In the span of recent seasons, the imaginative and versatile Finnish virtuoso Paavali Jumppanen has established himself as a dynamic musician of seemingly unlimited capability who has already cut a wide swath internationally as an orchestral and recital soloist, recording artist, artistic director, and frequent performer of contemporary and avant-garde music. Mr. Jumppanen is currently the Artistic Director to the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne, Australia, a position he has held since 2021.
Mr. Jumppanen has performed extensively in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia where he is known for his remarkable expressivity and intense musical curiosity. He has collaborated with many great conductors including David Robertson, Sakari Oramo, Susanna Mälkki, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Jaap van Zweden. He has commissioned numerous works and collaborated with many iconic and pivotal composers: Boulez, Murail, Dutilleux, Penderecki, and his own generation of Finnish and other composers. The Boston Globe praised the “overflowing energy of his musicianship” and by The New York Times cited his playing for its “power and an extraordinary range of colors.”
A frequent performer at venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Mr. Jumppanen has appeared with the Melbourne Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra as well as at numerous festivals including Finland’s Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival and the La Roque d’Anthéron Festival in France. Mr. Jumppanen has been a regular soloist with Finland’s leading orchestras since early in his career, often appearing with the Helsinki Philharmonic, Finnish Radio, and Lahti symphony orchestras. A frequent performer at France’s Festival Messiaen, Mr. Jumppanen has given a number of performances of Olivier Messiaen’s virtuosic concert-length solo piano cycle, “Vingt Regards Sur l’Enfant Jesus.” His 2010 performance of the complete cycle at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was selected as one of the top ten performances of the year by the Boston Globe: “a rare wedding of intellectual penetration, coloristic imagination, and sheer virtuoso firepower.”
During the 2021–22 season, Mr. Jumppanen will perform in Finland, Poland, and Australia. He will be leading orchestras and ensembles from the Australian National Academy of Music in performances across the country; appear in recital at the Coriole Festival in South Australia and Camberwell Concerts in Victoria; and perform as soloist with the Symphony West Australia and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. In Europe, Mr. Jumppanen appears at the Ensemble Festival in Poland, and in Finland at the Turku Music Festival, the concerts of the Savonlinna Music Academy, and on the Sibelius Academy concert series in Helsinki.
During the seasons leading up to near halt of the international arts scene in 2020, Mr. Jumppanen concertised extensively in the United States, China, and Europe. Highlights included a performance as soloist with the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra at that city’s Music Centre in Akademie 1808, a recreation of the full program of Beethoven’s epic 1808 matinee in Vienna: he was soloist in Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto and the Choral Fantasy. Other notable performances included appearances with the Finnish Radio Orchestra performing the Schumann Piano Concerto under Esa-Pekka Salonen, and tours of China giving acclaimed solo recitals at the Shanghai Music Festival and chamber music performances in Shanghai and several cities in the province of Canton, and concerts in Hong Kong with violinist Dan Zhu and the New Helsinki String Quartet.
As a dedicated performer and scholar of Beethoven, during 2020-21, Mr. Jumppanen presented a variety of programs celebrating the composer’s 250th anniversary. He curated a concert series entitled Beethoven’s Story for the House of Nobilities in Helsinki which featured an impressive roster of visiting artists appearing alongside Mr. Jumppanen in performances of the Viennese master’s music. He performed all 32 of the composer’s piano sonatas in the Pori, Finland, and was set to appeared in a series of concerts celebrating Beethoven with the musicians of the Orchestra St. Luke’s in New York, these very concerts being among the first canceled when the Covid-19 pandemic closed the city.
