Marko Ylönen has performed in as many different roles as almost any other cellist from his generation: soloist, orchestral player and principal, string quartet member, freelance player in duos and trios, and teacher. His repertory is broad, taking in a range of works by C.P.E. Bach, Boccherini, Vivaldi, Haydn, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Sibelius, Piazolla, and especially contemporary Finnish composers like Rautavaara, Kokkonen, Kaipainen and many others.
Marko Ylönen was born in Rantasalmi, Finland, on June 11, 1966. He was a student of Czaba Szilvay at the East Helsinki Music Institute and of Heikki Rautasalo and Erkki Rautio at the Helsinki-based Sibelius Academy. From 1985-1989 Ylönen had further studies in Basel, Switzerland, with cello virtuoso Heinrich Schiff.
1990 was a breakthrough year for Ylönen: he captured second prize at the Turku Scandinavian Cello Competition and was a prizewinner at the Moscow-based Tchaikovsky International Competition. That same year he began a season-long stint as principal cellist for the Tapiola Sinfonietta
Ylönen became a tenured teacher at the Sibelius Academy in 2000 and would go on to become a professor there in 2009. In 2003, the busy Ylönen appeared with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra for the premiere of a work he had commissioned, Jouni Kaipainen’s Cello Concerto.
Ylönen served as artistic director of the Korsholm Music Festival in Western Finland. (2004, 2008, 2010, 2011). one of his most successful recordings is his 2010 Alba CD of Sonatas by Chopin and Rachmaninov, with pianist Arto Satukangas.