... just more, bigger and better!
Now that the year’s changed I’ve been lucky enough to have some time to just be. To take a deep breath before plunging into the next term and yes, also to plan ahead a bit. Logically, my updates to this work diary are lagging behind the more I actually do the stuff I’m supposed to be reporting about. So here are some of those things!
In the midst of all the piano playing and designing of last fall, I’ve been delighted to make a comeback to Sweden’s radio. This fall I made four new episodes of the culture talk show Koukku (Hook), recorded and edited by the radio’s very own Kirsi Blomberg. My role was to plan the contents of the episodes, choose the guests and the venues, do the interviewing and contribute to the conversation with my own insights. The subjects varied from the social value of board games and Ingress to Äänet, a magazine for, and by, Sweden- based Finns. In contrast to the programs I made back in 2016, this time I was well out of my comfort zone! I knew hardly anything about Ingress, had never heard of the magazine Äänet, and have limited experience in board games. In a way, this brought some clarity to the talk shows: for example, we got to learn terminology that every Ingress- player is familiar with, but outsiders have never heard of. All of the Koukku- talk shows can be found here.
Mid December I got invited back to the radio to record a Christmas episode of the bilingual program Popula, that’s familiar to me from last spring. The episode is recorded in a nice combo of Finnish and Swedish which is typical for Popula: its wonderful hosts Jasmin Lindberg and Erkki Kuronen are a 100% fluent in both languages. I myself of course mumble my Mumin-swedish in the mix. You can listen to our conversation and all of the earlier Popula programs here.
EPTA conference and Japan
Flashback to late September and the same weekend when me and my duo partner had our concert in Saltsjöbaden. One of the absolute highlights of the past year, and at the same time one of the most stressful days of my career, was when I got to give a lecture about Sonoko Kase’s cluster method at the EPTA conference in Eric Ericsonhallen. EPTA stands for European Piano Teacher Association, so obviously the audience consisted of some of the foremost experts of piano pedagogy.
Sonoko Kase is the founder of Östermalms Musik och Kulturskola and she has developed her own method for teaching the basics of piano technique, all demonstrated in her book Klang i klaveret, and in our presentation at the EPTA conference. The method is based on clusters, allowing the student to start from bigger movements and then move on to fine motor skills. Playing clusters may sound odd to the some people, but that takes away the added pressure of finding a specific key at a time. This way, unnecessary tension is avoided and the student can fully focus on technique.
I was honored to do the presentation with Sonoko in front of a very prestigious audience. Among others, I saw two professors from my alma mater, the Royal Music Academy of Stockholm. Our video footage will later be edited and uploaded to ÖMK’s website, I hear!
Not only that, but my work place also did a trip to Tokyo in November. I was mind-blown by the entire week-long stay and managed to see more than I thought I would’ve in as short a time as that in as big a place as Tokyo. The trick was to get up every morning at 05, which weirdly enough happened without any alarm clocks. The jet lag afterwards was totally worth it. Me and my colleagues took back to Sweden everything we’d learned about how japanese music universities function and what parts of the japanese culture we can implement in our own pedagogic endeavours at a swedish culture school.
Pianoaura organisation’s 15- year anniversary gala
November brought with it some more prestigious audience, when I got invited to play at my other alma mater, this time the Arts Academy of Turku in Finland. Pianoaura is a Turku- based organisation that supports the art of piano music by organising competitions, concerts, workshops and master classes. Pianoaura recently turned 15 and celebrated that with, of course, a piano concert in the wonderful, industrial style, architecture prize- winning hall Sigyn. It always gives an extra buzz when you know that experts of the field are watching and listening you play. So knowing that most of the audience consisted of professional pianists or other classical music connaisseurs made me feel like the stakes were extra high for this concert. Two other very special things about this one were that I haven’t played in Sigyn hall since my bachelor’s exam in 2014 and that my mentor of many years, and a great source of inspiration, Jukka Juvonen, played right before me. In a way it felt like coming home. I’m hoping to get my hands on the footage, which I’m 95% sure exists, at some point!
Wäinö Aaltonen museum of arts
My father did indeed give his farewell- concert at the Wäinö Aaltonen museum of arts. The museum got so full there weren’t enough seats for everyone and the atmosphere was fantastic! Luckily my part was at the beginning so I could sneak into the audience and listen to rest. The now retired Visa Turunen will hopefully join me for some concerts in Stockholm as well. A nice bonus was that this is the kind of concert pictures you get when you play at a museum:
Start of the year 2019
My new year started out slowly but that's about to change. In fact, a goal for 2019 will be to start a calendar- section on this website to update my concert history and notify about upcoming gigs. Another goal is to get professional pictures of my creations in the fashion front. All too often I resort to just a few snap shots with my cell phone camera before the outfit goes to its owner. Here is a sneak peak of one new look I made out of used denim during the holidays. And this time the client was me, so I’ll still have the coat for future photoshoots!
Not your average concert pianist! This blog is a work diary with updates about my life as a musician and designer.