‘Janne has been on fire all the time (and so have I!) and this time there has once again been an “embarras de richesse”. He has such a multitude of themes in his head that he has been literally quite dizzy. He stays awake all night, plays incredibly beautifully, cannot tear himself away from the delightful melodies – he has so many ideas that it is hard to believe it. And all the themes are so capable of development, full of life.’ (Aino Sibelius, letter to Axel Carpelan, 1904)
Taking up the position of principal conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and artistic director of the Sibelius Festival in the autumn of 2011, Okko Kamu began his musical career as leader of the Suhonen Quartet and a violinist in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. He started out as a conductor at the Finnish National Opera, where he had previously served as leader of the orchestra. In 1969 Kamu started to appear as a guest conductor at the Royal Opera in Stockhom, and the same year he won first prize in the international Herbert von Karajan conducting competition in Berlin, which launched his international career in earnest.
Ilya Gringolts studied the violin in St Petersburg as a pupil of Tatjana Liberova and Jeanna Metallidi, and also at the Juilliard School in New York under Itzhak Perlman and Dorothy DeLay. Gringolts won the International Violin Competition ‘Premio Paganini’ in 1998. Since then he has performed as a soloist at the world’s foremost concert venues with many prestigious orchestras, with conductors including Daniel Barenboim, Claudio Abbado, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta and Vassily Sinaisky. Ilya Gringolts also gives solo performances, for example in Paris, Brussels and London. He is also a welcome guest at festivals around the world, playing for instance with Yuri Bashmet and Leif Ove Andsnes.