The Schubert Club welcomes highly creative Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, who may be the best thing to happen to classical music in years (The Guardian). Joined by accordionist Dermot Dunne in a program of J. S. Bach Violin Partitas interspersed with Scandinavian traditional tunes, hear Kuusisto “take every piece he performs, however familiar, back to first principles, stripping any vestige of interpretative tradition and playing it as though he were hearing it for the first time.” (The Guardian)

Pekka Kuusisto, violin

pekka_400x250Pekka continually seeks to engage with people across the artistic spectrum, working on new interpretations of existing repertoire alongside original works. He regularly directs ensembles from the violin, including the Australian, London, Irish, Mahler and The Saint Paul chamber orchestras, as well as the Amsterdam Sinfonietta. Recent recital partners include Iiro Rantala, Anne Sofie von Otter, Angela Hewitt, Kimmo Pohjonen and Nicolas Altstaedt. He gave the world premiere of Olli Mustonen’s Sonata for Violin and Piano with the composer at the Wigmore Hall in spring 2013, and later this year he tours Europe with his traditional music group, The Luomu Players.

‘Our Festival’, of which Pekka is Artistic Director, provides another opportunity for him to bring a number of artforms together in a single performance. Based in Sibelius’ home town, Järvenpää, it was selected as Festival of the Year by Finland Festivals in 2011. In 2013, Pekka gave the world premiere of an electronic work inspired by Magnus Lindberg’s Violin Concerto, which he co-wrote with Tuomas Norvio. He has also given duo concerts with juggler Jay Gilligan and performed Sibelius’ Violin Concerto alongside songs and poems from Karelia (sung by Ilona Korhonen) to draw comparisons between them. Pekka has established ‘Our Orchestra’, enabling musicians from his festival to continue to play together throughout the year.

Pekka has enjoyed a number of prestigious residencies, including at the Aldeburgh Festival, the Concertgebouw’s Robeco Zomerconcerten, and as a “Junge Wilde”f artist at the Konzerthaus Dortmund. He oversaw the programming for the 2011 Avanti! Summer Sounds Festival and he continues to work regularly with Tapiola Sinfonietta, where he was formerly Artistic Partner (2006-2013). Pekka is a member of quartet-lab, a recently formed string quartet, alongside Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Lilli Maijala and Pieter Wispelwey, with performances this season including Konzerthaus Berlin, London’s Wigmore Hall and at the Beethovenfest Bonn.

His most recent CD features Magnus Lindberg’s Violin Concerto with the Tapiola Sinfonietta (for the Ondine label). He has also recorded the complete works for violin and piano by Einojuhani Rautavaara with Paavali Jumppanen (for Ondine), works by Paganini with guitarist Ismo Eskelinen (for Ondine), ‘Subterraneo’ (for Liverace), which features Finnish tango works with Iiro Rantala, and ‘Kiestinki’ (for KHY Suomen Musiikki), an album written and performed with Finnish singer Paula Vesala and based on the experience of Finnish women on the front line during World War II. In October 2013, Pekka was announced as winner of the Nordic Council Music Prize, awarded for outstanding achievement in creative and practical music.

Pekka Kuusisto plays a Giovanni Baptista Guadagnini violin of 1752, kindly loaned by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Dermot Dunne, accordion

Born in Dublin, Dermot commenced musical studies aged nine on the recorder with Sr Carmel McEvoy and the accordion with Paddy Kavanagh, later studied with Patricia Kavanagh, and then with V.V. Besfamilnoff at the Tchaikovsky National Conservatory of Music in Kiev, Ukraine, graduating in 2001 with first class honours Master of Fine Arts degree.

A frequent prize winner from an early age at competitions, with over fifty prizes at home and abroad, Dermot won first prize at the All Ireland Accordion Festival from 1992-1995, and also took prizes in France (1992), Italy (1996), Poland (2000) and Germany (2000). In 1995 he was the winner of the RTE Prize at the inaugural West Belfast Classical Bursary and in 1996 he won first prize in the 1996 RTE Musician of the Future Competition-the first accordionist ever to participate in this festival.

Since then Dermot has been a regular performer throughout Ireland as well as in England, France, Germany, Portugal, Yugoslavia and Ukraine, both as a soloist and with various chamber groups and orchestras including the RTE Concert Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra, Ronan Guilfoyle Trio and others. Dermot regularly performs as accordionist and as conductor with Concorde who specialise in contemporary music. He has also toured with the Irish Chamber Orchestra both as soloist and as conductor.

A versatile performer, repertoire has ranged from transcriptions of works by well known composers such as Bach, Scarlatti, Liszt and Mussorgsky to original contemporary works by Gubaidulina, Berio, Yun and Hosokawa. A strong advocate of Irish contemporary music Dermot has also premiered works for his instrument written by the Irish composers J. Wilson, R. Guilfoyle, B. Dwyer D. Gribbin, E Bennett, R. Canning and others both in Ireland and internationally. Dermot also performs regularly with the Nuevo Tango Quartet which performs the music of the Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla to great acclaim in a show titled ‘Bordello to Ballroom’ and who recently released a CD. He also performs often with Argentinean jazz and folk guitarist Ariel Hernandez, and they are due to release a CD this Summer. Dermot has also recorded regularly for RTE Radio 1, Lyric FM and BBC Radio 3.

During his five years in Kiev, Dermot also studied conducting with Y.V. Duschenko and V.F. Sirenko. In 2000 he conducted Donizetti’s opera L’elisir d’Amor for Opera Theatre Company on an Irish tour, and in Ukraine has conducted operas by Tchaikovsky and Menotti. He has also conducted the RTE Concert Orchestra and Irish Chamber Orchestra, and since 2004 has been working as conductor with the Dublin Baroque Players. Dermot currently lives in Wicklow and combines a performing career with lecturing at both DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and Newpark Music Centre.


Date and Venue

Sunday, March 8, 2015 2pm
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Concert length is estimated to be 2 hours with one intermission.

Join us at 1pm in the new Concert Hall for a Pre-Concert Talk by David Evan Thomas.


Pioneer Press Review: Finnish violinist brings flash to first recital at Ordway Concert Hall

Star Tribune Review: Kuusisto gets out of the classical box


Sonata in A Major, BWV 1015
J.S. Bach (1685-1750)

Folk Music Selections
(announced from the stage)

Sonata in G Minor, BWV 1001
J.S. Bach (1685-1750)


Sonata in C Minor, BWV 1017
J.S. Bach (1685-1750)

Folk Music Selections
(announced from the stage)

Sonata in G Major, BWV 1019
J.S. Bach (1685-1750)


Invention No.1, BWV 772 (C major)
J.S. Bach


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