Principal Conductor, Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto Casa da Musica
Principal Conductor, Basel Sinfonietta
Baldur Brönnimann has established himself as one of the finest conductors of contemporary music across the world. He has worked at the highest level with composers such as John Adams, Saariaho, Birtwistle, Chin, Lachenmann, Lindberg, Haas, has performed at festivals such as the BBC Proms, Wien Modern, Darmstadt, Mostly Mozart at Lincoln Center and has conducted significant performances of major works by composers such as Ligeti, Romitelli, Boulez, Vivier and Zimmermann. A conductor of great flexibility, with a broad-minded approach to programme-building and music-making, he believes strongly in the importance of educational and outreach opportunities, and the need to question the traditional boundaries of classical music. He is Principal Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música and Principal Conductor of the Basel Sinfonietta.
Highlights of Brönnimann’s 2018/19 season include a return to the Seoul Philharmonic, and debuts with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg in the orchestra’s Rainy Days contemporary music festival, with Staatskapelle Weimar, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, the orchestras of Valencia, Galicia and Asturias, and with Tapiola Sinfonietta (Finland). He will also be Artistic Director of the 2019 Avanti! Festival in Finland. In past seasons, highlights have included projects with the Oslo Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Symphony and Bergen Philharmonic orchestras amongst others and more recently debuts with the Vienna Radio Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Danish National Symphony, WDR Symphony, Aurora and Munich Chamber orchestras. He also works regularly with Klangforum Wien both in Vienna and on tour.
In the opera house, Brönnimann has conducted Ligeti Le Grand Macabre at English National Opera, Komische Oper Berlin and Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires) in both the La Fura dels Baus and Barrie Kosky productions, John Adams Death of Klinghoffer at English National Opera, Saariaho L’amour de loin at the Bergen Festival and Norwegian Opera and Romitelli Index of Metals with Barbara Hannigan at the Theater an der Wien. At Argentina’s Teatro Colón he has also conducted Schoenberg Erwartung, Szymanowski Hagith, and Lachenmann The Little Match Girl with the composer as narrator and Zimmermann Die Soldaten.
As Principal Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música and Basel Sinfonietta, Brönnimann continues to conduct programmes combining contemporary and unknown works with standard repertoire in typically unexpected ways. Between 2011-2015 Brönnimann was Artistic Director of Norway’s leading contemporary music ensemble BIT20, and from 2008-2012 Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia in Bogotá.
Born in Switzerland, Brönnimann trained at the City of Basel Music Academy and at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where he was subsequently appointed Visiting Tutor in Conducting, and he now lives in Madrid.
Kuva: Jorgos Tsolakidis
Sheng virtuoso Wu Wei has performed with such leading orchestras and ensembles as the Berlin and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, and Ensemble Intercontemporain. He has played with conductors including Jaap van Zweden, Kent Nagano, Gustavo Dudamel, Marin Alsop, Myung Whun Chung, Susanna Mälkki, Ilan Volkov, Markus Stenz, and Matthias Pintscher.
Wu Wei has appeared at prestigious festivals, including the BBC Proms, Paris Autumn Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Berliner Festspiele, Warsaw Autumn, and Musica Nova Helsinki. He has performed in venues worldwide, such as the Berlin Philharmonie, London’s Royal Albert Hall, Log Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet.
Wu Wei has performed the World Premieres of 400 works, including 25 concertos for sheng and orchestra by composers such as Cage, Unsuk Chin, Jukka Tiensuu, Toshio Hosokawa, Enjott Schneider, Guus Janssen, Bernd Richard Deutsch, Ondřej Adámek, Liza Lim, and Huang Ruo. A prolific composer himself, he has received commissions from the Royaumont and Civitella Ranieri Foundations, among others.
He is a winner of Germany’s Musica Vitale competition, German Global Root Award, German Record Critics’ Award, and Edinburgh International Festival Herald Angels Prize, and he was named best soloist at the Chinese Music Awards 2017. He has recorded for the Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, Harmonia Mundi, and Wergo labels. His recording Unsuk Chin: 3 Concertos (Deutsche Grammophon) garnered the International Classical Music Award and BBC Music Magazine Award in 2015. His performance was one of the highlights of the BBC Proms in 2014.
