and whose music engages audiences while advancing the art form without compromise. ‘I see music as a force of nature’, Outi has said, ‘that can flood over a person and even change entire destinies.’

Outi was born in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, a place that has proved a constant source of inspiration for her. She studied composition at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki with Eero Hämeenniemi and Veli-Matti Puumala, at the University of Miami with Ron Miller and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with Malcolm Singer. Since 2017 her music has been published by Edition Wilhelm Hansen.

Since her student days, Outi has been drawn to the expressive power and natural truths of the human voice. After making her name as a composer-conductor with some of Europe’s leading jazz orchestras, Outi collaborated with the Finnish vocalist Aili Ikonen on a series of jazz orchestra works including Into the Woodland Silence (2013), a score that combined the composer’s sense of natural mysticism with the distinctive textures of the jazz orchestra tradition, and was recorded for Fredriksson Music. More recently, her saxophone concerto Saivo (2016), written for the saxophonist Jukka Perko, explores ideas of duality and illusion – in both the saxophone and in concerto form itself. It was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2018.

Outi has composed vocal, chamber and solo instrumental works as well as works for orchestra and soloist. In September 2016, the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, conductor John Storgårds and mezzo Virpi Räisänen gave the first performance of her biggest work to date, an orchestral song cycle to texts by Sami poets entitled The Earth, Spring's Daughter (2014–2015). The work’s structural finesse underlined the composer’s handling of large-scale forms while its pained lyricism revealed both her strong feelings about Sami emancipation and her love for the music of Alban Berg. In 2017, Outi was composer-in-residence at the Norrbotten Big Band, resulting in the Prophone Records album Unpainted Portraits (2018).

Outi has worked with ensembles including the BBC Philharmonic, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, the Norrbotten Chamber Orchestra, the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, the Arctic Philharmonic, the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, the Uusinta Ensemble, the Zagros Ensemble, the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Henry Mancini Institute Chamber Orchestra, the Slovenian Radio Big Band, the Norrbotten Big Band, the Umo Jazz Orchestra and the Metropole Orchestra. She won First Prize in the International Jazzverk Big Band Composition Competition in Sweden in 2008 with her piece Oglütz.

Outi has also worked with some of the most distinguished conductors and musicians in the Nordic region and beyond. She has collaborated with jazz legends David Liebman, Randy Brecker, Conrad Herwig, Peter Erskine and Dick Oatts. Her music has been heard in cities from Tallinn to Tokyo. In 2015 Outi was composer-in-residence at the Festival de Musique Classique d’Uzerche in France.

Her heart, however, remains in the north. ‘I have a fundamental longing for the northernmost regions within me’, she has said. That longing was satisfied during her co-artistic directorship of the annual Silence Festival in Lapland from 2014-18, and more recently by her move to the far northern town of Ivalo, 300km north of Rovaniemi. It continues to find expression in her music’s fascinating mix of beauty and brutality, of richness and sparseness.

Andrew Mellor, 2019

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