Pekka Kuusisto: the master storyteller | Premium Feature ❘

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Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto is characterized by his unique communication skills as well as his sense of fun. He talks to Andrew Mellor about how his burgeoning complementary career as a conductor opens up new musical perspectives for him

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After the performance by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra of Thomas Adès Shanty – Above the sea at the Örebro Concert Hall in May, a stagehand was given the unenviable task of rearranging the entire concert platform in preparation for Sibelius’ Symphony No. 3 under the silent gaze of a impatient audience.

Pekka Kuusisto arrives on the left, violin in hand. “I’m going to play some Swedish folk music while we wait,” he said, before launching into a polka seemingly suited to the heaving and shifting unfolding behind him. When Kuusisto twisted his belly to accommodate the dragging past of a conductor’s podium, we heard a springy glissando. He laid down his improvisation at the precise moment when the last double bass stool was put in place. Kuusisto’s body language suggested that there weren’t many people in the room who enjoyed his little interlude more than the man offering it to him…

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