Musician

I violin

Meri Englund

I Concertmaster

Meri Englund
I Concertmaster I violin

Meri Englund began her violin studies at the Espoo Music Institute and graduated with a Master of Music degree from the Sibelius Academy in 2004, having studied with Jaakko Ilves, Kaija Saarikettu and Mi-Kyung Lee. In 1996–1997, she studied with Milan Vitek at the Academy of Music in Gothenburg. She won shared 1st prize in the Kuopio Violin Competition in 2000 and was engaged as 1st Leader of the Tapiola Sinfonietta in 2003. She has appeared at several chamber music festivals in Finland and as a soloist with Avanti!, Sinfonia Lahti, the Tapiola Sinfonietta and the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra. She has also appeared abroad in several European countries and in Japan. Meri Englund has been performing chamber and orchestral music also in California. She plays a violin made by the school of Lorenzo Storioni in Cremona in the 18th century.

Janne Nisonen

I Concertmaster

Janne Nisonen
I Concertmaster I violin

Janne Nisonen is one of Finland’s most versatile musicians. He performs as a conductor, a leader, a violin soloist and a chamber musician. He has been a guest leader with several European orchestras and is a regular visitor at various music festivals. He has also made numerous recordings for radio. Janne Nisonen plays a Nicolo Gagliano violin from 1715 owned by the LähiTapiola insurance company.

Jukka Rantamäki

II Concertmaster

Jukka Rantamäki
II Concertmaster I violin

Jukka Rantamäki began his violin studies with Géza Szilvay and went on to study with Jouko Ignatius, Kaija Saarikettu and Alexander Vinnitsky at the Sibelius Academy. He has been 2nd Leader of the Tapiola Sinfonietta ever since the orchestra was founded in 1987, and he also regularly plays with Avanti!. In autumn 2011, he took up the post of conductor of the Helsinki Strings, a junior ensemble whose leader he was during childhood and adolescence. Jukka Rantamäki plays a Pique violin from 1799.

Sari Deshayes

Sari Deshayes
I violin

Sari Deshayes began her violin studies at the Vantaa Music Institute and went on to study at the Sibelius Academy, completing her level A examination with excellent marks in 1996. She has been a member of the Tapiola Sinfonietta since 1995 and has played 1st violin with the Savonlinna Opera Festival Orchestra since 1999.

Susanne Helasvuo

Susanne Helasvuo
I violin

Susanne Helasvuo graduated from the Sibelius Academy, having studied with Ari Angervo, and also studied with Chaim Taub in Israel. She has played 1st violin with the Tapiola Sinfonietta since 1994, prior to which she was a member of the Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera. She has played with the Savonlinna Opera Festival Orchestra since 1996 and with the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra almost throughout its existence. She also plays Baroque violin with a number of ensembles, including the Finnish Baroque Orchestra, Battalia and Baccano.

Mervi Kinnarinen

Mervi Kinnarinen
I violin

Mervi Kinnarinen studied the violin at the Päijät-Häme Conservatory and at the Sibelius Academy, where she completed a Master of Music degree in 1993. She has played 1st violin with the Tapiola Sinfonietta since autumn 1990, besides appearing as an orchestra and chamber musician for instance with Avanti! In 2000, she completed a further qualification in Baroque violin at the Hague in the Netherlands. Apart from her orchestral work, she has played with many Finnish Baroque ensembles, principally Baccano.

Aleksandra Pitkäpaasi

Aleksandra Pitkäpaasi
I violin

Aleksandra Pitkäpaasi began her violin studies at the age of five. She completed a violin diploma at the Sibelius Academy with excellent marks and graduated with a Master of Music degree in 1999. Her teachers included Anatoli Melnikov, Olga Parhomenko, Seppo Tukiainen and Tuomas Haapanen. She played with the Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra from 2001 to 2006 and has been playing with the Tapiola Sinfonietta since 2007.

