Antti Siirala

"... naturally pianistic and elegant ... real imagination and eloquence ... a dream of wonderfully sustained intensity and dynamic murmur ... sonorous and boldly alive."
International Piano Quarterly

"He took the audience by storm ... like a radiant northern light, the star of this young Finn ascended the firmament of Pianists."
Der Standard, Austria

In a display of artistry astonishing in one so young, a 20-year-old Finn Antti Siirala became Winner of the International Piano Competition in London in April 2000. Three years later he has secured his position as one of the foremost pianists of his generation winning 1st Prize in the Leeds & Dublin International Piano Competitions.

Antti Siirala was born in Helsinki in 1979 into a musical family. He made his debut with orchestra at the age of 7 and went on to win First Prize in the Juvenalia Chamber Music Competition at 13. Since then, he has been awarded prizes in eight music competitions in Finland. A student at the Sibelius Academy with Matti Raekallio and Ivari Ilja, he was also encouraged by Mitsuko Uchida and Murray Perahia. No stranger to international piano competitions, Siirala had already won Second Prize in the Dino Ciani Competition in Milan, First Prize and a special award for the best performance of a late Beethoven Sonata (op.106 'Hammerklavier') in the Beethoven Competition in Vienna before coming to London.

Siirala frequently performs in solo recitals, with orchestra and as a chamber musician on international forums. He has made solo appearances in many important European music centres: Vienna (Musikverein & Konzerthaus), London (Royal Festival Hall & Queen Elizabeth Hall), Milan (Sala Verdi), Paris, Brussels and Berlin. Siirala has also been heard at many important music festivals, including Charintischer Sommer, the Helsinki Festival, "La Roque d'Antheron", the Duszniki Zdroj Chopin Festival and the Marlboro Music Festival in the USA. He gave his debut recital in Tokyo, Summer 2003.

As a soloist, Siirala has worked with many renowned conductors, among them Sakari Oramo, Eri Klas, Osmo Vänskä, Howard Shelley, Leoš Svárovsky, Jacques Mercier, Mikko Franck and Alexander Vedernikov. He has performed with the English Chamber Orchestra, Wienerkammerorchester, Wiener Kammerphilharmonie, Latvian National Orchestra, Warsaw and Krakow Philharmonic Orchestras and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra to name a few. Siirala frequently plays contemporary music, and has recorded for many radio and TV networks.

Antti Siirala's future engagements include the first performances of works by Uljas Pulkkis and Kalevi Aho, cycle of the five Beethoven Concerti and the Choral Fantasy in Finland, and appearances with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Paavo Berglund and Jukka-Pekka Saraste. He will give a debut recital in Tokyo, Summer 2003 and perform with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under Neeme Järvi's direction in 2004.

Antti Siirala’s debut recording of Schubert transcriptions is one of Naxos 2003 releases, which forms part of the Grand Prize of the London International Piano Competition. The recording was chosen as Editor’s choice in the August 2003 edition of Gramaphone Magazine.

Reviews

"... naturally pianistic and elegant ... real imagination and eloquence ... a dream of wonderfully sustained intensity and dynamic murmur ... sonorous and boldly alive. The stuff of heroics and dark pools, flowers and storms. Standing ovation. Victory."

Ates Orga, International Piano Quarterly

"Siirala simply made the piano speak more ... More colours were revealed, skilfully matched to those of Brahms's orchestral palette, and a new and thrilling urgency propelled the finale."

Hilary Finch, The Times

"Antti Siirala left a lasting impression. This pianist I want to hear again. He is a full-blooded musician with a fascinating sense for the quality of the sound, ... but never for its own sake and always with the utmost transparency ... He played with a passion and urgency I had not heard for quite some time ... he makes one listen and discover."

Hans-Theodor Wohlfahrt, Seen & Heard

"He took the audience in the Great Hall of the Musikverein [Vienna] by storm. ... like a radiant northern light, the star of this young Finn ascended the firmament of Pianists. Antti Siirala is endowed with an excellent technique which however - and this is what is so fascinating - is hardly noticeable, disappearing as it does beneath his natural way of playing where every note is alive, every phrase unpretentiously shaped. The balance between spontaneity and reflection would inspire admiration even for a well-established pianist, but does so even more so when it is such a young artist who understands so well how to play the piano."

Peter Blaha, der Standard (Austria)

"... Antti Siirala, ... when called upon to play Brahms's First Piano Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Alexander Vedernikov, ... rose to the occasion, and made a forceful impact."

Adrian Jack, The Independent

"Antti Siirala walks with giants. This young pianist's interpretations are revealing and deep."

Jukka Isopura, Helsingin Sanomat

Website: www.schmidtart.com/artists/antti_siirala