Finnish pianist Paavali Jumppanen’s performance was called “fresh and exciting” with “immense power and an extraordinary range of colors” at his New York debut presented by Young Concert Artists in 2001 in the 92nd Street Y’s renowned Kaufman Concert Hall. Mr. Jumppanen has since toured extensively in the United States including performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston where he has performed frequently since his 2001 debut there. Additional New York appearances have included the Metropolitan Museum, Morgan Library, and Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall; his New York concerto debut with the New York Chamber Symphony in 2002 was under maestro Gerard Schwarz at Alice Tully Hall.
Having dedicated much time to exploring music of the Viennese Classical Period, Mr. Jumppanen has often performed the complete cycle of Beethoven Piano Sonatas. Of one recital, the Boston Globe reported that “the sheer, overflowing energy of his musicianship held one’s attention throughout this impressive performance and the result was a bracing and enjoyable reminder of how path-breaking Beethoven’s music was.” Mr. Jumppanen recently completed a multi-year project of recording the cycle: the first two CDs have been released (Ondine) to critical acclaim; remaining three volumes will appear in 2015 and 2016.
Recent performances have included all five Piano Concertos by Beethoven with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and a national tour with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra as a soloist in the Beethoven Fourth Piano Concerto. During the 2014–15 season Mr. Jumppanen completed a two-year project at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston focused on the music of Schumann and Stockhausen and appeared in solo recital at the Melbourne Recital Center in Australia.
During the 2015–16 season Mr. Jumppanen appears at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston performing the complete Preludes by Debussy and at the Trinity Church Spring Festival in New York performing, among other works, the Hammerklavier Sonata by Beethoven. Concerto performances include the world premiere of the Piano Concerto by Seppo Pohjola with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Helsinki and the Nordic premiere of the Dynamic Triptych by John Foulds with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. In May 2016 Mr. Jumppanen will return to Australian National Academy in Melbourne to lead a project focusing in works by Debussy, Crumb, and Beethoven.
2015 marks the 150th anniversary of his countryman Jean Sibelius as well as the 90th birthday of the French composer Pierre Boulez, both important composers for Mr. Jumppanen. He has championed Boulez and recorded the three Piano Sonatas at the composer’s request and under his guidance. The recording (DGG, 2005) earned praise in London’s Guardian which pronounced it “the best recorded disc of Boulez’s piano music so far.” The music of both Sibelius and Boulez will be featured recurrently in recital programs over the course of 2015.
Mr. Jumppanen spent the 2011-12 season in residence at the Music Department of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was able to realize his longtime aspiration to study musicology and music theory while deepening his understanding of Viennese 18th century music. During the 2010-11 season Mr. Jumppanen performed the complete cycle of Mozart Piano Sonatas at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. A recording with violinist Corey Cerovsek of the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Piano & Violin received the Midem Prize of Cannes as the best chamber music disc of 2008.
Paavali Jumppanen was born in Espoo. In 1979, at the age of five, he began piano lessons at the Music Institute. He entered the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki in 1992. From 1997 to 2000, he studied with Krystian Zimerman at the Basel Music Academy in Switzerland where he also studied the organ, fortepiano, and clavichord. Russian born pianist Konstantin Bogino has served as an important mentor to Mr. Jumppanen throughout his studies and career.
Since winning first prize in Helsinki’s Maj Lind Competition in 1994, Mr. Jumppanen has become regular soloist of Finland’s leading orchestras. He frequently appears with the Helsinki Philharmonic, Finnish Radio, and Lahti symphony orchestras. He has also played extensively in Europe, Japan, and Australia, appearing with the Melbourne Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Stuttgart Philharmonic, and BBC Symphony Orchestra. He has performed at numerous festivals including Finland’s Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival and the La Roque d’Anthéron Festival in France. In 2015 Mr. Jumppanen assumes the position of artistic director for PianoEspoo festival, the widely-known international piano festival in his native Finland.
Mr. Jumppanen frequently performs the work of contemporary composers as well as the major repertoire of the avant-garde. He regularly commissions works from Finnish composers. Mr. Jumppanen has given a number of performances of Olivier Messian’s virtuosic concert-length solo piano cycle, Vingt Regards Sur l’Enfant Jėsus. His 2010 performance of the work at Boston’s Gardner Museum was selected as one of the top ten performances of the year by the Boston Globe which reported it be “a rare wedding of intellectual penetration, coloristic imagination, and sheer virtuoso firepower.”