Kati Rantamäki

Kati Rantamäki
I violin

Kati Rantamäki studied the violin with Pertti Sutinen at the Päijät-Häme Conservatory, with Seppo Tukiainen at the Sibelius Academy and with Ilya Grubert in the Netherlands. She reached the finals in the Kuopio Violin Competition in 1995 and gave her début recital at the Sibelius Academy in 1998. She has performed chamber music in Finland and abroad. She played 1st violin with the Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera from 1995 to 1997, and since 1997 she has played with the Tapiola Sinfonietta.

II violin

Päivi Rissanen

Principal

Päivi Rissanen
Principal II violin

Päivi Rissanen completed a violin diploma at the Sibelius Academy in 1995 and also studied at the Musikhochschule in Vienna from 1993 to 1995. Between 1993 and 1998, she played with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Soloists of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Vienna Chamber Philharmonic and Klangforum Wien. She has been a member of Avanti! since 1992 and a member of the Tapiola Sinfonietta and the Zagros Ensemble since 1998. Päivi Rissanen regularly performs chamber music at home and abroad.

Maarit Kyllönen

Maarit Kyllönen
II violin

Maarit Kyllönen began her violin studies with Paavo Pohjola at the Espoo Music Institute. Between 1980 and 1986, she studied in Igor Bezrodny’s class at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, graduating with a Master of Music degree. She went on to study at the University of the Arts in Utrecht in the Netherlands. She has been a member of the Tapiola Sinfonietta since it was founded and has taught at the Espoo Music Institute since 1990. Folk music has been an important part of her musical career since childhood.

Timo Holopainen

Timo Holopainen
II violin

Timo Holopainen studied the violin with Henrik Botvay at the Sibelius Academy. He began his orchestral career in the Espoo Chamber Orchestra in 1974 and joined the Tapiola Sinfonietta when it was founded in 1987. He also performs chamber music frequently and is currently studying the Baroque violin with Kreeta-Maria Kentala at the Novia University of Applied Sciences.

Tiina Paananen

Tiina Paananen
II violin

Tiina Paananen graduated from the Rotterdam Conservatory in 1988 and completed a Master of Music degree at the Sibelius Academy in 1993. She has played Deputy Principal 2nd Violin with the Tapiola Sinfonietta since 1993. She also plays with the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra and the Vantaa Pops Orchestra.

Jukka Mertanen

Jukka Mertanen
II violin

Jukka Mertanen studied the violin at the Sibelius Academy and privately in the USA; his teachers included Olga Blasyna, Eunice Wennermark-Price, Anja Ignatius and Paavo Pohjola. He completed his violin diploma in 1982. He was a member of the Hämeenlinna Quartet from 1983 to 1987, and he has been a member of the Tapiola Sinfonietta since its founding in 1987. He has held several elected posts in the field of music.

Salla Mertsalo

Salla Mertsalo
II violin

Salla Mertsalo began her violin studies at the Espoo Music Institute at the age of six and went on to study at the Sibelius Academy in 1982. She has played with various Finnish orchestras as an extra besides playing at studio sessions and working in entertainment and advertising. She has been teaching the violin at the Espoo Music Institute since the early 1980s. She was one of the first members to be selected for the Tapiola Sinfonietta when it was founded in 1987.

Leena Tuomisto-Saarikoski

Leena Tuomisto-Saarikoski
II violin

Leena Tuomisto-Saarikoski studied with Ari Angervo, Seppo Tukiainen and Henrik Botvay at the Sibelius Academy and completed her diploma in 1985. Her further studies included studying with Professor Maria Vermes in Budapest. She has played with the Tapiola Sinfonietta ever since it was founded.

Viola

Ulla Soinne

Ulla Soinne
Viola

Ulla Soinne studied with Anja Ignatius and Erkki Rautio at the Sibelius Academy, with Rainer Moog in Germany and in the chamber music class of the Amadeus Quartet. She has played with the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne; at one time she played Principal Viola with the Queensland Philharmonic in Australia; and she has appeared at numerous chamber music festivals in Finland and abroad. She has played with the Tapiola Sinfonietta since 1992. In 2005, she was given a State artist grant.

