*7 VI 1967 Helsinki
Olli Mustonen has a unique place on today's music scene. As a pianist, he has challenged and fascinated audiences throughout Europe and America with his brilliant technique and startling originality. In his role as conductor he founded the Helsinki Festival Orchestra and is Artist in Association with the Tapiola Sinfonietta. As a composer he forms part of a very special line of musicians whose vision is expressed as vividly in the art of re-creative interpretation as it is in their own compositions.
Born in Helsinki, he began his studies in piano, harpsichord and composition at the age of five. His first piano teacher was Ralf Gothoni. He subsequently studied piano with Eero Heinonen and composition with Einojuhani Rautavaara. As a recitalist he plays in all the world's musical capitals, including Vienna, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York and Tokyo. After one London appearance, The Sunday Times critic wrote: 'He is a living dream of pianism, having broken through an expressive barrier that other players do not know exists'.
At the heart of both his piano playing and conducting is his life as a composer. Mustonen has a deeply held conviction that each performance must have the freshness of a first performance, so that audience and performer alike encounter the composer as a living contemporary. In this respect he recalls Mahler's famous dictum, that tradition can be laziness, yet he is equally suspicious of the performance that seeks only to be different. This tenacious spirit of discovery leads him to explore many areas of repertoire beyond the established canon.
As a soloist, Mustonen has worked with most of the world's leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, London Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw, partnering conductors such as Ashkenazy, Barenboim, Berglund, Boulez, Chung, Dutoit, Eschenbach, Harnoncourt, Masur, Nagano, Salonen and Saraste. This season he led the Camerata Salzburg on tour to Eastern Europe and the Helsinki Festival Orchestra to China; he also appeared as Artist in Residence at the Usedom Festival in Germany.
Olli Mustonen's recording catalogue is typically broad-ranging and distinctive. His release on Decca of Preludes by Shostakovich and Alkan received the Edison Award and Gramophone Award for the Best Instrumental Recording. In 2002 Mustonen signed a recording contract with Ondine. His releases on Ondine include Bach and Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues; a disc of Sibelius's piano works; Hindemith and Sibelius as player-conductor with the Helsinki Festival Orchestra; Mozart Violin Concertos with Pekka Kuusisto and Tapiola Sinfonietta; and most recently a selection of Prokofiev's piano music.