Haapanen was a former professor and principal at the Sibelius Academy, as well as chairman of the Jean Sibelius Violin Competition from 1981 to 2001

Tuomas-Haapanen cr Fred Runeberg

Photo: Fred Runeberg

Tuomas Haapanen

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The Finnish violinist, pedagogue and conductor Tuomo Haapanen died on 8 January 2024, aged 99. Serving as a violin professor emeritus at the Sibelius Academy, Haapenen was considered a leading violin pedagogue in Finland, as well as a jury member on prominent violin competitions, including the Jean Sibelius Violin Competition.

Haapanen was born in Helsinki on 29 December 1924. His father was Toivo Haapanen, the chief conductor of the Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1929 to 1950. After initial piano studies at an early age, he began studying the violin in the 1930s. Following conscription in the Continuation War, he continued his violin studies at the Sibelius Academy from 1945 to 1948, becoming the first person to graduate with a violin diploma in Finland. He also studied in Paris with Léon Nauwinck and René Benedetti.

As an orchestral musician, Haapanen played in the first violin section of the Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1953 to 1958 and was second concertmaster from 1958 to 1962. From 1951 to 1961, Haapanen additionally served as concertmaster in the Helsinki Chamber Orchestra.

As a teacher, Haapanen was the head violin teacher at the Turku Conservatory (formerly known as the Turku Music College) from 1962 to 1978 and served as the principal of the institution from 1966 to 1978. He also conducted the Turku Conservatory Chamber Orchestra from 1963 to 1979. Following his tenure at Turku Conservatory, he began his role as violin professor at the Sibelius Academy from 1978 to 1990 and became principal of the institution from 1987 to 1990. Haapanen conducted the Sibelius Academy Chamber Orchestra from 1981 to 1991.

Haapanen played a significant role in music competitions, serving as a jury member or chairman of several national and international competitions. He was the chairman of the Jean Sibelius Violin Competition from 1981 to 2001 and served on the jury of the Kuopio Violin Competition, among others.

Haapanen was awarded the Aksentti award of the Finnish Music Education Association in 1997, the recognition award of the Alfred Kordelin Foundation in 1998, as well as the Finnish State Music Prize in 1999. He held masterclasses in Europe, the US and Japan, with many of his students have winning prizes in international competitions.

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