Janne Saari

Janne Saari
Viola

Janne Saari studied the viola with Eija Hirvonen and Jouko Mansnerus at the Sibelius Academy, graduating with a Master of Music degree. He also studied privately with Daniel Benyamin in Tel Aviv. He played Principal Viola with the Tapiola Sinfonietta from the founding of the orchestra until 2007 and now plays Alternating Principal Viola.

Tuula Saari

Tuula Saari
Viola

Tuula Saari began studying the violin at the Espoo Music Institute at the age of eight. At the suggestion of her teacher Paavo Pohjola, she took up the viola at the age of 14. She studied with Veikko Kosonen, Jouko Mansnerus and Matti Hirvikangas at the Sibelius Academy, graduating with a Master of Music degree. She also studied privately with Daniel Benyamin in Finland and in Tel Aviv. She has been a member of the Tapiola Sinfonietta since its founding.

Ilona Rechardt

Ilona Rechardt
Viola

Ilona Rechardt studied the violin with Pekka Kari at the Sibelius Academy, completing her violin diploma in 1985. Her studies included one year in Milwaukee studying the violin with Efim Boico (violinist with the Fine Arts Quartet) and violin pedagogics in Professor Mimi Zweig’s class. She continued her viola studies with Matti Hirvikangas at the Sibelius Academy. She played with the Lahti City Orchestra for two years before joining the Tapiola Sinfonietta in 1987.

Pasi Kauppinen

Pasi Kauppinen
Viola

Pasi Kauppinen began his musical studies at the Joensuu Music Institute and went on to study at the Lappeenranta Music Institute and privately with Daniel Benyamin in Israel. He completed a viola diploma at the Sibelius Academy in 1987 and joined the Tapiola Sinfonietta in 1988.

Cello

Riitta Pesola

Principal (Solo Cello)

Riitta Pesola
Principal (Solo Cello) Cello

Riitta Pesola studied the cello at the Sibelius Academy and completed a cello diploma with excellent marks. She went on to study with Zara Nelsova at the Juilliard School in New York. Having won the Turku National Cello Competition in 1986, she appeared as soloist with several orchestras and gave recitals in Finland, several European countries, the USA and Japan. She is a member of Trio Finlandia and plays Principal Cello with the Tapiola Sinfonietta. Her instrument is an Italian Giovanni Grancino cello from 1698.

Mikko Pitkäpaasi

Mikko Pitkäpaasi
Cello

Mikko Pitkäpaasi began his cello studies in Lahti and went on to study with Hannu Kiiski, Aleksander Rudin and Heikki Rautasalo at the Sibelius Academy. He also studied with Frans Helmerson at the Edsberg Music Institute. He completed a cello diploma in 1995 and graduated with a Master of Music degree in 2000. He has played Deputy Principal Cello with the Tapiola Sinfonietta since 1993.

Jukka Kaukola

Jukka Kaukola
Cello

Jukka Kaukola began his cello studies at the Kuopio Conservatory and continued with Seppo Kimanen, Timo Törmä, Martti Rousi and others at the Sibelius Academy. He completed his level A examination in 1990 and also attended courses given by Gary Hoffmann and Janos Starker. He has studied Baroque performance practice for instance with Anssi Mattila. He has been a member of the Tapiola Sinfonietta since 1991.

Janne Aalto

Janne Aalto
Cello

Janne Aalto studied with Timo Hanhinen at the Turku Conservatory and completed his cello diploma with Arto Noras at the Sibelius Academy. He has been a member of the Tapiola Sinfonietta since it was founded. He has performed chamber music at several music festivals, and he has been a member of the Savonlinna Opera Festival Orchestra for two decades.

Double Bass

Panu Pärssinen

Principal

Panu Pärssinen
Principal Double Bass

Panu Pärssinen has been a member of the Tapiola Sinfonietta since it was founded in 1987. He plays Principal Double Bass and teaches at the Sibelius Academy. Having studied with Olli Kosonen and having attended several masterclasses, he completed his level A examination at the Sibelius Academy in 1989. He has appeared as a soloist, given recitals and performed chamber music. He played Principal Double Bass with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1999 to 2001.

