Anssi Karttunen has always been on the cutting edge of classical music performance and is one of the most innovative cellists in today’s international music scene. He subsequently built up a worldwide reputation both as a soloist and chamber musician. In his repertoire, he takes a fresh look at the work of well-known composers and brings forgotten masterpieces to the public ear, as well as his own original transcriptions. He plays on modern, classical, and baroque cellos, as well as the violoncello piccolo.
Highlights of his 2016/17 season include the German and UK premieres of Magnus Lindberg’s Cello Concerto No. 2 (which he first performed in 2013 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen) with the Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, both conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste.
Anssi Karttunen is a passionate advocate of contemporary music. He has performed over 160 world premieres, an astounding 29 concertos have been written for him. He premiered Magnus Lindberg’s Cello Concerto No.1 with the Orchestre de Paris (1999), Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Mania with Avanti! (2000), Martin Matalon’s cello concerto with the Orchestre National de France (2001) and Luca Francesconi’s Rest with the RAI Torino (2004). Kaija Saariaho wrote the concerto Notes on Light for Karttunen, which he premiered with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in February 2007. Future premieres will include works by Denis Cohen, Pascal Dusapin, Jérôme Combier, Betsy Jolas, Oliver Knussen, Fred Lerdahl, Thierry Pécou and Sean Shepherd.
Anssi Karttunen has worked with world-renowned orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Ensemble Modern, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic and many more. He also performs regularly as a soloist and chamber musician at Europe’s most important music festivals.
His recordings traverse a broad musical spectrum, including Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano on period instruments, 20th century solo pieces, and concertos performed with the London Sinfonietta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen.
His teachers included Erkki Rautio, William Pleeth, Jacqueline du Pré and Tibor de Machula.