In my latest blog post I mentioned a collaboration with the soprano Tessan-Maria Lehmussaari, but that I wasn't allowed to talk about the details yet.
Mid-January we finally went official with the news that Tessan-Maria is the recipient of this year's Jenny Lind- scholarship. "Soprano Tessan-Maria Lehmussari has been named this year's Jenny Lind Scholar of the Royal Swedish Music Academy and Folkets Hus & Parker in Sweden. With this, this large scholarship is re-launched in a new collaboration during the celebration of Jenny Lind's 200th anniversary in 2020." (Svanholm Artists website) As part of the scholarship, Tessan-Maria will be sent on two tours: a month in North-America and a month in Sweden. And the tour pianist is yours truly!
But as you know, things aren't really as they were not so long ago. Due to covid-19 much of the culture world is at a standstill right now, many of my projects included. We've had a dialogue with FHP and the Royal Music Academy and at least the first tour is now postponed. It remains to be seen if we're able to do the Swedish tour this summer of if that, too, needs to be postponed to either 2021 or indefinitely. We've worked hard at the program so whenever we do have our next concert or tour, it's going to be amazing!
Tessan-Maria's multitalented sister Mirella photographed us a couple of weeks ago when life was still close to normal and we were still fully planning our tour-summer. Some of the results of the photoshoot will be published in my gallery- section at a later time.
Right now I'm trying to stay one step ahead of the times and prepare for future concerts without a certainty of when they'll be possible again. Some of my gigs have been moved to the autumn term (including one that the king of Sweden might attend!) so it's going to be a very eventful end of the year if we first survive the pandemic.
Now that my life as a culture worker has certainly seen better days and I'm practising with a brighter future in mind, it's also time to reminisce. Here's a throwback to last fall when I visited the piano museum Klaverens Hus with Pavel Matveyev, one of the artists behind the Player piano- project I've mentioned before. This was my first visit to the piano museum after 2017 and it was wonderful to see the instruments again. During our visit my hands were photographed hundreds of times from various angles so that people who try the Player piano software will get visual feedback of what they're playing, along with the sound. I got to see the app in action at a Player piano- open house in Stockholm later last fall. You can read about the project at Nordiska Konstförbundet and Pavel Matveyev's own website.
Mänttä music festival
Last summer I had the honor of working at Mänttä music festival for the 6th time. We had a similar plan as in 2018, of collaborating with the great designer Anne-Mari Pahkala, a true fashion artist. This time she had a bridal wear exhibition at the luxurious Mänttä Club and I got to plan pop up- concerts that reflected its themes of love, companionship and joy. My duo-partner was the lovely Sarah Devoyon, a rare gem of a musician soon to graduate from the esteemed Sibelius Academy with cello as her main instrument. In addition to that she's also an established children's pedagog and singer.
This summer I sadly won't make it to Mänttä due to the Jenny Lind- tour. Whether the latter part of our two month tour works out or not, remains to be seen. For now I suppose all I can do is make the most of these uncertain times and do my part in flattening the curve.