Wu Wei studied at the Shanghai Music Conservatory and Hanns Eisler Academy Berlin with a DAAD scholarship. He has developed the ancient instrument into an innovative force in contemporary music.
Kuva: Elsa Thorp
Jennifer Koh is recognized for intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. A forward-thinking artist, she is dedicated to exploring a broad and eclectic repertoire, while promoting diversity and inclusivity in classical music. She has expanded the contemporary violin repertoire through a wide range of commissioning projects, and has premiered more than 70 works written especially for her. Her quest for the new and unusual, sense of endless curiosity, and ability to lead and inspire a host of multidisciplinary collaborators, truly set her apart.
Ms. Koh was named Musical America’s 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, was a winner in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and Concert Artists Guild Competition, and received an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Born in Chicago, She has a BA in English literature from Oberlin College and studied at the Curtis Institute, where she worked extensively with Jaime Laredo and Felix Galimir. She is an active lecturer, teacher, and recording artist for Cedille Records; and is the Artistic Director of arco collaborative, an artist-driven nonprofit that fosters a better understanding of our world through a musical dialogue inspired by ideas and the communities around us.
Kuva: Jürgen Frank
Maija Kauhanen — one-woman orchestra
A powerfully expressive voice, deep-rooted kantele and inventive percussion: fleet-fingered virtuoso and one-woman band Maija Kauhanen specializes in Finnish kantele and its old and rare playing techniques. Weaving together polyrhythms and organic beats she creates unique soundscapes and compelling grooves.
Maija Kauhanen is a composer and multi-instrumentalist with an entrancing stage presence. The rural music traditions of Finland and Karelia are her main inspiration and she deftly gives their time-honoured melodies a new life.
In 2017 Maija Kauhanen performed at WOMEX among the Official Showcase Selection and since she has toured all over the world. In 2019 Maija performs in UK, Canada, Colombia, Switzerland, Russia, Slovakia, Hong Kong, Scandinavia and Spain among others.
Maija’s first solo album Raivopyörä (The Whirl of Rage, Nordic Notes 2017) invokes powerful atmospheres. The songs deal with the fates of various women: challenging relationships, domestic violence and child-brides are unflinchingly portrayed, but there is also joy, consolation, hope and the mystery of young love to be celebrated.
Photo: Antti Kokkola
Soprano coloratura Piia Komsi is widely known for her virtuoso technique, and exceptionally high and expressive voice. She performs baroque, classical, and modern repertoire with remarkable ease. Many contemporary composers have written music especially for her voice. Her very latest success is the role of Medea in Dusapin’s Medeamaterial, performed at Bologna Modern 2017 to excellent reviews:
Piia Komsi performed with the BBC Wales in the Proms Festival 2016, made her successful debut with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in April 2017, and has recently performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican.
Piia Komsi is a sought-after international performer whose vocal acrobatics, excellent musicianship and artistic talent have taken her all over the world. She debuted at Wigmore Hall in October 2016, performing Péter Eötvös’ world premiere The Sirens Cycle to excellent reviews:
Her astoundingly large range is exemplified in the roles of Venus/Gepopo in Le Grand Macabre by Ligeti, Pamina and the Queen of the Night (Magic Flute), the cello playing Daughter (Komsi began her career as a cellist) Kraut in Ahti Karjalainen by Heinz-Juhani Hofmann, and Brünnhilde in The Ring Saga by Richard Wagner and Jonathan Dove. She received outstanding critiques for these very demanding roles.
Piia Komsi’s latest CD is a new recording of Zoltán Jeney’s Wohin (Presto Classical). The CD Ahti Karjalainen: Elämä, Kekkonen ja teot by Heinz-Juhani Hofman (Alba) represents her first recording as a soprano-cellist. The recording was also nominated for an Emma-award (Best Classical Recording) in 2016. Solaris (Proprius/Naxos) includes spiritual music from different centuries: from the baroque era until our time. The reviews were excellent: “The best art CD of the year” (Kotimaa News). The CD Gamba Nova won the classical music EMMA Prize of 2008 for “Baroque performers with skill and traditional knowledge, who form a bridge between old and new by choosing composers of our time who in turn, inspired by the performers themselves, created something new”.
