Photo: © Pascal Dusapin

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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.

Karttunen is a passionate advocate of contemporary music and his collaboration with composers has led him to give over 160 world premieres of works by composers as diverse as Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Rolf Wallin, Luca Francesconi and Pascal Dusapin.

28 works for cello and orchestra have been written for him: Tan Dun's Cello Concerto "Yi1", Magnus Lindberg's 2 Concertos, Esa-Pekka Salonen's "Mania". Martin Matalon's Concerto and Luca Francesconi's Concerto "Rest",or Gualtiero Dazzi's opera "Le Luthier de Venice". Kaija Saariaho's "Notes on Light" was a Boston Symphony Orchestra commission for Anssi Karttunen. The most recent Concerto written for Karttunen is by Jukka Tiensuu, whose "Oire" he premiered in Tampere, Finland in November 2014. The Los Angeles Philharmonic has commissioned a Concerto from Oliver Knussen for 2018.  more...

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The Argentinian choreographer Diana Theocharidis and Anssi Karttunen have collaborated since 2003 in 5 productions. These have been seen in Buenos Aires, La Plata, Paris and Helsinki. Their latest collaboration  Un cielo y el otro, was premiered in October 2016 at the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires. The music for Un cielo y el otro includes pieces for cello solo and piano solo by Pascal Dusapin and the world premiere of a piece for cello and piano, Slackline. Anssi Karttunen is joined by the pianist Nicolas Hodges and dancers Alina Marinelli and Andrés Rosso. more...

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The Creative Dialogue workshop was created in 2008 to inspire young performers and composers to engage in a dialogue that benefits not only the two parties but also music life in general. Performers and composers often study in the same institutions, but seldom are they encouraged to find out how much they have to learn from each other. Apart from the immediate personal relations that result from such a dialogue, it will lead to a deeper understanding of how composer-performer friendships have affected the history of music. Anssi Karttunen, Kaija Saariaho and Magnus Lindberg conceived this workshop together with Sibelius-Academy to open new horizons and break barriers.  more...

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Thoughts about the unusual history of the Schumann Cello Concerto The first time I played the Schumann Cello Concerto was in 1982 in Kuopio, Finland and the piece has been my favorite Cello Concerto ever since. I was always puzzled by many details in the piece that I felt were never played exactly as Schumann wrote them. When the Antonio Pacheco from Casa da Musica in Porto asked me to play Shostacovich's strange re-orchestration of this concerto I spent a lot of time trying to understand why anyone would want to re-write the piece. I came to the conclusion that for over 150 years this Concerto has been the subject of so many misunderstandings that it was inevitable someone would try to make an "improved" version of it. more...

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Schumann's Album für die Jugend marks my first collaboration with my wife Muriel von Braun in concert. I had transcribed all of the 43 movements of the piano piece for String Trio and performed them already several times in smaller selections without images. For the first performance of the complete Album, I asked Muriel to create images to accompany the music. She made a series of images drawing her inspiration from listening to the pieces, but not illustrating them directly. We chose together images that work with each piece in a way that underlines the structure of the whole cycle. On this page you can see a few samples of what are projected on a big screen in the concert. more...

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Memories of a dear friend In 1983 I was in London and heard that Rostropovich was going to give the UK premiere of Tout un monde lointain. I went to the dress rehearsal as I had already heard the recording of the piece but never heard it, or any other piece or Dutilleux in concert. I felt that I was at a place where history was being made. After the rehearsal, outside the Royal Festival Hall, at the traffic lights I realised I was standing next to Henri Dutilleux. Shaking with embarrassment, I acted on my instinct and told him how much I loved his piece and that I was also a young cellist. To my surprise M. Dutilleux was happy that someone spoke to him and treated me as if I was a musician he had known for years, he was quite excited to tell that he had just finished the last two movements of the 3 Strophes sur le nom de SACHER and that he would be happy if I played them.  more...

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