Olli Mustonen

Olli Mustonen

Born: June 7th, 1967
Country of origin: Finland


Triple Concerto
August 2nd, 2015 | Recital Centre - Melbourne - Australia

Conductor: Olli Mustonen
September 12th, 2015 | Llewellyn Hall - Canberra, ACT - Australia


Born in Helsinki on 7 June 1967, Olli Mustonen took his first harpsichord lessons at the age of five and was taught to play the piano by Ralf Gothóni at the age of seven. A year later he made his first composition attempts, and from 1975 studied composition with Einoiuhani Rautavaara. Soon, Mustonen was much sought after, both as a conductor and as a concert pianist (studies with Eero Heinonen).

Since 1989, Mustonen has been playing an active role in the musical scene of his home country; first, he became artistic director of the Korsholm Music Festival and from 1990-1992 of the Turku Music Festival as well. He is co-founder and director of the Helsinki Festival Orchestra, and since 2003 has been conducting the chamber orchestra Tapiola Sinfonietta.

As a pianist, Mustonen has given concerts with numerous major international orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orkest, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonics, and others. In addition, he maintains close working relations with renowned conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez and Christoph Eschenbach. In 1999, he performed the world première of Rodion Shchedrin’s Piano Concerto No. 5, which is dedicated to him, with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. For his recording of ’24 Preludes and Fugues’ by Dmitri Shostakovich and ’25 Preludes’ by Charles-Valentin Alkan, Mustonen received both the Edison Award and the Gramophone Award in 1992.

Mustonen’s predilection for contrapunctally interwoven compositions and works of the 20th century which take up ideas from the 17th and 18th centuries (e.g. the Bach arrangements by Ferruccio Busoni and the cycles of preludes and fugues by Paul Hindemith or Shostakovich), is reflected in his own works as well. The concentration on instrumentation and rhythm as well as the use of genre names such as Gavotte, Toccata or Petite Suite are points in favour of this affinity. Mustonen's works attain their individuality through their fresh tonal language rooted in the sonority of the music of his come country.

In 2011, Mustonen began to explore the symphonic tradition. His first contribution to this genre was Sinfonia 1 for baritone and orchestra which was premiered in Tampere by the Tampere Filharmonia under the baton of the composer. Subsequent performances took place in Helsinki, Russia, Germany, and Australia. The text is based on a famous Finish poem by Eino Leino. Also for his Sinfonia 2 with the subtitle "Johannes Angelos", Mustonen was inspired by literature: The novel "The Dark Angel" by Mika Waltari is not set to music, for the symphony is purely orchestral, but provides the subtle program as found in symphonic poems. This work has been premiered in 2014 by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Olli Mustonen conducting.

While it is the pianist who is to the fore in the concert halls throughout the world, it is the conducting and composing activities of Mustonen from Hausjärvi (Finland) which are becoming of growing interest to the public. As both, a composer and an interpreter, he is "artist in residence" at the Usedom Music Festival in October 2005.

 As a pianist and conductor, Olli Mustonen is represented by Hazard Chase.