Paavali Jumppanen

Heart on Sleeve



Fresh and bracing, like a cool arctic breeze blowing the cobwebs away from musty concert halls.

Paavali Jumppanen. Even his name sounds full of energy. But it is when he sits down at the keyboard that this musical dynamo unleashes his powers.

Jumppanen is one of the many musical prodigies to have emerged from the tiny Republic of Finland in recent years. Is it the remote location, the long winters, an enlightened approach to music education, or just happenstance? Whichever way, it is always a pleasure to experience the fresh insights and intense passion of this brilliant young pianist.

Since his last visit to Australia, Jumppanen has taken time out from his busy touring schedule to undertake an intensive study of the music of Romantic renegade Robert Schumann.

Schumann’s Piano Sonata No.1, dedicated to Clara Wieck, is not so much a love letter as a personal manifesto, a confessional declaration of this brilliant but troubled artist’s character. That his beloved Clara went on to become his wife proves that truth is a powerful weapon indeed. Alongside Schumann’s passionate outpourings, Jumppanen offers two telling contrasts.

The spare poetry and Eastern twang of Claude Debussy’s first book of Préludes cuts through Schumann’s Romanticism to reveal a very different side of the piano. And finally, who better to play the music of Jean Sibelius, the father of Finnish music, in the sesquicentennial anniversary of his birth?

Click here to download the program notes.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre


Heart on Sleeve

Click here to download the program notes.

12 Préludes, Book I

Selected pieces for solo piano:
Reverie, Op.58, No.1
Scherzino, Op.58, No.2
Impromptu, Op.5, No.5
Sommerlied, Op.58, No.10

Piano Sonata No.1 in F-sharp minor, Op.11


Finnish pianist Paavali Jumppanen’s New York debut in 2001 at the 92nd Street Y, presented by Young Concert Artists, garnered reviews of “fresh and exciting” playing and “immense power and an extraordinary range of colors.” Mr. Jumppanen has since toured extensively in the U.S. performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, where he has, since his debut concert in 2001, performed frequently. His New York appearances have included performances at the Metropolitan Museum, Morgan Library and at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. In 2002, he made his New York concerto debut with the New York Chamber Symphony conducted by Gerard Schwarz at Alice Tully Hall.

In recent years, Mr. Jumppanen has dedicated much of his time into exploring music of the Viennese Classical Period. He has often performed the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas cycle and, following one of his Beethoven recitals, the Boston Globe reported how “the sheer, overflowing energy of his musicianship held one’s attention throughout this impressive performance and the result was a bracing and enjoyable reminder of how path-breaking Beethoven’s music was.” Mr. Jumppanen has recently completed a multi-year project of recording the Sonatas cycle. The first part of the recording will be released in March 2014 (Ondine).

During the 2013-14 season Mr. Jumppanen appears with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, performing the five Piano Concertos by Beethoven. In addition he will perform with the Helsinki and Turku Philharmonic orchestras in Finland, and return to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston to begin a two-year project focusing on works by Schumann and Stockhausen. He will also perform recitals in Germany, Switzerland, France, and Italy. Furthermore, the current season includes a tour of Australia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra as well as appearances at the Chanel Nexus festival in Tokyo and Messiaen festival in France.

Mr. Jumppanen spent the 2011-12 season in residence at the Music Department of Harvard University in Cambridge where, in addition to deepening his understanding of Viennese 18th century music, he was able to realize his longtime aspiration to study musicology and music theory. During the 2010-11 season Mr. Jumppanen performed the complete Piano Sonatas by Mozart at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The recording of complete Sonatas for Piano & Violin by Beethoven (Claves) performed by Mr. Jumppanen and violinist Corey Cerovsek received the Midem Prize of Cannes in February 2008 for best chamber music disc of the year.

Paavali Jumppanen was born in 1974 in Espoo, where at the age of five, began piano lessons at the Music Institute. In 1992 he entered the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and from 1997 to 2000 studied with Krystian Zimerman at the Basel Music Academy in Switzerland. In Basel Mr. Jumppanen also studied the organ, fortepiano, and clavichord. In addition to his institutional studies, Russian born pianist Konstantin Bogino has been an important mentor for Mr. Jumppanen throughout his studies and career.

After winning first prize at Helsinki’s Maj Lind Competition in 1994, Mr. Jumppanen has become regular soloist of many of Finland’s leading orchestras. He frequently appears with the Helsinki Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Lahti Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed extensively in Europe, Japan, and Australia, appearing with the Melbourne Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Stuttgart Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra as well as appearances at numerous festivals including the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival in Finland and the La Roque d’Anthéron Festival in France. In 2015 Mr. Jumppanen will begin serving as the artistic director to PianoEspoo festival, the most prominent international piano festival in his native Finland.

Mr. Jumppanen also frequently performs the classics of the avant-garde as well as contemporary works and regularly commissions works from Finnish composers. His recording of the complete Piano Sonatas by Pierre Boulez (DGG 2005) earned the praise of London’s Guardian, calling it “the best recorded disc of Boulez’s piano music so far.” Having worked with Pierre Boulez himself, Jumppanen has become a celebrated advocate of Boulez’s music. His repertoire also includes the large cycle for solo piano, Vingt Regards Sur l’Enfant Jėsus by Olivier Messiaen. His performance of the work at the Gardner Museum in Boston in 2010, subsequently selected as one of the top ten performances of the year by the Boston Globe, was reported by the Boston Globe to be “a rare wedding of intellectual penetration, coloristic imagination, and sheer virtuoso firepower.”