Pekka Kuusisto Becomes MCO Artistic Partner

4 June 2018

What are the different genres in music, and how fluid are their boundaries? How do we go about transcending them, and can we – in doing so – create something new? 

These are some of the questions that Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto will, together with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, strive to answer during his Artistic Partnership. 

Ever since Pekka Kuusisto’s first collaboration with the MCO in 2014, his encounters with the orchestra – as a soloist, leader and chamber musician – have always been everything but conventional. Pekka Kuusisto is equally at home with the classical canon and the realms of Nordic folk music, electronic music and improvisation; this flexibility closely ties in with the MCO’s agility in crossing musical, cultural and geographical boundaries. Thus, Pekka’s deep understanding of core repertoire is complemented with a fresh approach that provides listeners with a new understanding of these works. 
Pekka Kuusisto with MCO concertmaster Matthew Truscott in rehearsal

In recent years, Pekka Kuusisto and the MCO have focused on innovative formats and experimental, genre-crossing concert experiences that have taken them from Radialsystem, an alternative arts venue in Berlin, to Reykjavik’s Harpa Concert Hall. In September 2016, when the conductor’s podium unexpectedly stood empty for the MCO’s concerts at the Merano Music Festival and at Beethovenfest Bonn, Pekka Kuusisto and MCO concertmaster Matthew Truscott jumped in to lead the orchestra in unforgettable performances of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and his seventh symphony. This memorable experience strengthened the orchestra’s wish to start a more long-term collaboration with Pekka Kuusisto.

Pekka Kuusisto sharing the stage with juggler Jay Gilligan at Radialsystem in 2014
Pekka Kuusisto leading the MCO in Beethoven's Violin Concerto at Beethovenfest Bonn 2016

This Artistic Partnership will be launched with the MCO’s open-air concert at the Audi Sommerkonzerte 2018, where Pekka Kuusisto is the festival’s 2018 Artist in Residence. In the upcoming seasons, this Partnership will cover a wide spectrum of concept-based projects, ranging from play/lead performances and concerts featuring a mix of different musical styles to formats encouraging discourse between musicians and audiences.

Click here to watch Pekka Kuusisto's preview of his partnership with the MCO!

Photos: Ronald Kapp / Geoffroy Schied / Mahler Chamber Orchestra