These are some of the questions that Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto will, together with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, strive to answer during his Artistic Partnership.
Ever since Pekka Kuusisto’s first collaboration with the MCO in 2014, his encounters with the Orchestra – as a soloist, leader and chamber musician – have always been everything but conventional. Pekka Kuusisto is equally at home with the classical canon and the realms of Nordic folk music, electronic music and improvisation; this flexibility closely ties in with the MCO’s agility in crossing musical, cultural and geographical boundaries. Thus, Pekka’s deep understanding of core repertoire is complemented with a fresh approach that provides listeners with a new understanding of these works.
In recent years, Pekka Kuusisto and the MCO have focused on innovative formats and experimental, genre-crossing concert experiences that have taken them from Radialsystem, an alternative arts venue in Berlin, to Reykjavik’s Harpa Concert Hall. In September 2016, when the conductor’s podium unexpectedly stood empty for the MCO’s concerts at the Merano Music Festival and at Beethovenfest Bonn, Pekka Kuusisto and MCO concertmaster Matthew Truscott jumped in to lead the orchestra in unforgettable performances of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and his seventh symphony. This memorable experience strengthened the orchestra’s wish to start a more long-term collaboration with Pekka Kuusisto.
This Artistic Partnership will be launched with the MCO’s open-air concert at the Audi Sommerkonzerte 2018, where Pekka Kuusisto is the festival’s 2018 Artist in Residence. In the upcoming seasons, this Partnership will cover a wide spectrum of concept-based projects, ranging from play/lead performances and concerts featuring a mix of different musical styles to formats encouraging discourse between musicians and audiences.