Artists 2021

Artists

Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä, violin

Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä is known as an energetic, dynamic, and diverse violinist, who is frequently invited to perform internationally as a soloist, chamber musician, and concertmaster. Since 2017, she has performed as artistic director and violinist at the Helsinki Chamber Music Festival. As a recognized concertmaster, she has served as the concertmaster of Vaasa City Orchestra (2012), the Danish National Chamber Orchestra (2013-) and the Oulu Symphony Orchestra (2015). Heikkilä appears annually as a soloist and chamber musician in many international festivals in Europe, USA, South Korea, and Russia. She has been a prize-winner at national and international violin and chamber music competitions, and a winner of numerous awards, including the prestigious Pro Musica and Nordea awards.

Photo: Maarit Kytöharju

Hajnalka Standi-Pulakka, viola

 

Jaani Helander, cello

Jaani Helander graduated from the Sibelius Academy in 2013 after studying with Martti Rousi and has been a member of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra since then. Helander was awarded second prize at the Turku Cello Competition in 2010 and 1st prize in the string instrument competition at the ISA Festival in Austria the same year. As a chamber musician, Helander has performed at various festivals in Finland as well as at the iPalpiti festival in Los Angeles and at the Nafplion festival in Greece. He is also a member of piano trio TEOS with violinist Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä and pianist Jaan Ots.

Anna Westerlund, cello

 

Johannes Elfving, cello

Johannes Elfving is studying in the Master's Programme of the Sibelius Academy under Jaani Helander. He completed his Bachelor's degree as a student of Hannu Kiiski. Johannes started playing the cello at the Espoo Music Institute, where he was taught by Petja Kainulainen. During these years, a spark for "cellism" and the wonderfulness of classical music was born. In the cello, Johannes is fascinated by its wide register and its beautiful tone. The corona period has further strengthened Johannes' passion for chamber music. In 2016, Johannes won the second prize in the Erkki Melartin chamber music competition together with his friend, pianist Kiku Kämäläinen.

 

Piotr Zimnik, double bass

Polish double bass player Piotr Zimnik is an active soloist, chamber and orchestra musician. He graduated from Bytom school of music under Prof. Gerard Przybyła. Later he continued his studies with Prof. Miloslav Jelinek in Brno (Czech Republic). Piotr is a prize-winner of many international competitions e.g. the 1st prize at the 19th Annual Leoš Janáček International Competition and the 1st prize at Anniversary International Double Bass Competition in Wrocław. From 2019, Piotr is playing on a temporary contract as a sub-principal double bass with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. From next season he will join the Berliner Philharmoniker Orchestra.

 

Mariko Furukawa, piano

Japanese pianist Mariko Furukawa is a prize winner of prestigious competitions, such as Porto International Piano Competition (Portugal), Grand Prix for the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau (France) and First Prize at Dorothey MacKenzie Competition (US). Mariko has also been an active chamber musician, and she has collaborated with such renowned musicians as The Orion String Quartet, Charles Neidich, Anthony McGill and Jasmine Choi. In 2012, she was awarded a special prize in All Japan Music Competition for her outstanding performance as a collaborative pianist. She obtains MM from The Juilliard School and BM from Mannes College of Music.

Jaan Ots, piano

Jaan Ots is an Estonian conductor and pianist. Ots has conducted the Lahti Sinfonia, Pärnu City Orchestra and Narva City Symphony Orchestra. He held the position of assistant conductor at the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra for the season 2015-16, assisted in productions of Verdi’s Otello at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in 2018 and Bizet’s Carmen at the Vaasa Theater. In parallel to his conducting activities, Ots is an active chamber musician. He is member of Frielinghaus Ensemble and tours around Europe with various ensembles, such as the Amaryllis quartet and the Frielinghaus Ensemble. He is also member of Piano Trio TEOS.