Petteri Iivonen was born in 1987, and began to study the violin at the Helsinki Conservatory when he was four years old. Petteri also studied the piano as a student and remains an accomplished pianist. Petteri won the Erkki Melartin chamber music competition when he was fifteen: Petteri’s nuanced talent as a musical collaborator (as a partner who listens) remains easy to hear even in his violin solo and concerto repertoire. Since 1997, Petteri’s principal teachers have been Tuomas Haapanen and Hagai Shaham. Petteri continues to study despite his increasingly busy concert schedule of solo recitals and concertos in the United States, Germany, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Israel, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Iivonen has performed with Paul Neubauer and David Grossman of the New York Philharmonic, and raised money for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a special Choral room benefit at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Petteri was invited to perform with pianist Ryan MacEvoy McCullough to open The Broad Stage in Santa Monica in 2008. Last year Iivonen performed the Tchaikovsky violin concerto under the baton of Zubin Mehta, and based on this performance was immediately invited to play the gala opening night concert with the Israel Philharmonic with whom Petteri performed the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1. As I write these notes, Petteri is preparing for a South American tour with Zubin Mehta and is scheduled for more concerto performances with major orchestras in Europe, especially the Tchaikovsky, Bloch and Sibelius concertos for which Petteri has become famous. Immediately after playing in South America, Petteri flies to Los Angeles to join Kevin Fitz-Gerald for a private concert and dinner in the home of Ann Moore Mulally to celebrate the release of this album. While much of Petteri’s playing is exceptionally beautiful, he never tries to make the sound “pretty,” I have heard very few violinist’s with Petteri’s ability to control color and timbre, and even fewer who use this ability for such musical and appropriate ends. For our recording Petteri plays a Ferdinandus Gagliano violin, built in 1767, kindly loaned to him by OKO Bank Art Foundation. Kevin plays New York Steinway serial number 567908.
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