Mika Rannali

Biography

Finnish-born pianist Mika Rännäli has established his position as one of the most extraordinary and intriguing artists of his generation. After his critically acclaimed breakthrough playing the Third Piano Concerto by the Finnish composer Aarre Merikanto on a tour of England and Scandinavia; and after his highly acclaimed New York debut, such descriptions as "phenomenal artist" - Gothenburg Post   -Sweden,   "the young master of the piano"   - Helsingin Sanomat   -Finland, "plays with boisterous energy as well as with lyrical serenity" - Birmingham Post -England, "Mika Rännäli, an artist of the highest level"   - Iisalmen Sanomat   - Finland, "Mika Rännäli, the mature artist" - Kaleva - Finland, have followed his recitals, orchestral and chamber performances all over the world.

After winning the Artist International Auditions in New York, Mika Rännäli played his New York debut at the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall in December 1999, after which Harris Goldsmith, the critic of The New York Concert Review wrote: "Mika Rannali, gave a truly impressive account of himself. Although he is a technically exciting virtuoso, Rannali "plays like a composer" in the best sense: His wonderfully penetrating lucidity unfailingly clarified the style, content, emotional ambience and architectural structure of all the music he chose to illuminate. Along with an impetuosity and charisma that frequently put this listener in mind of his similarly provocative landsman, Olli Mustonen - not to mention Glenn Gould and Horowitz - he audaciously (but quietly) trumpeted himself as a superlative Scriabin stylist. I am sure that we will have a greater opportunity to come to terms with this potently gifted musician´s handiwork: He is, without a doubt, destined to become an influential denizen in the Music World. I am pleased to make Mika Rännäli´s acquaintance..."

Mika Rännäli has toured extensively in Scandinavia, central and southern Europe, Japan and the USA. He has appeared with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra Nacional do Porto, the Tapiola Sinfonietta, the Sinfonia Lahti, the Tampere Philharmonic, the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, the Oulu Symphony Orchestra, the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, the Biel-Bienne Symphony Orchestra, the Flawiler Chamber Orchestra, and he has worked with conductors such as Okko Kamu, Vasili Sinaiski, Howard Griffiths, Marc Tardue, Juha Kangas, Arvo Volmer, Bjarte Engeset, Ulf Söderblom, Jan Söderblom and Tibor Boganyi.

Mr. Rännäli has won many competitions in his native Finland, including the first national Leevi Madetoja Piano Competition at the age of eighteen followed by The Helmi-Vesa Competition, as well as a special award in The Kuhmo International Duo Competition. He has permormed at many festivals, including the Shandelee Music Festival (USA), the Helsinki Festival, the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, the Mikkeli Music Festival, the Espoo International Piano Festival, the Sonkajärvi Soi, the Tuusulanjärvi Chamber Music Festival and Les Boreales de Normandie in France.

Mika Rännäli is also a composer. His works are mainly for the piano with a few exceptions: two song cycles ( "The Ice Mirror" and "While the Aeolian Harps Keep Playing") as well as a fantasy for violin and piano ("Maktub"). His works are dedicated to and premiered by the leading Finnish artists such as baritone Jorma Hynninen, soprano Helena Juntunen and violinist Pekka Kuusisto. Future premieres include the work "Subway Sonnets", which includes five song cycles for various singers and voice types. The poems for the cycles were collected from the walls of the cars of the New York City subway. "Subway Sonnets I" is composed for and dedicated to the soprano Anna-Kristiina Kaappola and "Subway Sonnets II" to the baritone Tommi Hakala (BBC Singer of the world 2003).

Mika Rännäli's first solo disc, Music of Love and Death (2002), contains music by Wagner-Liszt, Scriabin, Schumann, Rachmaninov, Englund, Ginastera as well as Rännäli himself. His newest release Intimate Garden is a live recording and a world-premiere recording of the complete piano works by the Finnish composer Leevi Madetoja on Alba Records (2005). The recording has received magnificent critical acclaim in the leading classical magazines such as Gramophone and American Record Guide.

Among Mr. Rännäli's chamber music partners have been singers Jorma Hynninen and Helena Juntunen, violinists Pekka Kuusisto, Barnabas Kelemen, Elina Vähälä and John Storgårds, clarinetist Martin Fröst and cellists Marko Ylönen and Christoph Richter.

As an artist, Mika Rännäli has an extremely varied musical and artistic background. He has studied the violin, trumpet and piano. In addition, he has been a three-time Champion in Latin American-style and ballroom dancing in Finland.

Mika Rännäli gained his Master of Music degree at the Sibelius Academy, where he studied with Eero Heinonen, Matti Raekallio and Ralf Gothóni. He then continued his studies under the guidance of Nina Svetlanova at the Manhattan School of Music, where he also studied composition with Ludmila Ulehla and conducting with David Gilbert.

From 2002 until 2008, Mika Rännäli was the Artistic Director of the Oulu Music Festival near the Arctic Circle in Finland.

 




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