‘Maybe the things we worry about are not the ones that matter to the music’ - Pekka Kuusisto: The Master Storyteller

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Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto is characterised by his unique powers of communication as well as his sense of fun. He speaks to Andrew Mellor about how his burgeoning complementary career as a conductor is opening up new musical perspectives for him

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After the Swedish Chamber Orchestra’s performance of Thomas Adès’s Shanty – Over the Sea at the Örebro Concert Hall in May, a stagehand was charged with the unenviable task of rearranging the entire concert platform in preparation for Sibelius’s Symphony no.3 while an expectant audience looked on in silence.

Enter stage left Pekka Kuusisto, fiddle in hand. ‘I’ll play some Swedish folk music while we wait,’ he said, before launching into a polka apparently attuned to the lifting and shifting going on behind him. When Kuusisto contorted his midriff to accommodate the lugging-past of a conductor’s podium, we heard an elasticated glissando. He landed his improvisation at the precise moment the last double bass stool was plonked into position. Kuusisto’s own body language suggested that there couldn’t have been many in the room enjoying his little interlude more than the man providing it…

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