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Cellist Anssi Karttunen to Perform at Scandinavia House, 5/2

Cellist Anssi Karttunen to Perform at Scandinavia House, 5/2

The American Scandinavian Foundation will present Finnish cellist Anssi Karttunen performing "Mystery Variations on Giuseppe Colombi's Chiacona," Friday May 2nd at 5 PM in the Victor Borge Theater at Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue.

The unique program features variations by 18 composers from Finland, Scandinavia and the U.S., invited by Mr. Karttunen to create a variation on one of the oldest known pieces written for the cello "Chicona per basso solo" by Giuseppe Colombi (1635-1694).

Karttunen has a special fondness for Chiacona. He has often played the work in his recitals and feels that it represents the beginning of the history of cello.

The concert celebrates The American-Scandinavian Foundation's Gold Medal awarded to the renowned Sibelius Academy in Finland, a major institution that has produced many internationally known musicians, including Mr. Karttunen.

The title Mystery Variations stems from the fact that while the composers were writing their Variations, they didn't know who else was writing; it is also fitting because the piece mysteriously works in almost any order. The individual Variations seem to influence and add to each other, and make for a set that is greater than its parts.

Composers Who Contributed a Variation:
Esa-Pekka Salonon: Sarabande per un Coyote
Jouni Kaipainen: Anything Goes
Steven Stucky: Partite sopra un basso
Kaija Saariaho: Dreaming Chaconne
Roger Reynolds: Colombi Daydream
Jukka Tiensuu: bLeuelein
Edmund Campion: Something to go on
Paavo Heininen: Triple Antienne
Rolf Wallin: Ciaconetta
Fred Lerdahl: There and back again
Veli-Matti Puumala: ...se sillan...
Pablo Ortiz: paloma
Tapio Tuomela: Idulla
Marc Neikrug: Tiny Colombi
Kimmo Hakola: Colombi Variation
Anders Hillborg: Still and Flow
Magnus Lindberg: Duello

"It is fascinating," noted Karttunen, "to observe in these Variations how many ways there are to vary and react to the very simple Chiacona. Some composers took the rhythmic or harmonic skeleton and filled them with new muscles, some took the architecture and filled it with new furniture; others quoted passages or mixed the theme with the musical letters of my name, even making it into a duel between the two; and some ignore Colombi altogether. No two are alike."

Mystery Variations received its North American premiere in 2011 as the final concert of the Creative Dialogue workshop led by Karttunen in Santa Fe. The Creative Dialogue workshop was organized by the Sibelius Academy with major U.S. music institutions in 2008, and offers the opportunity to composers and performers to learn to work together.

ANSSI KARTTUNEN is one of the most versatile musicians in the classical music world today. He performs on modern cello, classical and Baroque cellos, and on violoncello piccolo. Karttunen's repertory includes all the standard cello works, as well as many forgotten masterworks, and he is also a passionate advocate of contemporary music. His collaborations with composers has resulted in his premiering over 50 works by composers such as Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Rolf Wallin, Luca Francesconi, and Tan Dun. He has performed with The BBC Symphony, London Sinfonietta (where he was principal cellist from 1999 to 2005), Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Munich Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philarmonic and many others. His credits also include many recordings, performances at major festivals throughout the world, and conducting. Born in Finland in 1960, Karttunen's teachers included Erkki Rautio, William Pleeth, Jacqueline du Pre, and Tibor de Machula. Karttunen plays a cello by Francesco Ruggeri.

This concert was made possible by a contribution from Maire and Carl Gustaf Ehrnrooth. Additional support was provided by the following ASF funds: The Finnish Fund and The Hippa Roby Fund For Finnish Culture and Educational Programs at Scandinavia House.

The American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) is the leading cultural and educational link between the United States and the Nordic countries. An American nonprofit organization, the ASF works to build international understanding through an extensive program of fellowships, grants, intern/trainee sponsorship, publishing, and membership offerings. As the headquarters of the ASF, Scandinavia House presents contemporary Nordic culture through a wide range of programs that encompass the visual arts, music, and literature, as well as business, finance, and technology. Offerings include art, design, and historical exhibitions, films, concerts, lectures and literary programs, symposia, language courses, and programs for children and families. For more information, visit scandinaviahouse.org / Facebook / Twitter @ScanHouse.

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