Mikko Kujanpää

Mikko Kujanpää
Double Bass

Mikko Kujanpää began his double bass studies with Mikko Rantalainen at the South Ostrobothnia Music Institute in 1987. He graduated from the Sibelius Academy in 2009, having studied with Olli Kosonen, Lasse Lagercrantz, Jorma Katrama and Panu Pärssinen. He studied further with Peter Stotijn and Maggie Urquhart at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam in autumn 2003. In addition to the Tapiola Sinfonietta, he enjoys jazz and period instruments.

Matti Tegelman

Matti Tegelman
Double Bass

Matti Tegelman has been assisted on the rough road of double bass playing by the following persons: Jarmo Hiekkala, Juha Pesonen, Todor Toshev, Wolfgang Guttler and Jussi Javas. The last-mentioned made the greatest contribution. Thanks to Kalmisto for the generous loan of a bass! Matti Tegelman may also be heard on the recordings of the ensemble Jazz Partout!

Flute

Hanna Juutilainen

Principal

Hanna Juutilainen
Principal Flute

Hanna Juutilainen has a Master of Music degree from the Sibelius Academy. She has played flute not only with the Tapiola Sinfonietta but also with Avanti! and various chamber music ensembles and as a soloist. Her performances include both core repertoire and rarities old and new, and she enjoys collaborating with composers. She also teaches at the Sibelius Academy and gives masterclasses around Finland.

Heljä Räty

Heljä Räty
Flute

Heljä Räty began her flute studies with Juho Alvas in Jyväskylä. She studied with Herbert Weissberg in Vienna from 1983 to 1986 and graduated with a Master of Music degree from the class of Mikael Helasvuo at the Sibelius Academy in 1992. She has been an active member of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra since 1987 and has played Deputy Principal Flute with the Tapiola Sinfonietta since 1997.

Oboe

Anni Haapaniemi

Principal

Anni Haapaniemi
Principal Oboe

Anni Haapaniemi studied the oboe at the Sibelius Academy and at the Gothenburg and Geneva Conservatories, graduating with a Master of Music degree from the Sibelius Academy in 2007. She has played Principal Oboe with the Tampere Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic and, from autumn 2009, the Tapiola Sinfonietta. She is a member of the Arktinen Hysteria wind quintet and Ensemble Schrat, and she is also artistic director of the Kaustinen Chamber Music Week.

Marja Talka

Marja Talka
Oboe

Marja Talka began her oboe studies at the Lappeenranta Music Institute in 1981. She gave her début recital at the Sibelius Academy in 1998 and graduated with a Master of Music degree in 2003, having studied with Timo Lehtonen, Matti Jylhä-Vuorio, Sven-Erik Paananen, Aale Lindgren, Jouko Teikari and Jorma Valjakka. She studied further in Paris and London and at masterclasses in Finland. She has played Deputy Principal Oboe with the Tapiola Sinfonietta since 1994 and also frequently performs chamber music.

Clarinet

Harri Mäki

Principal

Harri Mäki
Principal Clarinet

Harri Mäki studied the clarinet mainly with Reijo Koskinen in Finland. Having graduated from the class of Thomas Friedl at the Geneva Conservatory, he joined the Tapiola Sinfonietta. He also studied privately with Charles Neidich and Osmo Vänskä. He has premiered dozens of works, including clarinet concertos written for him by Juhani Nuorvala and Kirmo Lintinen. He is a lecturer in clarinet at the Sibelius Academy and artistic director of the Crusell Week. Harri Mäki has appeared as a soloist and a chamber musician in European countries, in the Far East, and in North and South America. In 2012, he received the Pro Musica award for his merits as a performer and a teacher.

