Biography

Hailed by Il Gazzettino as an artist with “flawless technique along with expressive interpretation,” Finnish violinist Petteri Iivonen has been praised for his “control and emotional sensitivity” and “colorful details and thoughtful phrasing” (Helsingin Sanomat).

Silver Medalist and Special Prize winner at the 10th International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition in 2010, Mr. Iivonen holds the honor of becoming only the second Finnish violinist to win a medal in the history of the competition. He also remains the youngest winner of the quinquennial Kuopio National Violin Competition.

Highlights of Mr. Iivonen’s career include his appearances as a soloist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia in Belgium, New European Ensemble in Netherlands, as well as the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra. Furthermore, performances in Hungary with the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra, in Italy with the Orchestra Sinfonica del Friuli Venezia Giulia, in Kazakhstan with the Zhambyl State Philharmonic, and with the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, to name a few. In addition, he performed with all of the major orchestras in Finland including the Helsinki and Turku Philharmonic Orchestras, Lahti and Oulu Symphony Orchestras, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Finnish Chamber Orchestra, and the Tapiola Sinfonietta.

Mr. Iivonen has also been heard in concerts at the Muse du Louvre in Paris, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Helsinki Music Centre, Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria in Spain, the Sibelius Hall in Finland, and the Kodaly Center in Hungary. He has worked with esteemed conductors such as Leif Segerstam, Sakari Oramo, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, John Storgards, Hannu Lintu, and Jukka-Pekka Saraste, among others. In 2010, Mr. Iivonen performed the monumental Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto under the baton of Zubin Mehta at the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, Israel.

As a devoted chamber musician, Mr. Iivonen is a regular guest artist at several music festivals inclunding the Naantali and Turku Music Festivals. He has collaborated with world-renowned artists such as Nobuko Imai, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Michel Lethiec, Clive Greensmith, Atar Arad, Frans Helmerson, Michaela Martin, Regis Pasquier, Paul Neubauer, Martin Beaver, Ralf Gothoni, Ara Gregorian, along with the Michelangelo and Tokyo String Quartets. He is a founding member of the Sibelius Piano Trio.

Mr. Iivonen makes frequent appearances worldwide on NDR in Germany and RTBF in Belgium, Israeli Radio, YLE in Finland, as well as Classical 96.3 in Toronto and all across the United States including KUSC in California and WQXR in New York. Yarlung Records released his debut recordings in co-operation with Linn Records in 2009, featuring works by Bach, Brahms, Debussy, Franck, Ysae and David Lefkowitz’s “Eli Eli” (2008) dedicated to Mr. Iivonen.

Born in Helsinki, Mr. Iivonen received his first violin studies at the age of four. At the age of 9, he entered the Sibelius Academy as the last student of Tuomas Haapanen. With additional guidance from Shlomo Mintz, Mr. Iivonen continued his studies with his friend and mentor, Hagai Shaham at the USC Thornton School of Music and at the Tel Aviv University. Receiving continuous support from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Mr. Iivonen will be continuing his studies with Prof. Shaham at Stony Brook University in New York.

Mr. Iivonen plays a 1755 G. B. Guadagnini through the generosity of the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

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