Juho Pohjonen is regarded as one of today’s most exciting instrumentalists. The Finnish pianist performs widely in Europe, Asia, and North America, collaborating with symphony orchestras and playing in recital and chamber settings. An ardent exponent of Scandinavian music, Pohjonen’s growing discography offers a showcase of music by Finnish compatriots such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kaija Saariaho and Jean Sibelius.
In 2020-2021 Pohjonen opens the season at the Tampere Philharmonic following his debut with the orchestra in 2017-2018. After a highly successful debut last year with Minnesota Orchestra, he returns to perform Mendelssohn’s concerto for violin, piano, and strings, beside Erin Keefe and Maestro Juanjo Mena. He performs Daniel Bjarnason’s Processions with Finland’s Tapiola Sinfonietta and Sweden’s Norrlandsoperan Symphony Orchestra; the composer conducts Tapiola.. Continuing his longstanding relationship with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Pohjonen plays Brahms and Dohnanyi on a two-week national tour with CMS. In recital, Pohjonen will film a recital program for the Friends of Chamber Music in College Station, TX.
Following the September 2019 performance of Grieg’s Piano Concerto with Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota, Pohjonen returned to the orchestra in January 2020 to repeat the program at Indiana University in Bloomington. Additional highlights included two orchestra debuts: with the New Jersey Symphony performing Grieg, conducted by Markus Stenz; and with the Rochester Philharmonic performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Fabien Gabel. Pohjonen made his Philadelphia recital debut at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and returned to Howland Chamber Music Circle in Beacon, NY with a recital. Pohjonen’s chamber performance took him to San Francisco Performances and Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach with violinist Bomsori Kim. An alumnus of The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two), Pohjonen enjoys an ongoing association with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, with whom he played two performances in New York’s Alice Tully Hall and Chicago’s Harris Theater. Also in 2019, Pohjonen launched MyPianist, an AI-based iOS app that provides interactive piano accompaniment to musicians everywhere. Designed and programmed by Mr. Pohjonen himself and infused with his keen musical sensibility, MyPianist acts as a “virtual pianist” for musicians looking to hone their skills or learn new material. MyPianist carefully "listens" to the musician’s playing and recreates the piano part in real time, matching the timing and nuances of the live performance. More information at https://mypianist.app.
Pohjonen’s illustrious resume of concerto performances reveals a musician in demand internationally. He has appeared as a soloist with Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Danish National Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony & Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras, Philharmonia Orchestra of London, with the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York City, and a large number of additional North American orchestras. This includes the Atlanta Symphony where Pohjonen has performed three times. Pohjonen has collaborated with today’s foremost conductors, including Marin Alsop, Lionel Bringuier, Marek Janowski, Fabien Gabel, Kirill Karabits, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Markus Stenz, and Pinchas Zukerman.
The pianist has previously appeared in recital at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and in San Francisco, La Jolla, Detroit, Savannah, and Vancouver. He made his London debut at Wigmore Hall, and has performed recitals throughout Europe including in Antwerp, Hamburg, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, and Warsaw. Festival appearances include Lucerne; Savonlinna Finland; Bergen, Norway; and Mecklenberg-Vorpommern in Germany, as well as the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. With CMS he has performed significant chamber music repertoire with Escher and Calidore String Quartets in New York, Chicago, and at Wolf Trap, among many other programs. Other highlights of recent seasons include a recital debut at the 92nd Street Y in New York, in which Pohjonen performed a program that featured Scriabin’s Sonata No. 8 and Dichotomie by Salonen. In a review comparing Pohjonen’s performance of the same piece in 2019 to his 2009 performance, the New York Times commented that the Salonen “no longer seemed nearly impossible. You might say he played it like a master.”
Pohjonen’s most recent recording with cellist Inbal Segev features cello sonatas by Chopin and Grieg, and Schumann’s ’Fantasiestücke, hallmarks of the Romantic repertoire. Plateaux, his debut recording on Dacapo Records, featured works by late Scandinavian composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, including the solo piano suite For Piano, and piano concerto Plateaux pour Piano et Orchestre, with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Ed Spanjaard. His recital at the Music@Menlo 2010 festival was recorded as part of the Music@Menlo Live series. Entitled Maps and Legends, the disc includes Mozart’s Sonata in A major, K. 331, Grieg’s Ballade (Op. 24), and Handel’s Suite in B-flat Major. Pohjonen joins violinist Petteri Iivonen and cellist Samuli Peltonen to form the Sibelius Trio, who released a recording on Yarlung Records in honor of Finland’s 1917 centennial of independence. The album, described by Stereophile as “a gorgeous debut,” included works by Sibelius and Kaija Saariaho.
Pohjonen began his piano studies in 1989 at the Junior Academy of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and subsequently earned a Master’s Degree from Meri Louhos and Hui-Ying Liu-Tawaststjerna at the Sibelius Academy in 2008. Pohjonen was selected by Sir Andras Schiff as the winner of the 2009 Klavier Festival Ruhr Scholarship, and has won prizes at international and Finnish competitions.
“Pearly touch, singing tone and sensitivity.... [Pohjonen] demonstrated his elegant musicianship throughout the program.”
– The New York Times
“The programme included Grieg’s Piano Concerto, with a fast-rising Finnish star, Juho Pohjonen, as the delightfully unassuming but bewitching soloist.”
– The Guardian
“Pohjonen's account of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1 was positively electrifying, the ideal blend of poise and passion...the pianist brought virtuosity in spades, flitting through the music with a touch that was steely and bright.”
– The Plain Dealer
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