Anssi Karttunen cellist

He is a passionate advocate of contemporary music and his collaboration with composers has led him to give over 135 world premieres of works by composers such as Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Rolf Wallin, Luca Francesconi and Tan Dun.

23 works for cello and orchestra have been written for him: Tan Dun's Cello Concerto Yi1, Magnus Lindberg's Cello Concerto, Esa-Pekka Salonen's Concerto "Mania". Martin Matalon's Cello Concerto and Luca Francesconi's Cello Concerto "Rest". Kaija Saariaho's Concerto "Notes on Light" was a Boston Symphony Orchestra commission for Anssi Karttunen and Los Angeles Philharmonic has commissioned a Concerto from Oliver Knussen.

Anssi Karttunen performs all the standard cello works, but has also discovered many forgotten masterpieces and transcribed numerous pieces for cello, or chamber ensembles. His transcriptions include Brahms's Piano Quintet for String Quintet and Händel-Variations op. 24 for String Trio, Schumann's Cello Concerto for Cello and String Quartet and Album for the Young for String Trio.

Karttunen plays in the Zebra Trio with the Austrian violinist Ernst Kovacic and Canadian viola player Steven Dann. He also appears in recitals with Magnus Lindberg, with the violinist Jennifer Koh and with the clarinettist Chen Halevi.

He plays with many of the best orchestras of the world and in recitals and chamber music at major festivals in Europe: Edinburgh, Salzburg, Lockenhaus, Spoleto, Berlin, Venice, Montpellier, Strasbourg, Helsinki etc..

The CD´s of Anssi Karttunen range from the complete Beethoven works for cello and fortepiano on period instruments and 20th-Century works for solo cello to concertos with London Sinfonietta, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestra with Esa-Pekka Salonen. Sony Classical issued CDs of the Concertos of Lindberg, Saariaho and Salonen. Deutsche Grammophon issued a DVD of Tan Dun's The Map for cello, video and Orchestra. He appeared on the first ever contemporary music CD-ROM: Prisma, on music of Kaija Saariaho.

Anssi Karttunen also performs as a conductor. He has conducted Lindberg's Kraft with the Flanders Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic cello ensemble, the Gaida Ensemble in Vilnius, NJO String Orchestra etc.

He is a founding member of, a non-profit organisation for the production and sale of CDs and scores on the Internet.

Between 1994 and 1998 Mr Karttunen was the artistic director of the Avanti!-Chamber Orchestra. He was the artistic director of the 1995 and 1997 Helsinki Biennale and the Suvisoitto-festival in Porvoo, Finland from 1994 to 1997. From 1999 to 2005 Anssi Karttunen was the principal cellist of the London Sinfonietta.

His teachers included Erkki Rautio, William Pleeth, Jacqueline du Pré and Tibor de Machula.

Karttunen plays on a cello made by Francesco Ruggieri in Cremona circa 1670.


Some of the orchestras Karttunen performs with:

Philadelphia Orchestra

Los Angeles Philharmonic

Boston Symphony Orchestra

St. Louis Symphony

New World Symphony

Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Philharmonia Orchestra

Royal Opera House orchestra

BBC Symphony

BBC Philharmonic

BBC Scottish

Scottish Chamber Orchestra

London Sinfonietta

Orchestre de Paris

Orchestre National de France

Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France

Ensemble Orchestral de Paris


DSO Berlin

Berliner Symphoniker

NDR Orchestra

Hamburg Philharmonic

Hessischer Rundfunk Orchestra

SWR Orchestra

Munich Philharmonic

Munich Chamber Orchestra

Ensemble Modern

Royal Goncertgebouw Orchestra

Rotterdam Philharmonic

Residentie Orchestra

Dutch Radio Symphony

Dutch Radio Philharmonic

Dutch Radio Chamber orchestra

Asko|Schönberg Ensemble

NJO Symphony Orchestra

RAI Torino

Filarmonica della Scala

Orchestra della Toscana

Luxembourg Philharmonic

Flanders Philharmonic

Belgian Radio Orchestra

NHK Orchestra

Tokyo Philharmonic

Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra

Hong Kong Sinfonietta

Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra

Shanghai Symphony

Beijing Symphony

Taipei Chinese Orchestra

Singapore Symphony Orhestra

Barcelona Opera Orchestra

Barcelona Symphony Orchestra

Navarra Symphony Orchestra

Bilbao Symphony Orchestra

Barcelona 216 Ensemble

Filarmónica de Buenos Aires

Orquesta Municipal de Caracas

Sinfonica Simon Bolivar de Caracas

Swedish Radio Orchestra

Danish Radio Orchestra

Oslo Philharmonic

Finnish Radio Orchestra

Helsinki Philharmonic

Avanti!-Chamber Orchestra

Kaija Saariaho

Tan Dun

Esa-Pekka Salonen

Some of the composers Anssi Karttunen works with:

Magnus Lindberg

The Finnish cellist Anssi Karttunen leads a busy career as a soloist and chamber-music player, performing extensively with many of the best orchestras and musicians of the world.

photo © Muriel von Braun