Text coming soon.
Photo: Heikki Tuuli
M.A. Numminen has entertained Finns for more than 50 years. In the beginning of 1970s, he recorded a song called Kissa vieköön! (Jeepers Creepers) which was a starting point for his success. Later he recorded songs like Helga-neiti, Kumipallo and many others. These songs are still in his repertoire. M.A. Numminen has worked with children’s culture for more than 45 years. His first children’s songs were written in 1970, for instance, Valtava jänis (Giant rabbit), a song that is still in his repertoire. This multitalented man has also written books, one of the most famous ones being Baarien mies, seikkailu keskiolutbaarien maailmassa (The Man of the Bars) from 1986. In 1998, M.A. Numminen published a new book called Tango on intohimoni (Tango is my Passion) which is both a novel and a non-fictious description of Finnish tango. It has also been published in Swedish and German. Also the book Man of the Bars was published in Germany in 2003 as ”Der Kneipenmann”.
Photo: Tomas Wennbom
Finnish-Hungarian conductor József Hárs is one the musicians who were predestined to be in front of an orchestra. While serving as the principal French horn player of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, he frequently works as a conductor with the leading orchestras and musical ensembles in Finland. Hárs has conducted almost all of the professional orchestras in his country, including the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. He has collaborated and toured with various ensembles such as contemporary music ensemble Uusinta Ensemble.
József Hárs was born in Hungary 1976 to a non-musical family. He started taking French horn and piano lessons in the music school of his hometown Pápa at the age of 8. In 1994, he moved to Freiburg Germany, entering the professional studies in French horn and pursuing his career as a musician. After completing his diploma in Frankfurt and a period of working in Austria as an orchestra musician, he moved to Finland, joining the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2006. He has served as the principal French horn player of the orchestra from 2009.
József studied conducting at the Sibelius Academy during years 2011–2014, under Leif Segerstam’s and Atso Almila’s guidance. He enjoyed being supervised by teachers like Jorma Panula, Hannu Lintu, Mikko Franck, Sakari Oramo, Susanna Mälkki and John Storgårds. He sees himself foremost as a servant of the music and the audience, be it entertaining a concert hall full of children, performing for contemporary music fans, or producing music in a recording studio. He manages all that at the highest level possible, with a distinctive style and a twinkle in the eye.
Photo: Erica Nyholm
Taavi Oramo is a conductor, singer, clarinetis and a electronic musician. As a singer, he has focused on contemporary and early music. In 2018 he sang tenor arias in St John Passion with Finnish Baroque Orchestra and Lahti Symphony Orchestra, and featured in a staged production of Monteverdi Vespers produced by Helsinki Baroque Orchestra and Zodiak Dance Theater. As a clarinetist he has performed as soloist with orchestras in Kuopio, Joensuu and Lappeenranta as well as Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra and contemporary music group New Times Ensemble.
Oramo studied conducting at the Panula Academy under Jorma Panula and at Sibelius Academy under professors Atso Almila and Hannu Lintu. He is a founding member, former executive director and Chairman of the Board at Eloa Culture Company, which produces multidisciplinary chamber music events. A major creative outlet has been Oramo’s experimental electroacoustic group, Tölöläb, which combines woodwinds with live electronics to create music uninhibited by genre and conventional expectations.
Photo: Tero Ahonen
Tuomas Norvio is a sound designer and electronic artist. His background is in electronic music and works nowadays between different art forms and genres. He is interested in rhythmical and arrhythmical masses of sound, using acoustic and sampled sounds as a material of his work, as well as visuals and coding.
Norvio has made sound and music for contemporary dance and circus, installations, documentary films and different artists. He performs live electronics as a member of Pohjonen alanko trio and in a duo with Hildá Länsman. He has worked with a vast array of artists like Kimmo Pohjonen, Tapani Rinne, RinneRadio, defunensemble, Johanna Juhola, Pekka Kuusisto, Circo Aereo, Terike Haapoja, Sari Palmgren and Tero Saarinen Co. Norvio is studying at the moment at Media Lab in Aalto School of Arts, Design and Architecture. He has been credited for his work with Säde and Teosto prizes.
Photo: Minna Hatinen