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Presenting

Mika Rännäli

Sunday

May 17, 2015

3:00 PM at
Robinson Terrace Living Center
28652 Hwy 23, Stamford NY

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Mika Rännäli, piano

Internationally acclaimed pianist Mika Rännäli has performed in Stamford in earlier seasons, and he is here again this year thanks to our mutual friend Ilkka Kalliomaa. His program, Sibelius and Beyond, celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). Folk music and a singing tone were of the utmost importance to Sibelius. All the works in the program are derived from this fact. Sibelius went as far as to say that “all music has its seed in folk music.” In describing his relationship with the piano he said, “Piano as an instrument is extremely challenging, since it is hard to make it sing.”

Mika Rännäli earned his Master of Music degree at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where he studied with Eero Heinonen, Matti Raekallio and Ralf Gothóni. He continued his studies at the Manhattan School of Music under the guidance of Nina Svetlanova. He has since established himself as one of the most extraordinary and intriguing artists of his generation, who has been described as a “phenomenal artist” (Gothenburg Post, Sweden), who “plays with boisterous energy as well as with lyrical serenity” (Birmingham Post, England).

After winning the Artist International Auditions in New York, he played his New York debut at the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall in December 1999, prompting The New York Concert Review critic Harris Goldsmith to write:

Mika Rännäli, 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...

Mr. Rännäli has toured extensively in Scandinavia, central and southern Europe, Japan and the USA. He has appeared with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, 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 (Switzerland), and the Flawiler Chamber Orchestra (Switzerland). He 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 an exception of a song cycle called “The Ice Mirror.” Absolute Ensemble, a Grammy-nominated New York-based ensemble, has commissioned a work for piano and chamber ensemble from him.

Mr. Rännäli’s first solo disc, Music of Love and Death (2002), contains music by Wagner-Liszt, Scriabin, Schumann, Rachmaninov, Englund, Ginastera, as well as his own compositions. His newest release, Intimate Garden, is a world-premiere of the complete piano works by the Finnish composer Leevi Madetoja, recorded live for Alba Records (2005).

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. He serves as the Artistic Director of the Oulu Music Festival, which takes place annually near the Arctic Circle in Finland. Please visit Mr. Rännäli’s Web site at rannali.com to read more about him and to hear samples of his work.

Admission is at the door by suggested donation of $12 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and students and anyone under 13 years of age is admitted at no charge. For complete details see our General Information page.

Thank you to all of our donors and especially to the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation for your generous support which makes this concert possible.

 

May 17, 2015

Mika Rännäli, piano

Sibelius and Beyond

 

Fiddlers, Op. 1

Närböläisten braa speli - The famous fiddlers from Närbö arrive, in a procession full of color and rustic pomp...

Kopsin Jonas - In the strange light of the nordic midsummer night Kopsin Jonas plays for the forest, for himself...

Jacob Könni - Surrounded by his big clocks and mechanical wonders lives Jacob Könni, an artisan, an artist, a sorcerer...

Klockar Samuel Dikström - Samuel the village organist “improvising” at a lonely moment of inspiration: he fills the little church with reminiscences of of his daily Bach, of wedding tunes heard long ago...

Pirun Polska - A melancholy devil sits on his rock, listening to the dark, mysterious Finnish forest...

Hypyt - In a stamping, jumping dance they whirl, their broad faces are solemn as in the church, but a strange excitement lurks in their huge legs and hands...

Einojuhani Rautavaara
(1928- )

 

Four piano pieces

The Spruce, Op. 75 No 5
Romance, Op. 24 No 9
Impromptu, Op. 5 No 5
Waltz, Op. 24 No 4

Jean Sibelius
(1865-1957)

 

Short Piano Pieces, Op. 31

Shepherd’s Dream
Prelude

Leevi Madetoja
(1887-1947)

 

Wedding March, Op. 3 No 2

Toivo Kuula
(1883-1918)

 

Prelude in G sharp minor, Op. 32 No 12
Etude-Tableau in C sharp minor, Op. 33 No 9
Prelude in G flat major, Op. 23 No 10
Etude-Tableau in E flat major, Op. 33 No 7

Sergei Rachmaninoff
(1873-1943)

— Intermission —

 

Ballade No 4 in F minor, Op. 52

Frederic Chopin
(1810-1849)

 

Finnish Folk Songs

Oh, my darling is beautiful
Sky is so blue and white
March from the city of Pori

Arr. for piano by
Jukka Nykänen



Mika Rännäli, piano.


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