Asko Heiskanen

Asko Heiskanen
Clarinet

Asko Heiskanen began his clarinet studies in his home town, Kuopio, and went on to study at the Sibelius Academy and the Geneva Conservatory. He studied further at the chamber music courses given by Professor Ralf Gothóni and at the historical clarinet masterclasses given by Lorenzo Coppola. His principal competition success was 1st prize in the Crusell Clarinet Competition in 1995. He also plays period clarinet with the Finnish Baroque Orchestra and Ensemble Schrat.

Bassoon

Jaakko Luoma

Principal

Jaakko Luoma
Principal Bassoon

Jaakko Luoma studied the bassoon at the Lohja Music Institute, the Sibelius Academy and the Paris Conservatory. He has been a member of the Tapiola Sinfonietta since 1993. He played Principal Bassoon with the Orchestre de Paris from 1996 to 1998 and Principal Bassoon with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra from 2001 to 2003. He regularly performs as a soloist and a chamber musician at home and abroad, and he also plays period bassoons.

Bridget Allaire-Mäki

Bridget Allaire-Mäki
Bassoon

Bridget Allaire-Mäki began her bassoon studies at the age of 17 and continued her studies at Northwestern University in Chicago and at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She went on to study at the Geneva Conservatory while playing with the Lyon Opera Orchestra. She has appeared at numerous music festivals, including Korsholma, Kuhmo and the Crusell Week. She also completed a fine arts qualification in 2012 and is a provisional member of the Finnish Painters’ Union.

French Horn

Tero Toivonen

Principal

Tero Toivonen
Principal French Horn

Tero Toivonen has been playing with the Tapiola Sinfonietta for 18 years. He completed a Master of Music degree in 2003 and continues to study at the doctoral research unit of the Sibelius Academy; the topic of his artistically oriented doctorate is the orchestra musician and audience outreach. In 1997, he received the black T-shirt of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra on a long-term loan, and he wears it approximately once a month. Apart from his orchestral work, he plays with The Golden Horns quartet. He is known as Mr Horn Teacher at the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki and at the Hyvinkää and Espoo Music Institutes.

Pasi Pihlaja

Pasi Pihlaja
French Horn

Pasi Pihlaja completed a horn diploma at the Sibelius Academy in 1987 and studied further in Austria, Norway and Germany. He played with the Jyväskylä City Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra before joining the Tapiola Sinfonietta in 1988. Currently he plays Alternating Principal Horn, and besides this he also appears as a soloist at home and abroad and performs chamber music with a number of Finnish ensembles. He has premiered a number of new Finnish works.

Trumpet

Antti Räty

Principal

Antti Räty
Principal Trumpet

Antti Räty began his trumpet studies with Juhani Listo in Turku and studied further in Berlin. He played Deputy Principal Trumpet with the Vaasa City Orchestra from 1983 to 1984, and in 1989 he was employed as an extra in the Berlin Opera Orchestra, the Berlin City Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic. He played Principal Trumpet with the Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz in 1990–1991 and with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra from 1991 to 1998. He then returned to Finland to join the Guards Band as a civilian member and now plays Principal Trumpet with the Tapiola Sinfonietta.

Janne Ovaskainen

Janne Ovaskainen
Trumpet

Janne Ovaskainen has been a member of the Tapiola Sinfonietta since 2001. Born and raised in Rovaniemi, he moved to Helsinki to study at the Sibelius Academy after upper secondary school. He graduated with a Master of Music degree in 2002. Apart from the Tapiola Sinfonietta, he plays with the Helsinki Brass Quartet and as an extra with other symphony orchestras. He also plays popular music in a number of ensembles.

Timpani

Antti Rislakki

Principal

Antti Rislakki
Principal Timpani

Antti Rislakki began his percussion studies in 1977. He graduated from the Tampere Conservatory in 1997, having studied with Tiina Laukkanen, and continued his studies with Tim Ferchen and Lassi Erkkilä at the Sibelius Academy. He went on to study with Russell Hartenberger and Robin Engelman – both members of the NEXUS percussion ensemble – at the University of Toronto. He has played Principal Timpani with the Tapiola Sinfonietta since 2000, and he also teaches percussion at the Sibelius Academy.