Grünewaldvillan and the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art
I’m happy to announce that me and my duo partner, the cellist Vincent Wistrand, got funding for a concert in Saltsjöbaden! We chose the beautiful Grünewaldvillan as the venue to be able to bring classical music to an inspirational and historical environment. It seemed natural to have the concert in a place that was built around the same time as some of the pieces in our program were composed, and also a place where classical concerts aren’t that common. Thanks to the scholarship from Nacka municipality, we played in the villa on September the 30th. The audience loved our program and that we showcased music from different eras and our skills as both chamber musicians and soloists. I’m looking forward to seeing the footage and having it edited to be published here. We played amongst others Schumann, Debussy, Kuula, Albeniz, Bach and Elgar.
Another exciting event this fall will take place on Tuesday the 23rd of October in Wäinö Aaltonen museum of art in Turku. The museum is very familiar to me from my times as a student in Turku and the last time I played there was in March 2016 in the museum’s Tuesday- series. This time the event is an important milestone in a musician’s career: the soloist of the evening will be my very own father, the flutist and flute pedagog Visa Turunen! He’s retiring from his position at Turun Seudun Musiikkiopisto and organises this concert together with some of the musicians he’s worked together with in his decades-long career. In the program are excerpts from Visa’s vast repertoire that includes blues and jazz alongside with classical music. Funnily enough, although this is his goodbye- gig, it’s also the first time we’ve publicly played as a duo! That’s something we should’ve done ages ago. Retiring from the teaching position at the Music Academy allows more time for concert- planning, so we’ll probably get more chances in the future!
In my previous post, I mentioned my visit to Konstfack to help out the artists Pavel Matveyev and Ricardo Atienza test drive their revolutionary way of investigating the role of old keyboard instruments in a modern context. The project is called Player Piano, and this is what the artists have to say about it:
”We are trying to grant access to the instruments that are not playable. By sampling them and using this material in an interactive environment we allow people to play the instruments that are broken or not tuned (and perhaps cannot be tuned anymore).”
The artists are also trying to make keyboard instruments more accessible to the non-musician. To master an instrument like the piano it takes years of practise and even professionals can have difficulties with certain pieces. Matveyev and Atienza want to ”shift a perspective slightly and look at a piano and other analogue key instruments as a source of sound that can be activated by anyone, regardless of their age, training and experience.”
Mänttä music festival
Then a flashback to the summer, to the 20th annual Mänttä music festival! This was my fifth year working at the festival, and my work assignments just keep getting better. I started in 2014 as a master class student and the crew’s helping hand, and this year I got the wonderful opportunity of combining my amateur reporter skills, my pianism and my love of haute couture in an exciting new project. A little bit surprisingly, I also got to design and execute the layout of the festival’s 20th anniversary photo exhibition! All the material for the exhibition had been carefully handpicked by the festival’s artistic director and founding member, Niklas Pokki. Me and my colleague, pianist Saula Baski, tried to do justice to the material we were working with and set up the exhibition in record time.
Back to the project consisting of everything I love doing the most. At the same venue as the music festival anniversary exhibition, the fashion artist Anne-Mari Pahkala had a collection of works to celebrate her 10-year career. Some of the breathtaking unique outfits had been seen at the annual independence day gala in the presidential castle. We held 4 public dialogues about the elements that Anne-Mari’s gowns and their design processes have in common with classical piano music and its performance. I got the honor of being the host, pianist and interviewer of the events, with a fabulous Steinway Spirio as my instrument. I’m very grateful to the Mänttä music festival board for trusting me with this responsibility and giving me the rare opportunity of mixing up all my favorite subjects into four events.
As for the honorary guest, Anne-Mari is a truly inspirational designer who represents the very top of finnish fashion art. Her work is frequently seen on musicians, politicians, and now also in the collection of The National Museum of Finland. To see her works close-up and hear the stories behind them was a unique experience. The four dialogues between fashion art and piano music were a great initiative from the festival producer and head of master classes, Anni Pokki. It’s very refreshing when a music festival brings together different art forms like this and I can’t wait to do something similar in the future!