First Prize winner of three international piano competitions, including the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition (2003), Finnish pianist Antti Siirala has established himself as one of the finest pianists of his generation. In addition to a stunning debut with the San Francisco Symphony playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 under Osmo Vänskä, he has appeared in America with the symphonies of Detroit, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Knoxville, and New Jersey, as well as the Louisiana Philharmonic and the Mostly Mozart Orchestra at Lincoln Center. He made his debut with the Sarasota Orchestra during the 2015/2016 season performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Worldwide, Mr. Siirala has appeared with the Bamberg Symphony, BBC/London, City of Birmingham Symphony, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie, Finnish Radio Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, German Symphony Orchestra/Berlin, Liverpool Philharmonic, NDR Orchestra/Hannover, New Japan Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo, Residentie Orkest/The Hague, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, St. Petersburg Symphony, Singapore Symphony, Swedish Radio Orchestra, SWR Orchestra/Freiburg and Baden-Baden, Vienna Symphony, WDR Orchestra/Cologne, Zurich Tonhalle, and the orchestras of Melbourne and Queensland, among others. During the 2016/2017 season, he will make his debut with the Minas Gerais Philharmonic/Brazil performing Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Conductors with whom Mr. Siirala has collaborated include Paavo Berglund, Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Stéphane Denève, Thierry Fischer, Mikko Franck, Michael Gielen, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Pietari Inkinen, Kristjan Järvi, Neemi Järvi, Fabio Luisi, Susanna Mälkki, Sakari Oramo, François-Xavier Roth, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Lan Shui, Osmo Vänskä, Mario Venzago, Hugh Wolff, and Xian Zhang.
An enthusiastic recitalist, Antti Siirala was selected as one of four pianists to perform on the piano recital series of the Berlin Philharmonic (the others being Pierre Laurent Aimard, Lang Lang, and Martin Helmchen). He has appeared at the Cologne Philharmonie, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Lucerne Festival, Schumannfest/Düsseldorf, Zurich Tonhalle, London’s Wigmore Hall, and major venues in Brussels, Milan, Detroit, and New York. His debut recording of Schubert transcriptions for Naxos (2003) and his subsequent recording of works by Brahms for Ondine both received Gramophone Magazine’s “Editor’s Choice” award. Piano News awarded the Brahms disc its highest rating for interpretation. More recent recordings include the late sonatas of Beethoven for the AVIE label, and the Beethoven Triple Concerto for SONY.
In 2004, Mr. Siirala’s debut in Brussels exemplified his spontaneity and flexibility: asked to step in for the concert’s suddenly indisposed conductor, Mr. Siirala enthusiastically directed the orchestra from the piano in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Following the intermission, he further delighted the audience with a “splendid rendition” of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations in place of the scheduled Third Symphony of Brahms.
He was immediately re-engaged for concerts with the Orchestre National and a recital at the Palais des Beaux Arts! Pianists for whom he has successfully stepped in include Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Hélène Grimaud, and Ivo Pogorelich.
Though the compositions of Beethoven and Brahms are at the heart of Antti Siirala’s repertoire, his grasp of the entire stylistic spectrum is equally impressive. Especially committed to new music, he has premiered works by Walter Gieseler, Kuldar Sink, Uljas Pulkkis, and Kalevi Aho. Kaijo Saariaho’s first work for piano solo, Balladen, is part of his current recital program.
Also an active chamber musician, Mr. Siirala often collaborates with Jan Vogler, Moritzburg Ensemble, Caroline Widmann, Christian Poltera, and Lawrence Power. In addition to his performance activities, in 2013, he was appointed Professor of Piano at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich.
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“[Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1] Siirala … responded in kind, giving the music its full emotional range… [His] touch was just dry enough to let the more intricate passagework register clearly, and his technical prowess ensured that there was something there worth hearing. In the slow movement, he and Vänskä collaborated on a rhapsodic approach whose clear-eyed eloquence proved irresistible.”
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE