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Anssi Karttunen

About this Artist

Finnish cellist ANSSI KARTTUNEN is one of the most renowned and versatile musicians in the classical music world today and enjoys a busy career as a soloist and chamber music player. He performs on modern cello, classical and Baroque cellos, and on violoncello piccolo. Karttunen performs all the standard cello works, but has also discovered many forgotten masterPeoples and arranged a number of Peoples for cello.

He is a passionate advocate of contemporary music and his collaboration with composers has led him to give over 50 world premieres of works by composers such as Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Rolf Wallin, Luca Francesconi, and Tan Dun. He gave the world premieres of Magnus Lindberg’s Cello Concerto in 1999 with the Orchestre de Paris, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s & in 2000 with Avanti!, Martin Matalon’s Cello Concerto in 2001 with the Orchestre National de France, and Luca Francesconi’s Cello Concerto in 2004 with RAI Torino. The Boston Symphony Orchestra commissioned a concerto from Kaija Saariaho for Karttunen, which received its premiere in February 2007. The European premiere took place in March 2007 with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and subsequent performances of the work are confirmed with Swedish Radio, the NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the Orchestre de Paris, among others.

Anssi Karttunen has worked with outstanding orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Symphony, the London Sinfonietta, the NHK Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic, the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the SWR Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Ensemble Modern, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Residentie Orchestra, the Dutch Radio Philharmonic, the Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra, the Barcelona Opera Orchestra, the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Orchestra, the Danish Radio Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic, the RAI Torino, the Luxembourg Philharmonic, the Finnish Radio Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, Avanti!, and many others. He performs at major festivals in Europe including Edinburgh, Salzburg, Lockenhaus, Spoleto, Berlin, Venice, Montpellier, Strasbourg, and Helsinki.

Karttunen’s discography ranges from the complete Beethoven works for cello and fortepiano (on period instruments) and 20th-century works for solo cello to concertos with the London Sinfonietta, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen. He is a founding member of, a non-profit organization for the production and sales of CDs on the internet. He appears on the first contemporary music CD-ROM: &, in music of Kaija Saariaho. Deutsche Grammophon issued a DVD of Tan Dun’s & for cello, orchestra, and video, and Sony Classical released CDs of the cello concertos by Lindberg, Saariaho, and Salonen.

Anssi Karttunen was born in 1960. His teachers included Erkki Rautio, William Pleeth, Jacqueline du Pré, and Tibor de Machula. Between 1994 and 1998, he was artistic director of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra. He was also artistic director of the 1995 Helsinki Biennale and the Suvisoitto-Festival in Porvoo, Finland from 1994-1997. From December 1999 to June 2005, Karttunen was principal cellist of the London Sinfonietta. He has also appeared as conductor: in February 2000 he conducted Lindberg’s & in Antwerp on short notice and in January 2003 he led an ensemble of cellos from the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Anssi Karttunen plays a cello by Francesco Ruggeri.