New Year 2008

On the first day of 2008 it is nice to look back at the events of the past year! My year was so exhausting and eventful - I had some 15 concert performances in Finland, Russia and USA, took part in 3 international conducting competitions, took part in two master classes, organized some myself, and won an audition in France! Anyway the thing I am most happy about is the fact that this year I quit my day jobs (sorry all ex-colleagues!) and became a full-time professional conductor! I had felt for some time already that working weekly with young students and amateurs was holding back my progress (a topic for a whole post later, I can assure). Now, though financially much more insecure, I feel better because I am able to concentrate 100% in becoming a better conductor!

Even though not a full-time position, the assistantship I won with maestro Kurt Masur and the Orchestre National de France was the most important single factor in making my decision. And the encouragement I got from maestro Yuri Simonov on his masterclass kind of sealed it off! I am forever grateful to both of them, and to a big bunch of other people, including my conducting teachers in Finland and Russia, my supportive friends and colleagues, and my family of course.

The coming year seems, if possible, even more interesting and challenging than the previous one. Some concerts have already been planned, and I have applied to a couple of competitions too. On top of that I have to settle in a completely new environment and learn a new language! I foresee a lot of hard work, but I am sure with that I will also reap a lot of rewards and be wiser and richer at the end of the road!

Summarizing my Conducting Year 2007

JANUARY
3 children's concerts with Pori Sinfonietta, Kapsäkki, Petri Ikkelä and Kosti Kotiranta. 2 concerts with Saimaa Sinfonietta (combined Lappeenranta and Mikkeli orchestras), soloist Olli-Pekka Tuomisalo.

FEBRUARY
Diploma concert with Pori Sinfonietta, soloist Olli Leppäniemi. Master class and concert with the Orchestra of the Estonian Defence Forces.

MARCH
Opera gala of the Sibelius Academy conducting class, soloist Hedvig Paulig. Singing in the choir for Sibelius Academy 125-year jubilee concert. Audition at Radio France for the assistantship with Kurt Masur at the Orchestre National de France.

APRIL
Mostly studying, plus some choral singing with Veli-Antti's choir and orchestra...

MAY
Concert with Finnish Guards Orchestra, soloist Eero Saunamäki. Concert at the 4th Nordic Music Festival, with Hermitage orchestra and Kari Kriikku. Evgeny Svetlanov Conducting Competition in Luxembourg.

JUNE
Hot Springs Music Festival in USA.

JULY
Yuri Simonov Master Class in Budapest, Hungary.

AUGUST
Working at "Hausmusikwoche". Organizing a Master Class for maestro Leonid Korchmar.

SEPTEMBER
Lovro von Matacic competition in Zagreb, Croatia.

OCTOBER
A project with a flute ensemble, preparing for Fitelberg competition...

NOVEMBER
Fitelberg competition in Katowice, Poland.

DECEMBER
A concert in Petrozavodsk, Russia. Two concerts with St Michel Strings, in Hirvensalmi and Mikkeli.