During the 2018–19 season Mr. Jumppanen appeared as soloist of Brahms’s two piano concertos in Helsinki with the Tapiola Sinfonietta led by Mario Venzago and the Helsinki Philharmonic under by Susanna Mälkki. Other highlights have included a solo recital at the prestigious Frick Collection in New York, the unusual program for which featured selections from William Duckworth’s remarkable Time Curve Preludes, generally considered to be the first “post-Minimalist” composition, as well as the complete Études of Debussy, and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 23 in F minor, “Appassionata.” The American composer William Duckworth, who died in 2012, collaborated with and personally coached the pianist. Mr. Jumppanen celebrated an earlier close relationship with a composer when he performed a three-concert cycle of music by Debussy, Boulez, and Bartók presented in the memory of the late Pierre Boulez in 2017 at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Other particularly memorable performances from recent years include playing all five Piano Concertos by Beethoven with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and giving the world premiere of Seppo Pohjola’s Piano Concerto with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Helsinki and the Nordic premiere of John Foulds’s Dynamic Triptych with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. Another world premiere of particular significance was presented by Musica Nova Helsinki, that being a concert-length triptych for piano and electronics composed for Mr. Jumppanen by Perttu Haapanen. Import to Mr. Jumppanen personally was also the invitation to perform at the inauguration of the Renzo Piano recital hall built for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
As a dedicated curator of music, Paavali Jumppanen is a co-founder and the lead-curator of the Väyläfestival, a wide-ranging arts festival at venues along the shores of the Torne River in northern Scandinavia, crossing the national borders of Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Founded in 2017, the vision for the event was to establish a platform for the creative forces of the rural areas of northern Europe and promote artistic collaboration among different genres. To date the festival has presented folk groups, Sami music, avant-garde jazz, visual arts, literature, poetry, photography, lectures, performance art, and classical music. From 2015 to 2021, Mr. Jumppanen held the position of Artistic Director for the PianoEspoo Festival, a renowned international piano festival held in Finland. In 2022 he moved with his family to Melbourne to assume the duties of Artistic Director to the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM).
Building an impressively expanding discography, Mr. Jumppanen has recorded the complete cycle of Beethoven Piano Sonatas with Ondine Records. His recording with violinist Corey Cerovsek of the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Piano & Violin for the Claves Records label received the Midem Prize of Cannes as the best chamber music disc of 2008. His debut recording was of the three Piano Sonatas of Pierre Boulez recorded for Deutsche Grammophon in 2005 at the composer’s request. The Guardian called this “the best recorded disc of Boulez’s piano music so far.” Mr. Jumppanen’s most recent recording, the complete Préludes of Debussy, was released to critical acclaim in January 2018. The recording earned much praise in the international press, France’s Diapason giving it a full five stars and issuing a warmhearted “warning for Jumppanen’s colleagues of the height on which he set the bar in the beginning of the Debussy anniversary.”
Paavali Jumppanen was born in Espoo. In 1979, at the age of five, he began piano lessons at the Music Institute. He entered the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki in 1992. From 1997 to 2000, he studied with Krystian Zimerman at the Basel Music Academy in Switzerland where he also studied the organ, fortepiano, and clavichord. He has also been mentored by Russian-born pianist Konstantin Bogino throughout his career. In 1994 he won the first prize in Helsinki’s Maj Lind Competition, and in 2000 he was awarded first prize in the Young Concert Artists’ International Auditions in New York. In 2011- 2012, Mr. Jumppanen was a visiting scholar in residence in the Department of Music of Harvard University where he was able to realize a longtime aspiration by studying musicology and music theory for the purpose of deepening his appreciation, understanding, and approach to Viennese 18th century music. He writes a popular blog called Paavali’s Studio. In 2017, the Wall Street Journal published an article by Paavali Jumppanen, relating the fascinating story of the Beethoven’s “Appassionata,” the pianist’s favourite piece of music.
Follow Paavali’s blog at www.paavalijumppanen.com
“fresh and exciting playing” and “immense power and an extraordinary range of colors” New York Times
“a rare wedding of intellectual penetration, coloristic imagination, and sheer virtuoso firepower” Boston Globe
- “Jumppanen added more glory to his glowing overseas reviews. His Brisbane performance showed they were no idle claims. He is everything the critics say of him, and more.”Brisbane Courier Maillive review
- “Paavali Jumppanen seems to have acquired his teacher’s [Zimerman] phenomenal range of keyboard touch and colour, and he applies it with such intelligence to Boulez’s surging keyboard writing that the music acquires a new immediacy. The result is the finest and best-recorded disc of Boulez’s piano music so far.”The Gaurdianlive review