Reading my blog posts from earlier this year I seemed to have a very optimistic view of the duration of the pandemic. I was proven wrong and the U.S. and Canadian tour (more about that here) with the soprano Tessan-Maria Lehmussaari is now postponed until 2022. But good things come to those who wait! Or...? Me and my fellow artists managed to make this a memorable year after all. We did what we could under the circumstances and, as one can guess, learned a lot about tech in the process.
I was one of the many that received a working grant from the Arts Promotion Center of Finland in the beginning of the summer. That allowed me to practise for future concerts in the peace and quiet of the Turku archipelago and made an almost gigless summer much better! My only regret is that I didn't spend more time designing when I had the opportunity. Luckily, I did manage to update my New out of old -gallery (link) with pictures taken by Tessan's sister, photographer Mirella Lehmussaari. When we were shooting our promotional tour photos, we used the studio time wisely which allowed Mirella to snap a few shots of a tablecloth-dress and a coat I've made out of reused denim, see below.
In October me and Tessan performed a handful of our tour pieces at the Stockholm Concert house. I haven't played there since I got the Royal Music Academy's scholarship in 2015 and it was fantastic to be back. Because of lighter restrictions around that time we also had a little live audience in addition to the streaming, which was very refreshing. The event was a lecture-concert dedicated to Jenny Lind's 200th birthday and we were joined on stage by Sweden's leading connoisseurs of song technique, history and the life of Jenny Lind. Watch the entire concert here:
In December, the Swedish Church did their part in making sure people have seasonal music around them despite having to cancel all the traditional yuletide singalongs. Their wonderful digital Xmas calendar (click here, then scroll down to see the "calendar doors" with dates) was recorded as a collaboration between different cities and congregations. Most songs were recorded in Finnish and Swedish and the performers are mostly freelance musicians or working for the church. My contributions to the Xmas calendar, which were recorded in the Finnish Church of Stockholm, were published on the 9th, 13th and 20th December. Here's a direct link to one of them, the others can be found on the website I mentioned above.
Another nice way of maintaining traditions in these crazy times was the annual independence day concert organized by the Finnish Institute of Stockholm. Playing in their concert hall, named after Finland's most famous composer of all time, Jean Sibelius, has been on my to-do -list for a few years now so it felt like a win even without a live audience. I was happy to play with the flute-virtuoso Miia Roiko-Jokela once again, exactly a year after our debut as a duo. Here's a few screencaps from the day:
Thanks to social media and common friends in the movie industry, I met the amazing composer and producer David Engellau in January when he was looking for a pianist to record some of his work. The results of that meeting are now immortalized on his beautiful album Inbetween, which can be found on Spotify. This year went full circle two days ago when I revisited David's studio, where we started working on new material. So I'm already one foot in 2021!
My only new year's resolution is to dedicate more time to the art of fashion, especially if the situation with Covid19 shouldn't improve as fast as we all hope it will.